More Sequels Should Hitch Their Wagons to Hot-Button Issues

Photo: Marvel, Universal, Paramount, Disney and Twentieth Century Fox

This Friday sees the opening of the fourth Step Up movie, Step Up Revolution, which is about the daughter of a wealthy businessman who, with the help of her star-crossed lover from the wrong side of the tracks, leads a dance uprising to save a beloved Miami neighborhood from her father’s plans to turn it into a luxury hotel and apartments. It’s the 99 percent rising up against the one percent, but with dancing instead of drum circles! What better way to perk up a late entry in a movie series than by making it a “message movie” tied to a topical, populist issue? Worked for The Dark Knight Rises! More franchises should think this way. Here are seven suggestions for how Hollywood can make more money with sequels, all while solving every single one of the world’s problems.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Secrets of Cholesterol Cove
After Jack Sparrow suffers a heart attack, the eccentric pirate is off to find a secret land where grows the healthiest options for keeping fit for a life at sea.

Friday the 13th: You May Kill the Brides
After their entire guest list is murdered by Jason Voorhees, two gay brides are determined not to get their heads chopped off before exchanging the vows they’ve waited so long to have the right to exchange.

Fast and Furious: Electric Nights
Dominic and his crew are out to steal a stockpile of lithium-ion cells from a carmaker tycoon intent on killing the electric-car market at any cost, which will drive people to his gas guzzlers. This installment ends with an epic chase through the streets of Detroit in the gang’s souped-up Priuses, eventually leaving their evil pursuers behind, shaking their fists as they stop at a Getty to refuel.

Paranormal Activity 4: It ‘Ghosts’ Better
After moving into a centuries-old mansion, notorious conversion therapist Dr. Kip Blasick and his wife, Donna, are haunted by a ghost who does a really good Carol Channing impersonation … all night long.

Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Juvie
When Sean is suspended from school and sent to a youth detention facility, things can’t possibly seem to get any worse … until he finds out his cranky Aunt Madea’s in charge! Can Madea’s tough love set him straight?

The Human Centipede 3: The Grand Bran Plan
A murderous lunatic, on the loose from an insane asylum, wants to form the world’s longest “human centipede,” and it’ll only work with a very healthy fiber intake.

The Avengers vs. the People Who Want to Repeal Obamacare
Okay, so this one’s a bit literal. But after the first one has reached $1.5 billion in grosses around the world, does Marvel even have to care about being subtle? Boom boom zap Hulk smash!, Tony Stark gives an arch, fast-talking lecture about health care for everyone, then more zip zap crash ka-BOOM and then ka-ching!

How Other Sequels Can Glom On to Hot Topics