Even though the film was a huge hit this raises a problem for future films in this series. I would imagine both Warner Brothers (production company) and Todd Phillips will want to make another film making this a trilogy. With the cost of movies going up audiences are paying attention to the quality of films more than ever. People are not willing to pay 10 dollars at an actual theater to watch a bad film. Sure there were enough people who went to see the Jack and Jill but that's another story.
This December 16th through 18th (2011) weekend helps to prove that sequels are losing traction. Three major sequels opened up in theaters, two of the openings were major letdowns, while the third had a surprise opening and will be seen as a hit.
The number one movies at the box off was Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. The first film in the series had decent reviews, but divided audiences on the quality of the film. The first film still had opening weekend of 62 million and eventually grossed 209 million (domestically). The sequel opened at a lower opening rate of about 35 percent. The film opened at 39 million dollars. For the film to be seen as a success during this crowded holiday season Holmes needed to match the opening of the first film. As of right now the film is being outdone by Mission Impossible and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Holmes will most likely come in third this weekend and lose a lot of ground. I hope Robert Downey Jr. starts to walk away from these series and starts to go back to acting in better smaller films. Sherlock Holmes is a bankable series name but this film will not match the 209 million.
The number two movie at the box office this past weekend was Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. Now it is no surprise that three of these films always get slammed by critics and viewers go to see them as more of a family outing. The first film was released in 2007, and surprised many, grossing 217 million dollars domestically and 144 foreign. The sequel or as they called it the squekquel grossed 219 million domestically and 223 foreign for a total of 443 million dollars. I think many box office gurus expected this film to either be just as successful or if not a little more successful than its predecessor, but surprisingly it was not. The film only had measly opening of 23 million, when it was expected to have double that. With so many films opening this weak the Chipmunk films sliding back there is no way this film will make it to the theaters again. I see straight to DVD in their future.
The truth of the matter is that quality matters (most of the time) and it can have an effect on the outcome of a films ticket receipts. How do I explain the Transformers and Twilight box off numbers? Easy. Both film series have such avid fans that even if the films are bad they will show up, and they will show up several times to watch Megatron or Bella give birth to a gross vampire baby. The same can be sad for the Harry Potter series. The Deathly Hallows Part 2 is the highest grossing film of the year. Fans will also turn against a series, like with comic book sequels. Iron Man 2 did not do as well as it was expected to do because the film was a bit of a letdown. Audiences are not always stupid.
The truth of the matter is that sequels will always be around, but I hope that companies see that they are not always as bankable as they seem to be. Films like Bridesmaids (169 million), The Help (169 Million), Super 8 (127 million) and even Midnight in Paris (57 million) prove that there are success stories in original work. I hope that studio executives see that they do not always to try and go for a brand, but that they can recognize that there is merit in working with original films.