Are People Really Surprised That Box Office Predictions Are Low for Sequels?

Are People Really Surprised That Box Office Predictions Are Low for Sequels?
James Cameron Doesn't Want To Hear Anyone 'Whining' That Avatar 2 Is Too  Long

Credit: Avatar 2

It’s been said and it will keep being said, sequels have a tough time when it comes to the box office for a number of reasons, but one that’s more important than anything else. They have to equal or surpass the original movie, which is often quite difficult if the first movie turned out to be one of the best movies of its time. Avatar is a good example, since the upcoming sequel is going to have to do far more than the original did, and the world-building that requires is phenomenal. But the fact that so many people don’t expect the average sequel to earn less at the box office is kind of interesting since the increased numbers that have been seen over the years are impressive in some cases, but not all that great in others when comparing the price of a ticket from decades ago to now. A lot of people who don’t understand the industry and inflation will look at a movie that makes hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office and think that movies have gotten better over the years. They’re not wrong, but they’re not taking into account everything that goes into the industry, especially the idea that sequels are still thought of as inferior by a lot of moviegoers. 

Indiana Jones 4 Writer Was "Never Happy" With Sequel Using Aliens

Credit: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Some sequels surprise people by performing better than their predecessors. 

There are plenty of sequels that have managed to surprise the fans in ways that weren’t expected as they end up performing in a way that people weren’t ready to see. But too often it’s seen that the average sequel is treated like a new story using the same name. There’s nothing wrong with this, so long as the story is interesting enough, the dialogue is just as on-point as it was in the first movie, and the flow is every bit as good. Some directors don’t like to make sequels, which can wreak havoc on the overall story since most directors can’t really tell the same story in the same manner that people enjoyed in the first place. But every now and then, there are sequels that follow terrible movies and end up doing a far better job than the first movie could have done. Then again, when sequels keep coming and don’t stop, the quality of the tale tends to keep going down without fail. 

Sequels need to keep telling the story while revealing more and giving rise to new ideas within the universe the story resides in. 

The trick of a sequel is that it needs to keep on telling the story that was established, or at least use the core source material in some manner that can allow fans to identify that yes, this is a true sequel. There are movies out there that have tried this, like Caddyshack, and have managed to keep some fans around, but there are way too many that were believed to be a perfect follow-up to the movie that came before. One such gaffe is The Last Jedi, which many people still argue over, and some have actually come to embrace as a good movie, much as people did with The Empire Strikes Back in the original Star Wars trilogy. Way too many sequels have been given high expectations and have managed to squeak by or have gone tumbling down when people realize that it’s not that great. Don’t let box office numbers fool you, a lot of people will make their way to the theater with high expectations, but none of them will be able to get their money back after realizing that the sequel wasn’t worth it. 

Credit: Evil Dead

Box office predictions are about as useless as the actual box office numbers. 

Sure, the box office numbers tell a story that’s highly successful at times even when the movie is exceptionally bad, but as I just said above, the box office isn’t giving people their money back. It’s like a black hole that doesn’t let anything go once it’s recorded, and unfortunately, that means that the curious masses who come to see what a sequel is all about are the ones who are pushing the hype that a sequel is worth the money that’s being spent. In other words, the box office numbers allow people to say ‘Yeah, that movie was awesome, just look at the numbers’. 

Predicting how a sequel is going to do at the box office is still guesswork and not much else. 

Of course, predictions for certain movies are going to be high, and the people making them want to get paid. If you’re thinking that there’s anything else to it, then I’d like to talk to you about a patch of real estate in the Sahara Desert. But speaking seriously, a prediction is a guess, nothing more, and for those who want to base their guesses around facts, market prices, the rise and fall of this or that, okay, that’s fine. But at the end of the day, it’s all a guess, and even when it comes to guessing, it’s tough to give sequels an even chance. 

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