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Posted June 8, 2012 by Myke Friscia in Movies
 
 

Movie History: The Birth of the Sequel





Avengers 2, Iron Man 3, Captain America 2, Thor 2, Transformers 4, Cloverfield 2, Tron 3, Kick Ass 2, Star Trek 12, Avatar 2, Beetlejuice 2, Die Hard 5, Fast and Furious 6, Ghostbusters 3, Terminator 4, Hangover 3, Despicable Me 2, Bill and Ted 3, Ron Burgundy 2, and on and on and on.  These are some of  the sequels you can expect to see in the next year and a half.  In the last 15 years or so, movie makers and movie goers have been obsessed with the sequel.  They’re dominating the big budget movies that are in development and production.  Why are they making so many?  It’s simply economics.  They make the most money.  Last year was known as the year of the sequel, in which 10 of the 11 highest grossing films were in fact all sequels.

When did this sequel craze begin?  There were very few sequels between 1915-1980.  When the Empire Strikes back was released in 1980, it became the biggest grossing movie of all time (for the time).  There was something to be said for pre-existing audience interest.  Thus the sequel craze began and the superhero craze, as there was already a ton of existing interest from comic books.  But what was the first sequel ever made?

In 1915, the most commercial film of all time so far was released, The Birth of a Nation.  Although highly controversial for the time, it was a huge worldwide success.  It was the first film to gross 1 million dollars.  It was an epic for it’s time, made for a massive budget of $110,000.  It was based on the novel and play ‘The Clansman”, written by Thomas Dixon Jr..  Thomas Dixon was a well known author of the time who had written many plays and 22 novels, including 3 trilogies.  The Clansman was the second in his “Trilogy of Reconstruction” series.

Thomas Dixon was awed by the making of his novel into a film and inspired by it’s huge success.  Mr. Dixon had the idea to cash in on that success and “pre-existing interest” in his novels.  He decided he would do something that had never been done before.  Make a sequel to the most successful film of all time.  He began writing a screenplay based on his novel “Fall of a nation” .    He created his own production  company to make the film, “Dixon Studios”.   He wrote the script and directed it himself.   Filming began in 1915, the same year as Birth of Nation was released.  He shot on many of the same locations as Birth and it included some epic battle scenes.  The budget was about $31,000, and it was released on June 6 1916.   The movie sequel had been born!   But it didn’t have near the success as Birth of a Nation.  It was a massive flop.  Dixon Studios went bust and never produced another movie.  It’s lack of success made it quite a while before another sequel was made.  It wasn’t until 1974 that the first film using the number 2 or II came out, the Godfather II, which won best picture.

   

Original Movie Poster for first sequel ever.  Look at those graphics.   What marketing.

Fall of a Nation is officially recognized as the first movie sequel ever.  Unfortunately, it is a lost film, but I did manage to find a few stills.

         

Thomas Dixon Jr.

Also keep an eye out for:

  1. Scary Movie 5
  2. Grown Ups 2
  3. Jurassic Park 3D
  4. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D
  5. Smurfs 2
  6. Red 2
  7. Sin City 2
  8. 300 2
  9. Bad Santa 2
  10. Spongebob Squarepants 2
  11. How to Train Your Dragon 2
  12. Mummy 4
  13. Transformers 5
  14. Hancock 2
  15. Indiana Jones 5
  16. Toy Story 4
  17. Jumper 2
  18. The Last Airbender 2 (seriously?)
  19. Final Destination 6
  20. Jurassic Park 5 and 6
  21. Rambo 5
  22. Avatar 2 and 3
  23. Revenge wears Prada
  24. And there is a rumor of another Star Wars Trilogy, maybe 2,  that will have nothing to do with the previous 6.  We are all waiting George.  Some of us praying!
Interested in how sequels have progressed since The Godfather II? Here are some facts:

Highest grossing PREQUELS of all  time:

1. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace:          $431 million

2. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith:           $380 million

3. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones:           $310 million

4. Star Trek 11:                                                                     $257 million

5. Batman Begins:                                                               $205 million

6. X-Men Origins: Wolverine:                                           $179 million

7. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom:                   $179 million

8. Rise of the Planet of the Apes:                                       $175 million

9. Casino Royale:                                                                   $167 million

10. X-Men: First Class:                                                        $146 million

11. Red Dragon:                                                                     $93 million

12. The Scorpion King:                                                        $91 million

13. Alien Vs. Predator:                                                         $80 million

14. Paranormal Activity 3:                                                   $54 million

15. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans:                                  $45 million

16. Exorcist: The Beginning:                                               $41 million

17. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning:      $39 million

18. The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas:                           $35 million

19. Hannibal Rising:                                                              $27 million

20. Dumb and Dumber: When Harry Met Lloyd:          $26 million

Biggest grossing franchises of all time:

