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Are Spin-Offs the New Sequels?

It seems that year-on-year, the cinemas are flooded with sequels to banal action movies. This year we have Iron Man 2, Shrek 4, Predators and Sex and the City 2, among others. It’s been that way for years. If you summer blockbuster isn’t an adaptation (of television show, novel, comic book, earlier film or even video game), chances are that it is a sequel (or a prequel). It makes shrewd business sense. Given the huge amount of money spent on these tentpoles ($150m for just the production budget, let alone other costs), so it feels somewhat safer to spend it on a known quantity. Franchises have built in fanbases, more merchandise, already had several DVD releases (which means more people are aware of it than casual cinema goers), which means a bigger audience, more awareness and more money. It can be quite exhausting, however, from a cinema goer prospective. However, Hollywood likes to innovate in its own insanely boring way. Much as they redefined cinema by bringing back a gimmick from the fifties, and turned the glut of sequels into prequels, it appears Hollywood has found a new way of generating money from established properties: the spin-off.

Think of the Gross, baby!

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