Unnecessary Sequels

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey – presumably the only person on the planet excited about Dumb and Dumber 2 – just quit the movie. According to Entertainment Tonight, the actor was unhappy that New Line and Warners weren’t energetic about making it happen, despite a tentative Fall start date. The easy thing to do here is mock the project, but it’s far more important to note the level-headed actions at work here. There was no momentum to the movie, but unlike others in similar situations, the studios themselves couldn’t muster the kind of fabricated fire it takes to get a boulder uphill. The world wasn’t clamoring for a sequel, and the world has been served exactly what it asked for. Thanks to the studios and to Carrey for reading the situation correctly and moving away from something that could have been a big mistake. Of course, Warners can still muck everything up by moving forward with it despite Carrey’s leaving. Will Sasso’s basically the same caliber comedian right? Right?

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Likes Miles Bennett Dyson before her, Megan Ellison is single mindedly marching forward with plans that will lead to the creation of Terminators. There have been rumors going around that a new Terminator movie is in the works with Justin Lin directing and Arnold Schwarzenegger attached to do at least something in the acting department. Well turns out that those rumors are very much true, as the rights to the film have been auctioned off and Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Films has come up the winner. Up until zero hour it was reportedly looking very much like Lionsgate would come out on top of the bidding war, but the fact that Ellison has a bunch of money seems to have been the difference maker. This grab at a big budget franchise marks a bit of a turn in the strategy Ellison has employed so far in her budding film producing career. Up to this point she had seemed to be sticking to funding beleaguered projects that respected but financially underappreciated directors had in the works. She is involved in Kathryn Bigelow’s upcoming Bin Laden film, John Hillcoat’s bootlegging adventure The Wettest County in the World, and even several projects that Paul Thomas Anderson has on the table, including a religious drama starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Now she’s very pointedly going after an established franchise with one of the biggest names in the world attached.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as ghostfacekillah and olddirrtybastard5 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, it’s the horrifying growth of the trend in Hollywood to take old movies and make sequels for them. The fans are too hip to reboots and remakes, but if they can convince an aging actor to retread barren ground, then it’s all aboard the money train. Of course, that’s not always the case, but how else do you explain Indiana Jones 4? The problem is that these movies either suck or are hollow shells of what a franchise once was. So if you’re making a decades-later sequel, what are the problems and how do you avoid them?

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With just how astounding Armageddon is, it’s no wonder that the world is clamoring for a sequel. Wishful thinking propels us to think that Jerry Bruckheimer and Touchstone (a company which still exists) are champing at the bit to make a deal with Michael Bay as soon as he’s off of his giant damned robots kick. Sadly, the reality is much bleaker than that, and even if the stars align the right way for a sequel to get made, an asteroid will undoubtedly crash right through them and create a global extinction event that swallows Armageddon 2 whole. For one, even though Bay is moving on from Transformers once Dark of the Moon hits theaters later this year, he’s also contractually tied to about a dozen other projects. They range from Bad Boys 3 – which might arouse hope of another 90s sequel –  to novel adaptation Gideon’s Sword. But what’s really keeping his attention? His Platinum Dunes duties and other producing work. Plainly put, if the sequel to Armageddon that every single human being wants to happen happens, Bay won’t be the helmer (and what kind of sequel would that be? You think Peter Berg can pull that off?). “But Damon Lindelof wrote that stellar script!” you say. It’s true. Sadly, it sits languishing unmade, just like 99% of all written scripts and 98% of all optioned scripts. Even with the overwhelming, Texas-sized financial incentive (matched with the studio model of throwing $200 million at anything with even mild […]

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Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Eugene Levy, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Chris Klein, Mena Suvari, Jennifer Coolidge. That list of names is eerie. The adults have their own long, strange comedy trips, but the rest of it sounds like a Where Are They Now roster. Not one young actor made it out of the American Pie movies alive? Seann William Scott comes the closest to surviving, but everyone else is relegated to middling indie work or complete obscurity. Hell, I’m not even sure tabloids will run topless pictures of Tara Reid anymore. That’s how bad it’s gotten. Context aside, all of those names will most likely come together for another installment in the American Pie franchise – a franchise that seems to have 3 movies in it, but really has 7 counting all the direct-to-video content with the brand’s name on it. All of this to point out the obvious: that bringing these characters back is tired. According to The Hollywood Reporter, American Reunion has got Paul and Chris Weitz in producer jobs, and sees Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay team Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg writing and directing. That’s all solid talent, so it’ll be interesting if they can take meat that’s been sitting out for a week and make a meal out of it. Hopefully it hasn’t turned rancid before it hits the pan. It also might be an oversight, but I can’t help but notice Alyson Hannigan and Shannon Elizabeth’s names missing from the […]

