Like it or not, it’s about time you get used to seeing the same characters when you go to the theaters. This year we will see a record breaking release of 35 sequels, displaying Hollywood’s increasing reliance on franchises as a way to mitigate the chance of box office losses.
In the past three years, there has been a noticeable uptrend in sequels. In 2011, Hollywood released 30 sequels, which was a record at the time. While the number went down slightly in 2012 to 27, that number ballooned once again this year to 35 on the heels of films such as Star Trek Into Darkness, Iron Man 3, and upcoming The Wolverine. The increase in franchises and sequels is a systemic strategy in Hollywood as studios rush to stockpile marketable franchises.
No studio displays this push as clearly as The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS). Along with the successful Marvel films and the animated films of Pixar, Disney acquired Lucasfilm at the end of last year, the company behind the Star Wars films, and has lofty plans for the popular series. The newest rumors have Disney releasing episodes of the new sequel trilogy every two years along with stand-alone films released during the gap years — that’s five sequels in five years.