If this was to be the summer that Hollywood got a kicking for its reliance on sequels, then we can’t say we’re noticing the lesson being taught. Instead, the latest round of box office figures are suggesting that it’s the unambitious follow-ups that are bringing home the bacon this summer.
Example one is Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. This is a movie that’s attracted, at best, passable reviews (and at worst, a lot more than that), that the latest numbers suggest is now making as much money as the last movie in the franchise, At World’s End. And it’s not the American box office that’s making the difference there. On Stranger Tides‘ US take is currently $153m, well down on the previous three movies. Outside of the US, it’s proving to be the hit of the year.
The current total for the film worldwide is apparently $649.1m, and if it continues as it is doing, it may fall close to $1bn in total box office receipts before the DVD and Blu-ray market kicks in.
And it’s not just Pirates that’s riding the proverbial sequel wave. The critical response to The Hangover Part II was hardly upbeat, with the general consensus being that it was the first film played out again, with fewer laughs. It matters not, though, as in the US on its opening weekend, it brought in $86m. Add that to the earlier screenings last week of the film, and in America alone its first five days have seen it pull in a staggering $137m. That’s $16m shy of Pirates 4, in less than half the time.
Even appreciating that comedies, as a rule, tend to travel less well outside of America, The Hangover sequel is likely to be an exception once more, and Warner Bros must be looking at a box office haul worldwide in the region of $6-700m at least.
Of the non-sequel fare, Marvel’s Thor stands at $162m in the US, Universal’s Bridesmaids is the sleeper hit of the summer thus far, with $89m in the bank, and Fox’s Rio might just struggle to get a sequel, with its take of $135m to date.
Make of all of that what you will…