This year, it's raining sequels in Hollywood


January 26, 2003

Question: What do Tarzan, Mr. Moto, Blondie and Dagwood Bumstead, Andy Hardy, Charlie Chan, Dr. Kildare, the Bowery Boys, Nick and Nora Charles, and Francis the Talking Mule all have in common?

A. Houseguests of the Osbournes.

B. Members of Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force.

C. All subjects of movies with Jim Carrey signed to star.

D. Characters in popular movie series of their day.

Answer: D.

Hollywood has long had a love affair with the sequel. This year is no different. But what makes 2003 unique is the sheer number of so-called "franchise" movies.

At least 23 sequels are in the wings, from a new Charlie's Angels and Tomb Raider to the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator.

Last year, six of the top 10 grossing films were sequels, including Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Through Jan. 5, those six films had a combined $1.4 billion box office.

Sequels remain popular, says Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations Co., because "a sequel takes a little bit out of the guesswork or fear factor of going to the movies. If they know Austin Powers is going to be in the movie, moviegoers seem more inclined to spend money on that -- a known quantity."

So, in a way, we get what we deserve.

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