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?

Failing to Finish a Franchise




I feel like I’m a bad moviegoer because I usually do not finish watching all of the entries in a series. The only one I can recall that I’ve seen all the way would be the Toy Story trilogy. I can’t claim Star Wars since they’re still making more. The question I ask myself is how come?

The first thing that comes to mind is how invested I was in the previous entries. Most of the time, I cringe upon hearing that a sequel is in the works for a movie that I didn’t care for. Problem is, I usually haven’t seen the movie in the first place and make my judgement based on reviews. But when it’s a movie that I did see and liked, I wonder how well it will do once it is released and when it does, I’ll see it, like Pixar’s latest outing (not Planes). That way, I will have walked the walk and can talk the talk.

The second reason is that when I ask people how far I should watch in a series, they’ll tell me to stop at a certain point, usually before the end of the series. I’m sure they have good judgement but how do I know that I should stop at that point and not continue? I don’t. It would seem fair to at least watch all of the entries before I can make an informed judgement, even if one of the entries is widely hated.

The third reason is the number of entries and how long they last. I’ve only seen the first LOTR movie and that took some time to get through. Same with The Godfather, The Terminator, and Alien. The Bond series will take maybe a month or two depending on my schedule. What do all of these have in common? They have a sequel as an entry in the 1001 Movies book, meaning I need to continue the series. I’ve seen at least the first entry in all of the aforementioned series but I had a hard time staying invested in the movie. Because of that, I’m worried that I’ll have the same problem in the later entries.

What exactly am I supposed to do about it? I could try to force myself to watch even if I stop caring halfway though but that’s the worst thing I can do and have done. I don’t want to stop or walk out of the movie because I feel like that’s giving up. I try to make each viewing a learning experience whether through how it was filmed or how it could have been fixed or why it won so many awards. This applies to movies that I have disliked, even some Best Picture winners.

It’s a vicious cycle that I am trying to resolve but haven’t had much success. Any suggestions on how to fix it? Or do you have a series that for some reason you can’t finish?