the take

Paul Dergarabedian Remembers the Good Old Days When No One Made Sequels

Courtesy of IFC Films

Our old buddy Paul Dergarabedian, tireless generator of inane movie-related quotes, was hard at work this weekend talking to his friends at the Associated Press. This time the AP asked Paul about sequels, for a much-reprinted piece whose biting thesis is, we guess, that Hollywood loves sequels. “It wasn’t always like this,” reporter Jake Coyle writes, allowing Paul D. to cast his mind back to the halcyon days of moviemaking, when sequels were shunned as soulless, money-grubbing hackwork:

“‘Sequel’ was a dirty word,” says Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box-office tracker Media By Numbers. “They were seen as an exploitive way to capitalize on a brand name recognition of a popular movie by making the same movie and putting a ‘2’ behind it.”

When did this supposed sea change in the way these unnamed observers see sequels take place?

1963, when From Russia With Love turned James Bond from a hero into a franchise? 1974, the year of Godfather II, which won the Oscar for Best Picture? 1980, when The Empire Strikes Back proved that even a sequel to a great movie can improve on the original? 1999, when Toy Story 2 proved that animated sequels can deepen the themes of their inspirations? What magical picture was it, Paul Dergarabedian, that legitimized sequels in the eyes of moviegoers and Hollywood alike?

Dergarabedian recalls feeling a shift when 1999’s Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me made more money in its first weekend than the original made in its entire theatrical run.

Oh, sure.

Hollywood studios go sequel-crazy after grosses [AP via El Paso Times]

Paul Dergarabedian Remembers the Good Old Days When No One Made Sequels