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Hollywood’s Franchise Infatuation Reaches Shocking New Low

We're getting more 'Hunger Games,' 'Dirty Dancing' stories (but why?)

Hit movies spawn sequels. It’s one of Hollywood’s sturdiest traditions.

Studio executives and audiences alike approve of that template, even if it sometimes yields bewildering results.

Go watch “Caddyshack II” for the latter example. Or, better yet, don’t.

Caddyshack II - Trailer #1

Sequels sell, and when they’re good enough they spawn even more sequels. What we’re seeing in Hollywood today, though, is a hunger to extend franchises that eclipses common sense.

The latest examples seem desperate even by Hollywood standards. Lionsgate announced it will produce a “Hunger Games” prequel dubbed, and this isn’t satire, “Hunger Games Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.”

The prequel will follow events prior to the “Games” that made Jennifer Lawrence a superstar. The studio teased the prequel, arriving Nov. 2023, with this:

“In 2023, the world will discover who is a songbird and who is a snake.”

Quick, grab your heart medication.

The project, to be directed by franchise regular Francis Lawrence, is based on the 2020 book of the same name.

RELATED: Let These Baby Boomer Franchises Die Already 

At least the “Hunger Games” franchise is part of recent movie history. Another project connects to the late 1980s and follows three dismal attempts to repeat the film’s formula.

“Dirty Dancing” became one of the decade’s most unlikely blockbusters. Stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey blended romance with killer soundtrack cuts that turned the film into a cultural touchstone.

“Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”

It’s why Hollywood already tried new versions of the story with miserable results.

  • A 1988 TV series that couldn’t earn a second season
  • The 2004 prequel, “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” that flopped in theaters
  • A 2017 TV movie starring Abigail Breslin and Nicole Scherzinger that fared poorly with critics

There’s clearly no appetite for new “Dirty Dancing” stories, especially since Swayze passed away in 2009 and Grey’s career never reached those same heights again.

So why bother … even if Grey returns to the franchise?

Desperation? A sense that nostalgia could draw eyeballs at just the right time? No one in the room has the temerity to say, “no … that’s enough” to the person suggesting it?

That brings us to “Avatar: The Way of Water.” The original “Avatar” hit theaters in 2009 and shattered just about every box office record it could find. Director James Cameron notoriously takes his time between projects, which helps explain the massive gap between the two films.

‘Avatar 2’ Finally Has A Title, Debuts First Footage

For the first of four planned “Avatar” sequels, Cameron promises a visual experience unlike any other. It might seem like another attempt to extend a franchise, but Cameron is more talented, and driven, then your average auteur.

“The Way of Water” could flop, putting the remaining sequels in jeopardy. Or, Cameron might conquer the box office.

Again.

Sequels, prequels and reboots can always shine on their own. Given Hollywood’s hunger for brand-approved product, though, it’s wise to be skeptical in most cases.

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3 Comments

  1. I believe Hollywood relies on these franchises because they are safe.
    The actors in these franchise productions all have one thing in common… they have thrown themselves down, begging forgiveness at the woke altar. They have prostrated themselves and taken a knee to whatever happens to be the cause du jour (BLM/LGB/CRT…etc…). All past sins, now thoroughly atoned for, enable producers and studios to hire said actors.
    The scripts are benign…safe… preordained to be acceptable to the woke community. All real risk/truth/the real human condition and honesty is resisted for the greater good.
    (The Nazi’s did the same thing in the art they produced. They would take Greek/Roman statues and copy them, inserting their own ideology of the “new/greater/enlightened/wakened” man. The result was grotesque. The statues are lifeless and static void of all truth and beauty and depth).
    Similarly, the only independent movies that are being produced follow the same guidelines.
    No no no… unless you are black… a woman… gay/queer/and NOT white, find a new living.
    And unless the storyline contains LGTB (etc) approved content…BLM approved content, etc…. writers put down your laptops/typewriters and pens.
    Until those with power stand up and say enough is enough… nothing will change.
    There are a ocean of cowards in that town and I see nothing on the horizon that tells me any of this will end quickly.
    All the Best,
    Enjoy reading your thoughts,
    Michelle

    1. Michelle you are spot on.
      I would add….
      Apparently there is one with enough power to get Hollywood to remove all that woke garbage:
      China.
      The shove it down our throats but bend over for the CCP.

      1. That is the strange situation we find ourselves in. Hollywood shoves a degenerate version of human nature down our throats, and we reject it. Hollywood bends over to satisfy the CCP, but China rejects Hollywood’s degenerate version also. We get more Chinese characters to appeal to their market, but those characters aren’t going to be Woke.

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