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Is innovation leaving hollywood?

December 20, 2006

LA Weekly is running an amazing story about the incredible number of sequels planned for release in 2007.

“As for next summer’s sequel orgy, both Hannibal Rising (the fourth Hannibal Lecter pic, this one a prequel) and The Hills Have Eyes II will get the foreplay started, followed by Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, another Pirates of the Caribbean, Hostel: Part II, Fantastic Four 2, Evan Almighty (a follow-up to Jim Carrey’s Bruce Almighty, this time starring Steve Carell), Live Free or Die Hard (Bruce Willis as John McClane for the fourth time), Transformers (a live-action sequel to the animated original), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (fifth in the series), The Bourne Ultimatum (No. 3, which is actually No. 4 if you count that cheesy Richard Chamberlain version from 1988) and Rush Hour 3. Then, the sequel frenzy climaxes at the end of the year (get that Marlboro Ultra Light ready) with Resident Evil 3, Mr. Bean’s Holiday (Bean II), The Golden Age (a.k.a. Elizabeth 2), Alien vs. Predator 2, National Treasure II and Halloween 2007 (too many to count).”

The article suggests that sequels are no longer the dirty word they once used and have proven themselves in an era when lawyers and bean counters rule the roost.

Sequel approval is obviously a whole lot easier once you have a proven IP because it takes the risk, guts, imagination and intuition almost out of the equation.

The danger for Hollywood is sequels make risk taking too easy, and too much of a good thing will create a generation of executives don’t have the skill to back unproven talent and ideas. They will lose their intuition and start second-guessing, when then happens and innovation dries up, look for an alternative Hollywood to spring up out of Web 2.0 and probably Mark Cuban.

If you don’t believe this, take a look at the story about the studio and Pirates of the Caribbean written by Grant McCracken, it tells the tale of a huge moneymaker that was almost strangled at birth.

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