×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jim Gianopulos: Studios Need to Infuse Their Sequels With Fresh and Original Ideas

This column is part of Hollywood’s Broken Hollywood feature. For more execs and their opinions on the state of Hollywood, click here.

It’s a convenient trope to say Hollywood keeps doing sequels and repeating itself. I think it’s really easy to say we are doing the same old thing. But a good sequel is not the same old thing. If you do sequels badly, that’s the problem. I think the risk in sequels is for Hollywood to take the audiences for granted, to assume you only have to give them a little more. We as a studio are very careful to avoid that. We do that by introducing new filmmaker voices. We have to work hard to constantly advance the mythology of a property that people love. If you bring all the elements together, you’ll succeed.

When we look at greenlighting sequels, we ask a number of questions. How is it different? How does it advance the franchise? How does it provide something that the franchise’s new entrants can enjoy? Does it do justice to what came before it, rather than just repeat it? The reason sequels are made is that people liked what they saw before. I don’t think that makes them unoriginal. That makes them familiar and desirable, and you can only ruin them by failing to be original.

The most recent “X-Men” movie — “Days of Future Past” — was not only the most creative of the series, but also did the biggest box office worldwide of any of the movies. Similarly, “Planet of the Apes,” which had been done a number of times, and sometimes not well, when done properly with the right creative voice and story took the franchise to a different place. We’re fortunate to have five individual production divisions, each led by very seasoned executives who have their own voice and aesthetic.

We gave “X-Men” and “Planet of the Apes” substantial budgets to allow the filmmakers the creative freedom to realize their vision. In the case of “X-Men,” we were reuniting two sets of “X-Men” casts from “First Class” and from the earlier films. The nature of the story and the number of characters required a bigger budget. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was told from the perspective of the apes, so it required more apes. The critical response and the audience response were greater than the fanbase prior to the movie. That’s the other benefit of a sequel: It will introduce a new audience that may have been aware of prior movies but hadn’t connected to them.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Isabela Moner Dora the Explorer

    Film News Roundup: Isabela Merced Boards Jason Momoa's 'Sweet Girl' for Netflix

    In today’s film news roundup, Isabela Merced get cast opposite Jason Momoa, “Starbright” gets financing and AFM announces its speakers. CASTING Isabela Merced, formerly Isabela Moner, has come on board to portray the daughter of Jason Momoa in his upcoming revenge thriller “Sweet Girl” for Netflix. Momoa will play a devastated man who vows to [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Seeks to Throw Out Gender Pay Gap Lawsuit

    The Walt Disney Co. is seeking to throw out a lawsuit alleging that women employees are paid less than men, arguing that the suit is too sprawling and unwieldy to handle as a class action. Andrus Anderson LLP filed the suit in April, alleging that Disney’s hiring and pay practices have a discriminatory effect on [...]

  • Ford v Ferrari

    Christian Bale, Matt Damon to Campaign in Lead Actor Category for 'Ford v Ferrari'

    Christian Bale and Matt Damon will both campaign in the lead actor category for awards for their work in Fox’s upcoming “Ford v Ferrari,” Variety has learned. “Ford v Ferrari” follows an eccentric, determined team of American engineers and designers, led by automotive visionary Carroll Shelby (Damon) and his British driver, Ken Miles (Bale), who [...]

  • Tezuka's Barbara film

    Tokyo Film Festival: Makoto Tezuka Probes Past and Present in 'Barbara'

    The son of the late Osamu Tezuka, who is known as the “the god of manga” in Japan for his innovative and enduringly popular comics, Makoto Tezuka (also known as Macoto Tezka) long ago escaped his father’s looming shadow, carving out a career as a film and animation director. At the same time, he has [...]

  • Cuba Gooding Jr

    Cuba Gooding Jr. Sued for Allegedly Pinching Nightclub Server

    A Tao nightclub server who alleges that Cuba Gooding Jr., pinched her rear-end last year has sued the Oscar-winning actor for sexual battery. Natasha Ashworth had previously come forward to New York law enforcement, though her name had not been released publicly. Gooding was indicted last week on four misdemeanor counts, including two counts stemming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content