Sequels have long been a staple of Hollywood filmmaking, but in recent years, audiences have shown signs of fatigue with franchise after franchise being churned out. However, it seems that Hollywood has found a solution: cinematic universes. These interconnected worlds filled with various characters and storylines have breathed new life into sequels and given filmmakers a new way to keep audiences engaged.
Franchise fatigue has been building for years, with many blaming the downfall of the Star Wars franchise on the oversaturation of films. Fans were left feeling disappointed after each new installment failed to live up to previous films, with many asking the question “why do we need another sequel?” This sentiment has been echoed across numerous franchises, from Fast and Furious to Transformers.
To combat this, studios are moving towards creating cinematic universes, with Marvel Studios leading the way. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has become a cultural phenomenon, with films grossing over $22 billion worldwide. Audiences have eagerly awaited each new installment, with the interconnected nature of the films adding a new layer of excitement and anticipation.
Other studios have followed suit, with DC Comics creating their own cinematic universe and Universal Pictures attempting to revive their classic monster movies in a shared universe. The success of the MCU has clearly shown that audiences are interested in seeing characters and storylines interconnected across multiple films.
Cinematic universes have also allowed for greater storytelling possibilities, with characters being given their own standalone films and then coming together for larger team-up movies. This has allowed for a more in-depth exploration of characters and new storylines that might not have been possible with a traditional sequel format.
Of course, the success of cinematic universes is not guaranteed, and some have already failed to take off. Sony attempted to create a shared universe for their Spider-Man characters, but after lackluster box office performance for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, plans were scrapped. Similarly, Universal’s Dark Universe was effectively killed after the release of The Mummy in 2017.
Despite the risks, it seems that cinematic universes are here to stay in Hollywood. They offer a new way for filmmakers to keep audiences engaged with their favorite characters and allow for fresh storytelling possibilities that traditional sequels may not offer. As long as studios are willing to take risks and continually evolve these universes, it seems that they will continue to be successful and provide audiences with exciting new cinematic experiences.