by hannahBENSON, ’15

hannahmugThe return to school is painful for most. Luckily, fall promises newly-released sequels and a revamped Star Wars 2 to soften the blow.

Among the new releases are a sequel to 2011’s chilling Insidious, the second installment of the Thor series, Star Wars 2 in 3-D and perhaps the most hyped of all: Catching Fire, the follow-up to The Hunger Games, starring quirky Oscar award winner Jennifer Lawrence.

The most eagerly-awaited fall films and the majority of popular films over the past few years are sequels. The sudden influx of titles ending in “Part 2” and “The Third” should please the many hardcore fans that made the originals hits.

Unfortunately for the minority that prefers original and stand-alone films over series, the market for single films appears to be decaying. This summer proved to be a breaking point for blockbusters in their war against sequels for box office dominance. This summer’s R.I.P.D., Turbo and Lone Ranger——three expected hits——surrendered to Iron Man 3, Fast and Furious 6 and Star Trek: Into Darkness.

“The common thread between pretty much all these movies that haven’t done well is that they’re all originals, not franchises,” Paul Dergarabedian of wrote. “Audiences… feel more comfortable spending their money on something they already know.”

Evidently, the vast majority of movie audiences haven’t grown weary of multi-installment films. The top three sequels of the summer wouldn’t have grossed an average of $290 million if they were. Most moviegoers today seem to be invested in some kind of franchise.

After such spectacular failures as R.I.P.D. and Lone Ranger——which Filmsite estimates to be the greatest box office bomb of all time——studio executives should be reconsidering their blueprints for more $150 million originals. Summer smashes have become cautionary tales of angered actors and $200 million losses. There are young adult books to be adapted and old series to be revived. And, fortunately for franchises, the sequels trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon; James Cameron recently announced three more movies for 2009’s Avatar, starting release in 2015.

Fans of Insidious, Thor, Star Wars or The Hunger Games—— also known as the majority of the world’s population——should not be disappointed by this season’s lineup. Everyone else should cross their fingers and hope winter offers more blockbuster originals.