Title                              # of movies                 World gross                                tickets sold

1 Star Wars                        6                          $3,531,174,524                             560,734,200

2 James Bond                    21                          $3,332,026,028                          544,004,000

3 Jaws                                  4                            $1,306,479,630                           182,557,600

4 Star Trek                          10                          $1,250,673,835                           203,135,200

5 The Lord of the Rings    4                           $1,201,578,045                           186,329,100

6 Rocky                                6                            $1,175,439,755                           176,864,500

7 Indiana Jones                  4                            $1,160,409,735                         191,091,200

8 The Exorcist                    4                             $1,071,412,803                         137,262,100

9 Batman                             5                              $992,739,135                           169,230,300

10 Jurassic Park                 3                              $957,700,887                          168,125,000

11 The Godfather                3                             $910,895,955                           120,166,000

12 Harry Potter                   7                             $889,423,529                          141,012,600

13 Superman                       4                             $776,195,449                           119,316,300

14 Beverly Hills Cop           3                             $758,885,524                          116,645,500

15 Home Alone                    3                             $703,683,381                          116,224,800

16 Lethal Weapon               4                             $699,275,302                           116,457,100

17 Back to the Future         3                              $697,406,523                          109,140,800

18 The Matrix                      3                              $645,437,443                          103,547,200

19 Planet of the Apes         6                               $615,533,996                          86,738,900

20 Jack Ryan                       4                              $586,343,007                          98,626,800

Sequels that have won best picture:

  1. Godfather II (1974),
  2. Lord Of the rings: The Return of the King (2004)

2011 Highest Grossing films – only Thor was not a sequel.

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2                      $381,011,219
  2.  Transformers: Dark of the Moon                                           $352,390,543
  3.  The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1                            $281,287,133
  4.   The Hangover Part II                                                               $254,464,305
  5. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides                        $241,071,802
  6.  Fast Five                                                                                      $209,837,675
  7.  Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol                                   $209,397,903
  8.  Cars 2                                                                                           $191,452,396
  9. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows                                  $ 186,848, 418
  10.  Thor                                                                                              $181,030,624
  11.  Rise of the Planet of the Apes                                                 $176,760,185

Highest grossing sequels of all time:

1) SHREK 2

Myke Myers Stars in the highest grossing Sequel of all time.

  1.  Shrek 2 (2004)                                                                         $436, 471, 036
  2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)         $423,032,628
  3.  Toy Story 3 (2010)                                                                   $414,984,400
  4.  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)                     $402,076,680
  5.   Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)      $380,955,619
  6.  Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)        $380,262,555
  7.  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)    $377,019,252
  8.  Spider-Man 2 (2004)                                                              $373,377,893
  9.  Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)                             $352,358,779
  10.  The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)               $340,478,898
  11.  Spider-Man 3 (2007)                                                               $336,530,303
  12.  Shrek the Third (2007)                                                           $320,706,665
  13.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)                    $317,557,891
  14.  Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)       $317,011,114
  15.  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring           $313,837,577
  16.  Iron Man 2 (2010)                                                                    $312,057,433
  17.  Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)         $310,675,583
  18.  Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)               $309,404,152
  19.  Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)             $309,125,409
  20.  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)                 $301,956,980
  21.  The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)                                         $300,523,113
  22.  New Moon (2009)                                                                     $296,619,304
  23.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)        $294,980,434
  24.  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)             $292,000,866
  25.  Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)   $290,158,751

The worst sequels vs great originals:

  1. The Matrix Reloaded
  2. Spider Man 3
  3. Superman III and IV
  4. Staying Alive
  5. Fast and Furious 3: Tokyo Drift
  6. Men in Black II
  7. Blues Brothers 2000
  8. Caddy Shack 2
  9. Basic Instinct 2
  10. Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps
  11. American Psycho 2

Is Shai LaBeouf the king of horrible sequels?  (Wall Street, Transformers, Indiana Jones, Charlies Angels: Full throttle)

Film Franchises with most sequels:

  1. Police Academy                             7
  2.  National Lampoon                      7
  3.  Batman                                          7
  4.  Star Wars                                      7
  5.    Harry Potter                               8
  6.  Nightmare on Elm Street          9
  7. Pink Panther                                10
  8.  Halloween                                    10
  9.  Star Trek                                       11
  10. Friday  13th                                    12
  11.  James Bond                                 23

Sequels I’d like to see:

  1. Hannibal 5  (TV series coming soon based on Clarice Starling!)
  2. Matrix 4   (prequel?)
  3. Southpark 2

Sequels we could do without:

  1. Green Lantern 2
  2. Charlie’s Angels 3
  3. The Last Airbender 2
  4. Paranormal Activity 4

 

 

 

 


Myke Friscia

 
Screenplay Analyst, Writer, Director of Development for Gallagher Literary Management, Little Monster. "Words are my Passion".