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Like an antidote for all that stuffy Oscar nonsense, the Farrelly Brothers have let fly that they’re interested in revisiting the world of Dumb & Dumber. Maybe that will finally wake James Franco up. Fortunately, in an interview with Movie Hole, The Farrellys not only claimed that conversations had been put in motion to make the sequel a reality, they added that they’d only want to do it with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels back in the roles. Thus, the Farrelly Brothers joined a long line of filmmakers who had a terrible idea and a great idea at the same time. There’s no demand for this movie beyond a new-found love of outdated sequels floating around the studio system. However, if there’s a creative demand, and the Farrelly Brothers have a great story cooked up, why not support something like this? We’re nearly two decades away from the 1994 comedic triumph, it would be interesting to see the directors go back to their first film, and if they got the talent, it could be another strange trip into a world of idiots. Speaking of which, The Farrelly Brothers will begin shooting their Three Stooges flick in a few months, which means definitive casting will be announced sooner rather than later. Check back with us to have your day made/ruined. Any bets on whether Lauren Holly is available for this?

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Rosamund Pike‘s very first film performance was as Miranda Frost in Die Another Day, and she’s been steadily showcasing her talents for the past decade. Now, she’ll get a chance to wrap that talent in a toga for Wrath of the Titans. According to Deadline Des Moines she’ll be playing Andromeda, the character played by Alexa Davalos in Clash. It’s unclear why Davalos won’t be reprising the role. It looks like Pike is ready to return to tentpole acting, because it was either going to be this or a role in Man of Steel. It’ll be interesting if the production can get an actual performance out of her or the stable of talented actors that are returning considering the lifelessness of Clash. Fortunately, if the sequel is stale, we all have Pike’s performance in An Education to wash down the sour taste.

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Somewhere out there, right now, possibly near you – there’s a movie called Death Race 2 completely existing. It’s not completely confirmed, but Universal announcing that they’re making a Death Race 3 either points to the second film in the series being in a reel canister somewhere or that the film franchise will only be naming films based on prime numbers. All of this is apparently warranted because Death Race made an unnatural amount of money in the foreign market. That was back in 2008. 2008! It feels like it was ten years ago. Fortunately, we’ll get that nostalgic feeling for 2008 all over again when Death Race 3 (and possibly Death Race 2) hit home entertainment discs of all kinds. [Moviehole]

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There are few movies that demand sequels. There are even fewer bad movies that demand them. The sequel is such a precious and fragile concept; it’s the continuation of characters that we love going on new adventures. That’s dangerous ground no matter what. A delicate balance to strike between keeping the characters exactly the same and giving the audience something new. More than most movies this year, Tron: Legacy emerges maybe not as the most obvious candidate for a next installment, but as the film that most deserves to see the sequel light of day. The film, despite it’s many, many flaws has all the ingredients to make an electric blue stew of sequel-y goodness, and the world would be a better place if Tron: Legacier were slated for 2012. So why does a film that’s struggling to meet box office expectations against a sea of critical (and popular) apathy deserve a sequel? It’s simple.

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There have already been a surprising number of modern sequels and remakes made from the movies of 1982. Films like The Thing and Conan The Barbarian have remakes coming down the pipe while the Rocky franchise has been continued, and The Dark Crystal and Mad Max franchises have both been promised a latter-day continuation. There’s a lot of rich material there, and this weekend sees Tron: Legacy come out almost three decades after the film it’s following. Of course TRON deserves a sequel because of its large cult appeal and the potential expansiveness that the universe always held. However, there are several other films from 1982 that may even be more worthy to get the way-too-late-in-the-game sequel treatment. Here’s six of ‘em.

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Since there are actual human beings thinking it’s a good idea to make a sequel to Top Gun, it seems important to take a look at the hurdles that would face such a production (at least as they pertain to telling a good story and casting people that makes sense). Will Tom Cruise sign on to star? Will Goose’s ghost be involved? Neither of those questions matter, because the possible production has an uphill battle as it is.

