Been to the movies lately? Notice how many choices have titles that end with the number 3? 4? How about 7--part 2?
Hollywood has a strange fascination with movie sequels, not that they don't make sense. Audiences love to see their favorite characters back in action with bigger budgets, bigger stunts, and more entangled love triangles. But do moviegoers really want a fifth Final Destination? And more importantly, do sequels actually net film studios any real profit?
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The answer is "yes," with a "but." After the first sequel, each subsequent sequel tends to make less profit than its precursor, and this is true across most popular movie franchises. It's also worth noting that higher budgets do correlate with a bigger box office--but not necessarily with a bigger profit. So, is it worth it for film studios to make sequels with bigger, more elaborate sets and visuals?
Use the filter at the top to view box office numbers for different film franchises, and check out MovieScope Magazine's feature on this very topic for an even deeper take on the economics of film sequels.