How Much is Too Much?

So, the news broke out today that another Harry Potter film is in the works. That’s great but my question is: how many films, either theatrical or direct-to-video/DVD can you make for a franchise before everyone becomes sick of it or the story line derails?

When I hear the news of a sequel in the works, most of the time it’s for a movie that I never saw. By that time, I would have already read the reactions and seen the box office results. If I did see the movie, I may be excited if I thought that story left enough room for more situations or complain that it will be continued because I didn’t like it. Even if I did like the movie and a sequel is in the works, I make the assumption that it won’t be good because I felt the story was complete. Case in point: Toy Story.

The trilogy is a strong story with a fair ending. The shorts that they do now involving the characters are great because even though there is no overreaching plot, we see the characters become involved in scenarios that work within a six or seven minute time frame. A Halloween special will be released next month. The problem? A fourth movie. True, this is a rumor but I hope that the idea of a fourth thing means the Halloween special. There is nothing more that can be done on a large scale for the Toy Story universe. As a kid, I didn’t care about the story, I just wanted more things with the characters I liked. Now, I can tell when I’ve had enough of something and will leave it be, even if it means it was something I liked.

Then there’s the joke that a franchise just won’t die. I’ve seen jokes made when Rocky was popular that it would continue for many, many years. I actually have an ad for a VCR that said in 2007 A.D. (that’s how it was printed) I would watch Rocky XVI or something like that. Underneath, it showed the VCR I would watch it on. Of course, the Rocky franchise has stopped since then with less installments than what was theorized. But even then, the idea for an exhaustive franchise still stays with us today. It’s not a bad thing necessarily; look at James Bond and Star Trek. The number of films reaches into the double digits and for the most part are still successful in telling a story that people want to see continue. On the other hand (let’s see how I can say this), the horror genre seems to do quite well with creating new ways to “end” the terror. Or, if you look at direct-to-video, how long is it until time begins in The Land Before Time? Wait, I can’t measure that in time if it doesn’t exist yet.

How many movies do you consider to be enough for a solid franchise? For me, it’s two or three at most before it starts to become a real commitment. What about you?

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