POV: Do sequels of successful films mean creative bankruptcy?

By Devesh Gupta , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Marketing | March 05, 2013
Does the increasing number of sequels and remakes in Bollywood indicate a lack of creativity?

Rafiq Gangjee

Rafiq Gangjee
Yash Raj Films

I am really flummoxed with this line of reasoning! While the franchise ensures the continuity in the audience's mind, every script of a sequel has a unique story, which could very well have achieved cult status independently.

A franchise essentially retains the genre and iconic characters, with everything else being creatively distinct.

If Superman, Batman, Bond and Spiderman are all the consequence of creative bankruptcy, the world wouldn't be clamouring for more of the same. Every sequel, while riding on its predecessor, has to have great content and that's all the audience wants. The name could bring people in, but the content will keep them there, for the next one.

In my opinion, a sequel of a great franchise is a far more daunting task to undertake creatively, because it has to live up to expectations.

Nitesh Tiwari

Nitesh Tiwari
Leo Burnett

I don't think sequels mean lack of original content. The basic idea of a sequel is to take some of the characters forward and present them in a fresh way.

Since the characters are already established, one doesn't need to struggle to promote them. Hollywood has been doing it successfully for many years. Rocky, Terminator, Home Alone, Scary Movie, Hot Shots and Die Hard are good examples of how the same characters were presented in a completely fresh manner.

Bollywood can also boast of its own success stories, the most noteworthy of them being Munnabhai MBBS, which was followed by Lage Raho Munnabhai. Making a sequel makes immense business sense to the production houses. But how many of them end up as successes at the box office, depends entirely on the content.

Rudrarup Datta

Rudrarup Datta
Viacom 18

Building a franchise model is similar to building a brand, where investments in the brand can be recovered over a longer period of time.

The trend is global, and not entirely new, as we have seen with James Bond, Indiana Jones, Spiderman and numerous others. Each edition of the franchise has given increased returns, as the brand recall gives it immediate connect.

The flipside is, when we embark on the harmful trend of title sequels having no connect of the character, story or even actors. The reckless use of the brand gives it a shorter lifespan and an eventual death.

This happens when sequels are created as an afterthought and not as a planned investment. In an ideal scenario, a sequel needs to stem from the previous editions, with carefully thought-through elements that can be extended beyond the existing story.

Kunal Kohli

Kunal Kohli

There is a lot of brand building in making sequels. If it is a good sequel and audiences are not rejecting it, why should the industry not continue with it? Hollywood is doing it and has gained considerable success. You can see Batman, Spiderman and other superhero movies.

Sequels are doing - and have done - good business at the box office, be it Golmaal, Race or any other. Also, who is to decide whether the film is a success or not?

There is an eternal battle between creative and financial on what determines box office success and it can never end.

In my opinion, we should not shy away from making sequels or remakes. More sequels get more business and it is good for the industry. We should follow it.

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