Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fourth Time's a Charm

Robert here again from The Country Fair and the Circus. I was just reading an article from Cinematical about Mike Myers writing Austin Powers 4 and it got me thinking...

It used to be that part three was where franchises went to die. In fact, the "trilogy" is still looked upon with certain reverence because only a handful were planned solidly and done correctly without being killed off by the third (Back to the Future, Lord of the Rings, although that was bound by the books... still, you know what's coming...).

But in this era of the sequel, the third film is rarely the last film. Personally I blame quality second installments for the abundance of fourth installments. See the box office of any film in a series is directly proportional the the quality of the film that preceded it. A great part one means fans get all crazy about part two. Even if part two sucks, Hollywood takes the great returns as a sign that part three is needed. By this logic, a quality part two naturally leads to a fourth. But by that time the fans have reacted poorly the phoned-in third installment and part four limps through theaters without much notice. Is part four now where franchises go to die? Or is it where they go when they don't know they're already dead?

Sick and tired of the fourth parts? Just recently we've seen Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull flare fan's ire. Live Free or Die Hard failed to live up to the expectations of Die Hard: With a Vengeance (whatever that means). Rambo returned for a fourth time too.

But wait, we get to look forward to McG and Batman what's-his-name in Terminator Salvation, more cute kiddies dying in Final Destination 4, Austin Powers 4 (Austin meets the Love Guru?), more dinos swallowing cell phones in Jurassic Park IV, Shrek Goes Fourth (and the Puss in Boots spin-off), Mission: Impossible 4 trying to revive Tom Cruise's career, more cute kiddies dying in Scream 4, Resident Evil 4 (these have all been bad, but I have a soft spot for Milla Jovovich), Bronson Pinchot hopefully returning for Beverly Hills Cop IV, and proving my earlier theory correct: Spider-Man 4.

But perhaps I'm being too cruel to the part fours. This is just a natural phenomenon in the world of Hollywood. And while we all poo poo the lack of originality out there, we should be used to it. Still, is anyone looking forward to any of these?

17 comments:

mikadzuki said...

Excellent theory about box office = quality of previous installment. It makes a lot of sense.

Catherine said...

Still, is anyone looking forward to any of these?

No?

Haha. They all sound dire.

Transvestitia Transvestitenstein said...

Well, Resident Evil was and will always be pretty bad.
But still... I want more Resident Evil! (Get the quotation? haha)

I guess some franchises and its characters grow to your heart and you're just wanna know whats next...
sounds kinda tv-sitcom-show-like to me!
oh it's so mysterious!!!

Shawn said...

"Excellent theory about box office = quality of previous installment."

So I know YOU didn't gush all over it, but a lot of people did... does that mean the movie to follow the Dark Knight is going to make a bazillion dollars?

Robert said...

I don't really know how a movie could outearn The Dark Knight but I'd say prospects for the profit of a third Batman film are, yes, quite high.

yay movies said...

T4 should be decent at least because Christian Bale stars in it... I'm hoping Arnold ends up making an appearance too

Billy McLellan said...

um, back to the future 3 was good???

NATHANIEL R said...

billy i know right? That was news to me too. Did not like BttF at all/

mikadzuki i believe in this theory. The Dark Knight is benefitting a lot from everyone's feelings about Batman Begins and Batman Begins did not benefit from Batman and Robin... that's fer damn sure. but...

shawn obviously there will be exceptions to Robert's theory. The Dark Knight's sequel... whenever it hits won't have the unprecedented attention brought to this one by the tragic death of Heath Ledger. And since it will essentially be, what, the 7th modern batman film. There's that too. Maybe Batman is like James Bond and it will go on forever with varying degrees of success.

crazycris said...

I'm actually looking forward to Terminator... I have yet to see a Christian Bale film I haven't liked! (although the thought of McG at the helm makes me shudder...)

but you won't see me anywhere near a screen showing a Spidey 4 or a M:I4, I learned my lesson on the third of those franchises! and quite frankly, Shrek 4? they should have stopped at 2.

John T said...

I'm not looking forward to any of these. In fact, with the exception of Jurassic Park, I ditched out on the third one based on poor reviews, so I'm probably the wrong person to act (and of the ones listed, Jurassic Park 4's the only one I'll entertain viewing).

G.K.R. said...

So, is this Scream 4 thing actually happening then? What’re they gonna parody this time? Maybe Kevin Williamson could adapt this post and quickly identify the RULES OF FOURQUELS!!! That would be wicked cool. Cos, you know, its not like the “rules of the trilogy” were at all tenuous or anything. Way to go, Weinsteins.

(Also – am I alone in cherishing “quadrilogy” as one of my favourite made-up words of all time?)

NATHANIEL R said...

quadrilogy is an awesome word. You are correct gkr.

I love all numbers words actually --even the super small generic ones like "few" and "several" and I think it sucks that there's not more of them. like shouldn't there be a word between "few" and several" (or do they just call that "five") and like menage a trois and fourgy... but what if there's five people? shouldn't there be a sexual word for that --cuz Quintet is way too platonic.

Tejas said...

You forgot about Saw V! Not part of the 4th sequel category, but I still expect it to be a crappy film. Not that anything that came out of that series was any good.

Janice said...

Yesterday I saw another Bourne book on the shelves (hardback cover - in the grocery store - and I'll be damned if I can remember the title, or rather, the other word after "Bourne". Does it really matter anyway? All Ludlow has to do is slap "Bourne" on a book and people will buy it - or studios will make it.) So does this mean there's a 4th installment to that series? the ending of the last one had me wondering - I mean, there was nothing definitive about the ending of the last one to prevent another installment.

Anonymous said...

Janice - Robert Ludlam (?) is dead - that's why all his titles have a "TM" after them. He's just been franchised. Since the movies don't necessarily follow the books anyway (Marie never dies in the books) I guess they can do whatever they want.

And speaking of "number words", I regret reading about the word "decimate" because now I see it everywhere. Decimate, same root as decimal, means to reduce to a tenth. If you decimate an army, a tenth of them are left.

And no, I never want to see the fourth movie. Most, I haven't seen the second and some I've never seen the first (Shrek, Jurassic Park, Resident Evil).

Kamikaze Camel said...

To be fair, Final Destination belongs to a genre that doesn't generally believe in things like "trilogies and "stopping". They'll keep making those movies for as long as people go to see them. And considering Final Destination 4 is in 3D I imagine there'll be a Final Destination 5 shortly after.

That Scream 4 thing is silly though. They clearly ended the trilogy there's no need for more. Especially considering Scream 3 was, essentially, a parody of the franchise (it's how I make myself get through it, okay).

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