Trilogy is the New Sequel
As I have said many, many times before, Hollywood is a well-oiled, money-making machine. They know exactly what people want, and then they proceed to make more and more of it. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that this has included multiple sequels, more than I’ve been used to seeing in my years watching movies. It used to be that if a film did well, you made one more and hope that the success would continue. Now it seems that one plus a sequel is not enough anymore — if you want to have success, you’ve got to make it a trilogy, no matter how long it takes to get there.
Of course, I know there’s a number of reasons for this. A lot of the teen novels that are being adapted now were originally trilogies in their book form. The Divergent film that just came out is going to be one of three films, similar to the books. The Hunger Games series of films was originally written as a trilogy, but because of the dense content of the third book, it has been broken down into four films. Another popular book trilogy, the Matched series by Ally Condie, has been bought by Disney and also planned for film. Chances are today that if you can write a successful young adult trilogy, Hollywood can make it into a successful movie trilogy as well.
This also seems to be the trend with superhero films, especially of the Marvel variety. As soon as the first Iron Man film was successful, Robert Downey Jr. was signed on for Iron Man 2 and 3. The same thing happened with the Captain America and Thor films. Of course, who can blame them? When something is in season and is experiencing high popularity, you want to make sure to get the most out of it while you can (and while the characters are still fresh in the minds of the audience). In writing sequels for superheroes, you have more than enough comic book story arcs to pick through and choose from. My only hope now is that they can squeeze out three Avengers films. By then, I think we’ll have all had our fill with Marvel superheroes for the time being, or at least until they decide to relaunch the series and character all over again.
Then of course, there are the films that do so well that the audience demands more, and so more is made. The Pirates of the Caribbean series comes to mind (there was originally only supposed to be three). So does the Back to the Future series. Then there are those films that are designed as a series, such as the famous Star Wars trilogies. Peter Jackson also seems to enjoy making his films in threes, even when The Hobbit could have been done in two (heck, it’s been done in one, albeit somewhat poorly). The Cornetto trilogy by Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright is a complete set of three. There seems to be something symbolic in reaching three successful films, as if the full story can only be told in a set of three. It’s as if something can finally be put to rest once the third film has come out. Maybe that’s why people fight so hard for that third film. Is that why we want a third Ghostbusters so badly? There’s only been two Gremlins movies — how would we feel about a third?
Whatever the reason, be it money or be it story, the trilogy seems to be the new golden fleece that Hollywood moviemakers aspire to achieve. If two is company and three is a crowd, then it’s those crowds that keep flocking to the theater and keep the Hollywood bigwigs happy.
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