When it comes to wringing every last dollar from a franchise, Hollywood knows no bounds.
As you surely noticed from the lines of ecstatic moviegoers camped out on the sidewalks of your local cineplex (sarcasm), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is out today. Try to contain your excitement. Yes, in their infinite wisdom, Hollywood has spent $75 million to grind out a sequel to Ghost Rider, a film that nobody liked and nobody wanted to see more of. So why on earth does Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance exist? Ah, here we go: because beloved or not, the first film grossed $115 million, and while that may be a meager profit on a reported $110 million budget (seriously? SERIOUSLY?), it pretty much doubled that gross overseas. As they say, it's show business, kids, and if there are that many ticket buyers who'll pony up once to see Nicolas Cage flambé motorcycling around for justice, maybe they'll do so twice. (Not to worry, though: the sequel is directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who did Crank and, um, Crank 2. And, oh dear, Jonah Hex. Enjoy, moviegoers!)
GR:SOV (as the kids are calling it) is just the latest in Hollywood's long, long, long history of churning out utterly inexplicable sequels. To be clear, we're not cinema snobs, railing against sequels on general principle: Movies from Godfather II to Aliens to The Dark Knight to Harry Potter 3-7.5 have proven that you can follow up a film with equal (or even advancing) returns. But there has to be a compelling reason for it to exist: a story worth returning to, say, or even a general positive opinion of the initial outing. Take a look at a few occasions where we got a sequel, whether we wanted one or not.
This post also appears on Flavorpill, an Atlantic partner site.
Image credit: 20th Century Fox
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.