We’re all feeling sequel fatigue – but Hollywood’s giving us Shrek 5 | Sian Cain

Shrek 5

The idea behind the infinite monkey theorem is that if a monkey were to type randomly on a keyboard for an unlimited amount of time, they could eventually produce something of value, like a famous novel. This concept can be applied to Hollywood, where the fear of taking risks has led to a flood of unoriginal sequels that fail to excite audiences. As a result, movie theaters are filled with mediocrity instead of innovative and fresh content.

That doesn't mean there aren't amazing movies being made currently. Last year was especially impressive. How often do we see films like Past Lives, The Zone of Interest, Anatomy of a Fall, Poor Things, Oppenheimer, and The Holdovers all in one year? Hollywood is slow to change, despite our pleas for more original and daring ideas. So here we are, feeling perplexed like we're in a restaurant. Who really wanted Shrek 5, 16 years after the last installment? Or a sequel to Devil Wears Prada (just announced)? Is there a demand for another Beverly Hills Cop? More Beetlejuice? And who requested Bad Boys: Ride or Die? (Someone did, it made $336 million.)

Thanks to streaming services, Hollywood is able to easily see what movies from the past are popular with audiences. They have noticed that people are rewatching movies like The Matrix, Scream, Top Gun, Indiana Jones, and many others. This has led to a trend of bringing back old movies with varying levels of success. Right now, movies like Twisters, Kung Fu Panda 4, Despicable Me 4, and Furiosa are playing in theaters. In the near future, we can expect to see more Alien films, more Frozens, more Lord of the Rings, a Mufasa origin story, and multiple attempts at remaking Snow White, Jurassic Park, and Fantastic Four. There are also plans for a large number of Avatar films and even another Tron movie. Every now and then, a new Ice Age movie surprises audiences like a sudden scare.

The movie industry in Hollywood is facing challenges due to the pandemic and strikes, leaving them struggling to adapt. They have created a situation where films no longer have definitive endings and require viewers to engage in additional media to fully understand the story. This approach, focused on intellectual properties and franchises, has left audiences craving more original, mid-budget films. Hollywood's overreliance on familiar franchises has resulted in a lack of strong new content.

There are people who believe that feeling tired of sequels or franchise movies is not a real issue, especially when a successful film like Bad Boys: Ride or Die is released. However, it's difficult not to feel exhausted when most films are just part of a Hollywood trend focused on sequels, prequels, existing IPs, brands, reboots, and remakes. Some of these choices can even feel disrespectful. Did anyone really ask for a prequel to Pop-Tarts? It seems unnecessary.

William Goldman once said that in Hollywood, no one knows anything. This is evident with the success of Inside Out 2, which has surpassed $1bn at the box office. Even the creators of the film are unsure why it has done so well. Is it because it is a quality film, a children's film, or a continuation of a popular franchise? All three arguments could be valid. However, the significance of being a sequel cannot be overlooked. Disney's future lineup includes 19 sequels or reboots out of 25 confirmed films.

When A Tale of Two Cities is successful, Hollywood always tries to create something similar to satisfy the same craving. This is a common practice. However, currently they are only producing Two Tales, Two Cities. It is truly the worst of times.

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