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I Hope You Like Sequels: 2011 Was Hollywood’s Best Summer Ever

Submitted by on September 8, 2011 – 9:27 amNo Comment

Hollywood is wrapping up it’s highest grossing summer ever, bringing in $4.4 billion just in the U.S. But I doubt many of those profits will go toward developing exciting original ideas, thanks to another record set in 2011: the most sequels ever, with 27. And for the first summer ever, the top five grossing films were all sequels.

Here are the top five, with their domestic earnings. And just for fun, I’m also going to list their scores from RottenTomatoes, the site that compiles and averages movie reviews.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2- $400 million, 97%

2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon- $387 million, 36%

3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides- $295 million, 33%

4. The Hangover, Part II- $254 million, 33%

5. Fast Five- $209 million, 78%

OK, so Number 1 is solid. I’m just gonna leave that alone. And even Number 5, Fast Five, got a C+, earning such dazzling reviews as “it delivers what it’s supposed to.

But the rest…ouch. Do movies really have to be this bad and unoriginal to make money?

Maybe Hollywood is in a tough spot. The economy is hurting everyone, people are buying less movie tickets, and movie studios are still recovering from the 2008 writer’s strike. So let’s look back on another year when the U.S. was in a terrible recession: 1979. I’m sure it will be full of mediocre, predictable, SFX-driven movies, right?

1. Kramer vs. Kramer

2. Rocky II

3. Apocalypse Now

4. Star Trek: The Motion Picture

5. Alien

Hmm. One sequel. And it looks downright modest compared to today’s follow-ups.

Kramer vs. Kramer won a heap of Oscars for basically showing a couple yell about divorce. And Apocalypse Now has been called one of the greatest movies of all time.

Star Trek and Alien also became genre classics. But then again, both were sci-fi action thrillers that began long-running, high-grossing franchises. So maybe the best we can hope for is the occasional brilliant, groundbreaking film that studios think they can copy a few more times.

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