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Resident Evil: Afterlife was awful. On no uncertain terms, it was slow (literally), boring, and had some of the worst action that an action film has put on the screen since Terminator Salvation. Which, of course, means that there will be another one. Not only did the film promise one in its closing moments, the box office take was strong, and Milla Jovovich is promising one. She’s also claiming that the production is talking to fans to get input – so now that you have their ear, what would you want? [Vulture]

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Every so often, a film emerges from the fray to prove its popularity and warrant a sequel. More and more, franchises are planned out in advance, but when one film turns into a franchise, a cash register sound goes off in the ears of the studio. Even though the kid stays in the picture, sometimes the director does not. Maybe the director is done working with the material. Maybe the producers want a more seasoned hand. Maybe a simple schedule conflict keeps him or her out of the chair for the next round up. But the show must go on, so the producers find another director to fill the slot – a director who ostensibly inherits all the strengths and weaknesses of a franchise birthed by someone else. Cinematic sloppy seconds that could have easily turned into sloppy sequels if it weren’t for a steady, talented director guiding the ship. Here’s a list of the ten best.

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There’s something incredibly lacking in the announcement by Mark Millar that there will be a sequel to Kick-Ass. For one, it comes slightly unexpectedly considering the less-than-explosive showing at the box office and the unnecessary nature of continuing the story. For two, the comic book writer whose work is being adapted announcing that they want more of his work to adapt (and doing it on British radio show) seems more like wishful thinking than a genuine announcement.

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Jonathan Liebesman‘s Battle: Los Angeles hasn’t hit theaters yet, but his career and talent seem to be growing. After a mediocre start with Darkness Falls, he delivered a solid entry into the Texas Chainsaw Massacre legacy, a halfway psychological paranoia-fest with The Killing Room, and now he’s set to take what he’s learned battling aliens alongside Aaron Eckhart to the ancient world of Clash of the Titans 2: Titans. Will. Clash. Again. What’s interesting about this is the maturation of a genre director beyond the boundaries of the schlock he delivered in the past. That used to be the way the business worked, and it’s interesting to see it in practice here. Maybe it’ll lead to an American Pink Film movement. Liebesman has shown an ability to grow talent, so this is a great choice – but where does it leave his “300 meets Taken” version of Odysseus being developed over at Warners? Maybe one trip to antiquity will spur on another.

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If, by reading the headline, you were hoping that the incomparable Don Jurwich – who directed the 1987 animated G.I. Joe film – had signed on to take on the sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, your hopes are about to be dashed. Stephen Sommers will return to the director’s seat for G.I. Joe 2: The Search for More Money. If the track record is any indication, Sommers will tackle this one, and seven years from now, Rob Cohen will take over to direct the long-gestating threequel G.I. Joe: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. That’s how it’s done these days. [The Wrap]

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The constant fear that the world has been living in for the past few months has finally lifted. The dread and avoidance of all things movie news related has subsided. A decent meal and the sunshine is waiting for everyone on the surface. For today, like a house dropping out of the clouds and onto a film franchise, Kristin Davis has announced that she believes there won’t be another Sex and the City movie. “I could be wrong,” she admits. “Obviously there was a time when we thought there was no movie happening so you never know. But it is not looking great.” It’s not looking great because the movie had box office trouble domestically and was not well-liked by critics or fans. It just goes to show – you can sneak by the critics, but you can’t piss off the ones who brought you to the dance. For now, let’s soldier on with cautious optimism. A new day is dawning, and it tolls the bell signaling a future without another Sex and the City movie. The future looks bright. [E!]

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While the series has taken a beating over the past few years, it showed some promise with its last installment, but even that excitement was curtailed by the franchise showing its age. For whatever reason, the creative forces behind the Saw films have never upped the ante or expanded the world in any way. That might be something fans complain about as forced with other sequels, but heading back into the same dank squalor to hear the old familiar voice on the tape recorder is a little faulty and repetitive. Fortunately, the new teaser trailer for the seventh installment in the horror series shows some promise that the producers are thinking outside the box by putting someone in it.

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If you’re one of the many who loved Transformers 2 (a group that is not employed by the internet anywhere) or one of the people holding out hope that some sort of quality will be shot like a CGI rocket into the very heart of this franchise, then you might just have your spirits lifted by the opening scene to Transformers 3. The movie doesn’t come out until next Summer, but they’re filming right now, and if this scene is any indication, they are at least playing around with some interesting ideas. This spoils the entire opening. Consider yourself warned.

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If you needed a handy guide to the murderous rednecks in the sequel to 2001 Maniacs or some fancy additions to your twisted Magic the Gathering deck, you could do worse than to check out the Virtual Maniac Trading Cards being used to promote Field of Screams. You have to admire an advertising campaign that uses the same concept as the United States government did for terrorists. Which one is your favorite? The sheep-loving, yellow-toothed guy or the cleavage-exposing Asian stereotype? How do you even choose between those choices? What would Robert Englund do?

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