Can the flood of sequels set to release in the coming months turn the tide at the box office?
Hindi films took a slow start at the box office this year, and only some Hollywood and Hindi sequels created ripples at the ticket counter. Among these were The Fate Of The Furious from Hollywood, and Jolly LLB 2 and Badrinath Ki Dulhania from Hindi cinema.
But our affair with sequels will continue throughout 2017, as an array of successful Hollywood sequels and franchises, along with top Hindi sequels are scheduled to release in the next few months. Specifically, of the 38 weeks left in 2017, 28 will see big Hindi and Hollywood franchises and sequels. Moreover, since most big Hollywood films are dubbed in regional languages, these films have the potential to score in the regional space too.
Among the slew of sequels to hit the screen this year are Baahubali: The Conclusion, Sarkar 3, Atithi Iin London, Judwaa 2, Hate Story 4, 2.0, Golmaal Again, Fukrey Returns and Tiger Zinda Hai.
Among English sequels, we have Smurfs: The Lost Village, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, Annabelle 2, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, World War Z 2, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Cars 3, Transformers: The Last Knight, Despicable Me 3, Spider-Man: Homecoming, War Of The Planet Of The Apes, Alien: Covenant, Insidious Chapter 4, Thor: Ragnarok, Justice League, Star Wars Episode: The Last Jedi, Pitch Perfect and The Croods 2.
With an impressive line-up of Hindi and Hollywood sequels such as these, the question on everyone’s mind is – will these films give the industry a reason to smile?
Interestingly, Hollywood studios now plan their releases so that they do not clash with Hindi biggies. This can only bode well for the box office and the industry since the heightened competition suggests that the bar for quality content has been raised.
This week, we spoke to the film fraternity about the strong sequel line-up for Hindi and Hollywood releases. We asked the experts for their comments on the fate of the upcoming sequels at the ticket window. And, of course, we asked them to tell us who they were betting on. Here’s what they had to say:
I think sequels are a great idea as they allow you to carry forward the intellectual property (IP) that was created in the first film and exploit it progressively to a larger and bigger audience base with each subsequent franchise film. A classic example for us has been Badrinath Ki Dulhania and our forthcoming release Baahubali: The Conclusion.
In the case of Badrinath Ki Dulhania, the story and setting were completely new and different from the original movie. Yet the audience continued to show their love for the franchise and the movie was also lauded for its social message.
In the case of Baahubali: The Conclusion, the heightened audience’s anticipation and curiosity is unparalleled, as everyone wants to know ‘Why Katappa killed Baahubali ‘, to which the sequel holds the answer. As for the forthcoming international films, it is very difficult to choose any one sequel or to foretell their outcome as they belong to interesting and successful franchises and cater to different audiences and genres. There is an inherent challenge that comes with sequels, that is, to be as good or better than the prequel so that the bar goes up with each franchise release.
Vivek Krishnani, Managing Director, Sony Pictures Entertainment, India
Even as we have witnessed a growing trend for sequels in Hollywood and Bollywood, it’s quite clear that unless the content is great and the story moves forward, they just don’t deliver at the box office. While there is an inherent interest in a sequel and it carries a certain legacy, audience fatigue is one thing to watch out for. So it’s critical that a sequel has something new for movie-goers.
It’s a no-brainer that the juggernaut, Baahubali: The Conclusion, which releases at the end of April, is set to break records worldwide. Following a massively successful blockbuster in part one, the film has piqued interest and left audiences on a strong hook point. Among other sequels, Tiger Zinda Hai, Robot 2.0 and Golmaal Again are the most-anticipated films, each promising a twist in the tale.
At Sony, we have Spider-Man: The Homecoming that releases in July. Spider-Man is part of the Marvel cinematic universe, with Iron Man as his mentor in the film, for the first time. It’s going to be a treat for the fans of Marvel’s superheroes. In December, we bring you Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which takes a fresh look at the iconic original. We also have Insidious Chapter 4 and Bad Boys 3, which promise new thrills.
Two sequels in the coming months seem promising. From the English films, my pick would be Spider-Man: Homecoming. The trailer promises a fun superhero film, which both children and adults can enjoy. It looks like a good departure from the dark superhero films which seem to have caught Hollywood’s fancy, of late. The aggressive trailer seeding by Sony Pictures in various languages should convert to a larger audience. Internationally, there’s been conversation about how the last few Spider-Man films haven’t seen their true potential with limited box-office numbers and have left audiences less than satisfied. However, it looks like Spider-Man: Homecoming will change that.
