Who’s Willing To Take This Bet About Sequels?

allposters despicable me

The Universal sequel Despicable Me 2 has pummelled the Lone Ranger this weekend at the US box office. Despite the former’s lack or originality and obscene amount of marketing featuring those little rascals that are the minions, it had no trouble beating a $200 million movie about a man and his horse (kudos to whomever it was that made out on the stock of Consolidated Hay.) Here’s the thing though:

Has Despicable Me 2 spurred the production of yet more animated sequels?

It’s still far to early to tell, and Universal is far from DreamWorks in that they aren’t chomping at the bit to announce sequels after the opening weekend, however, it is almost a certainty that we’ll see a Despicable Me 3 being announced sometime in the not too distant future.

Monsters University has already more than proved worthy of a follow up in terms of its box office. The other original films coming out this year are a bit more of a toss up.

Epic performed admirably but far from monster-hit status. Disney’s Planes is apparently so awesome that the studio has already created an opening slot for it in 2014. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 is looking good but not a definite and Frozen stays so close to the Disney formula that it there’s little point in even guessing.

That means that in all likelihood that Despicable Me 2 has done nothing to reduce the incentive for studios to keep producing sequels and an unprecedented rate. Even taking out Jeffrey Katzenberg’s monstrous appetite for the things, that leave almost every studio creating at least one. Pixar has none lined up for next year, but I unequivocally guarantee that either another Monsters or Cars movie is on the horizon.

The worry is of course that with such wobbles like the Lone Ranger, studios will concentrate even harder on proven winners; so averse to creativity that they willingly head towards extinction because it continues to bring in some money.

The key takeaway from all of this is that it leaves a massive door open for a cheap animated film to slide in and clean up shop. The original Despicable Me did it back in 2010. That was three years ago, it’s time for a repeat.

3 Comments on “Who’s Willing To Take This Bet About Sequels?

  1. There WILL be a Despicable Me 3.

    It will star the Minions instead.

    Yeah.

  2. People just want to see what they know they’ll enjoy, and not take chances spending upwards of $15 (!) on a ticket to an unproven film/franchise. This is quite literally the industry giving the people what it wants. What we need is a Walt Disney of sorts to come along and TELL the people what they want, even though they don’t know it yet. Will we ever see another Snow White? Maybe not, but it would sure be a nice breath of fresh air.

  3. I definitely agree that we won’t see a decrease in animated sequels, however I doubt that Despicable Me 2 has much to do with that. A good number of animated sequels have been in the works prior to Despicable Me 2’s release. In the Dreamworks corner we have How to Train Your Dragon 2 and 3 as well as Kung Fu Panda 3, at Pixar there is Finding Dory (aka Finding Nemo 2), and Sony Animation already has The Smurfs 3 (yikes) and Hotel Transylvania 2 in the works. In fact it appears that Universal and Illumination Entertainment already have another Despicable Me film in the works, a prequel entitled Minions and set to be released during the holiday season in 2014. So while I agree that the trend of animated sequels is not ending soon, I don’t believe that the success of Despicable Me 2 is propelling/strongly encouraging the release of further sequels because animated sequels already have a proven strong box office track record of success. They’re a safe bet and safe seems to be all that Hollywood’s really about these days, especially when it comes to animation. When they take a risk and release something considered original and it doesn’t pay off (i.e. Rise of the Guardians in 2012 that lead to multiple Dreamworks layoffs…still bitter because that movie deserves much more attention and appreciation, but I digress), the studios take twenty steps back it seems and go back to what they know. Hence Dreamworks larger focus on their already pre-established franchises. On a personal note, I’m completely fine with sequels as long as they are well animated and written. However I would love to see more original and creative work come through. It seems that the only studio willing to take risks with original and creative animated feature films is Laika, home to the amazing films Coraline and Paranorman. Maybe one day the demand for original animated films will overtake the demand and success of animated sequels. Intriguing article and I look forward to your viewpoints on future animation developments.

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