There are two Hindi films which should set new box-office benchmarks this year and they are Baahubali: The Conclusion and Tiger Zinda Hai. The first instalment of Baahubali surprised audiences across India with its deft storytelling and scale, creating a loyal and eager fan base who are now awaiting the sequel. The trailer looks spectacular, and this sequel will break the records set by Baahubali: The Beginning. With Tiger Zinda Hai, we see Salman Khan going back to the action genre — a space which his fans love — after a considerable length of time. That, along with the Christmas release period, should translate into some serious box-office muscle.
Sequels are a great way to reconnect to a story that we have loved, want to keep watching and wait with bated breath for its next series! Last year we released the newest chapter for three of our franchises. Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange, which went on to become some of the highest grossing movies of 2016. While Disney Pixar’s Finding Dory won over an entire new generation of fans!
The next few months are extremely exciting for us as we present the next chapters of some of our most loved stories. Across 2017, we have five tent-poles releasing, with Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnarok, Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Disney Pixar’s CARS 3 and LucasFilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Over the years, Marvel’s movies have amassed a large and loyal fan base in India. Marvel movies have consistently exceeded expectations at the box office, a direct indication of the brand’s growing affinity among the Indian audience. Both, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnarok rank high amongst the most anticipated movies of the year and have generated massive buzz from the release of the first teaser itself. In fact, locally, the Thor: Ragnarok teaser trailer received raving reviews from fans and critics. Globally, it is the most watched Disney and Marvel movie trailer ever! Considering that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is at the point where the stories are converging together, the huge amount of buzz around both Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnarok have also added to the excitement around Marvel’s next few releases – Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Ant Man and the Wasp. Similarly, the Pirates Of The Caribbean series is one of Disney’s most successful stories in India and considering the sequel is coming after a gap Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will be worth the wait for fans in India.
Disney Pixar’s Cars is yet another franchise that is hugely popular with kids and families. The previous offerings – Cars 1 and 2 – are on the list of the most-watched animated movies and Cars 3 promises to be yet another joyride! We end the year with Star Wars: The Last Jedi from LucasFilm. The Star Wars series has been a pop cultural phenomenon across the world and in India as well, where the franchise enjoys a loyal fan base! We’re excited to bring the next instalment of this iconic series.
Each of these diverse tent-poles have a legacy and a huge fan base in India, which is an added advantage and a great way to keep audiences engaged and interested for more!
There are two scenario’s where a remake has a potential to work 1) where the sequel takes forward the story and you extend the concept, 2) where you massively change the scale of the film, the underlying condition being that the film whose sequel you are suggesting has been a box office success in the first place, hence there is enough residual awareness and as well as anticipation in consumers for the film to get an opening boost.
That said my choices for the sequels are Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the expectation levels set by the trailer suggests it is bigger and takes the story forward. Transformers 5, massive massive scale with a film shot in real 3 D with twists and turns and the story moving to the next level. Then I think Spider-Man: Homecoming will be huge. Spiderman is a character that can’t be put down, the fans and the kids will ensure the success of this franchise in all editions. Baahubali: The Conclusion. Baahubali ne katappa ko kyon maara? Need one say more. Judwaa 2, a super hit film, now with a contemporary new age actor like Varun Dhawan, who also is a bankable star and lastly, Tiger Zinda Hai. Salman Khan in a sequel of a super hit blockbuster with a promise of even larger scale makes it a sure-shot hit.
In my opinion, it is difficult to comment on the fate of a film beforehand, purely based on the fact that it is a prequel or a sequel. There are many factors that have to be considered, such as the storyline, presentation, star cast and the promos before commenting on a movie purely on the basis of it being a sequel.
Also, one important factor about sequels is that they take only the parent idea, the first film’s story line, and add a new twist and story to the same. They don’t have the exact same storyline for the sequel; instead, they have a new concept based on the primary idea, unless it is a continuation of the film. Even the continuation has a new storyline. So, I don’t think it is right to pass a judgment on the fate of any film as it will be based on the movie-goers’ preferences and how interesting the story is.