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Film Sequels

Film Sequels: Theory and Practice from Hollywood to Bollywood

Carolyn Jess-Cooke
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Film Sequels
    Book Description:

    The film sequel has been much maligned in popular culture as a vampirish corporative exercise in profit-making and narrative regurgitation. Drawing upon a wide range of filmic examples from early cinema to the twenty-first century, this exciting new volume reveals the increasing popularity of, and experimentation with, film sequels as a central dynamic of Hollywood cinema. Now creeping into world cinemas and independent film festivals, the sequel is persistently employed as a vehicle for cross-cultural dialogue and as a structure by which memories and cultural narratives can be circulated across geographical and historical locations. This book aims to account for some of the major critical contexts within which sequelisation operates by exploring sequel production beyond box office figures. Its account ranges across sequels in recent mainstream cinema, art-house and ‘indie’ sequels, non-Hollywood sequels, the effects of the domestic market on sequelisation, and the impact of the video game industry on Hollywood. The book:*Situates the sequel within its industrial, cultural, theoretical and global contexts.*Offers an essential resource for students and critics interested in film and literary studies, adaptation, critical theory and cultural studies.*Provides the first study of film sequels in world cinemas and independent film-making.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3133-9
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vi-viii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. INTRODUCTION The Age of the $equel: Beyond the Profit Principle
    (pp. 1-14)

    Contemporary cinema is infused with recycling and repetition. From video game tie-ins to McHappy Meal toys, the new horizontally integrated Hollywood continues to create ways of engaging the spectator within a network of remembering and re-enacting scenarios that are designed to recycle a film’s narrative and repeat the spectatorial experience as far as possible. In accordance with these commercial practices, sequential filmmaking has developed in recent years into several formats that internalise forms of repetition and continuation within narrative structures, such as sequels, remakes, series, trilogies and adaptations.

    The most profitable of these structures is the film sequel.?¹ A regular...

  6. CHAPTER 1 Before and After the Blockbuster: A Brief History of the Film Sequel
    (pp. 15-51)

    The title card of D. W. Griffith’s 1911 film His Trust: The Faithful Devotion and Self-Sacrifice of an Old Negro Servant provides some insight into early conceptualisations of the sequel:

    “His Trust” is the first part of a life story, the second part being “His Trust Fulfilled” and while the second is the sequel to the first, each part is a complete story in itself.

    The notion of a ‘complete story’ is clearly pitted here against the concept of the sequel. Although both His Trust and His Trust Fulfilled have a clearly defined narrative trajectory involving the resolution of conflict,...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Screaming, Slashing, Sequelling: What the Sequel Did to the Horror Movie
    (pp. 52-71)

    There is much to suggest that the film sequel operates as a genre or, at the very least, as a sub-genre. As the previous chapter has shown, early formative exercises in film ‘kinds’ led to the western, slapstick comedy, film noir, and lately to a host of hybrid generic formulations to alert cinema-going audiences to what they might expect of any film that subscribed to genre codes. A number of theories describe the ways by which audiences are alerted, but central to the operation of genre is the address of expectation. In its repetitious re-organisation of familiar features, genre shares...

  8. CHAPTER 3 ‘It’s All Up To You!’: Sequelisation and User-Generated Content
    (pp. 72-89)

    This chapter looks at sequelisation as a method by which audience are able to continue, interact with and re-experience a film. ‘User—generated content’ is now a chief mode of consumer activity, or the defining characteristic of technology’s most prominent ‘sequel’, Web 2.0. As consumer choice expands, along with the gamut of interactive technologies, immersive environments, media crossovers, hypernarrative formats and consumer products, the sequel has begun to register the reception practices, paratexts and marketing strategies by which a film is continued, or rather exploded across multiple media platforms and consumer contexts. The idea of an ‘original’ commonly adheres to...

  9. CHAPTER 4 Adventures in Indiewood: Sequels in the Independent Film Marketplace
    (pp. 90-109)

    At the end of his comprehensive study of American independent film, Yannis Tzioumakis notes that, in contradistinction to earlier moments in cinema history, twenty-first-century independent film is increasingly being replaced by such terms as ‘niche’ and ‘speciality’ ‘to accommodate recent developments’.¹ Tzioumakis does not elaborate on these developments, but notes ‘independent film’ as an increasingly overburdened term. Now freighted with industrial agendas and institutional struggles, ‘independent film’ is used to signal both lowbudget productions like lonelygirl15 and $270 million projects like The Lord of the Rings trilogy (Peter Jackson, 2001, 2002, 2003).² Common to both ends of independent film’s spectrum,...

  10. CHAPTER 5 Signifying Hollywood: Sequels in the Global Economy
    (pp. 110-129)

    At the 2007 Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Convention (known as FICCI-Frames), a discussion between representatives of international film industries marked a significant change of attitude towards the film sequel. Italian director Adriano de Micheli remarked that sequels and prequels ‘target audiences with two different [kinds of] movies — and why not!’, whilst Indian film director and scriptwriter Sudhir Mishra noted the benefits of sequelisation in recasting old stories and characters in a new light: ‘what we add to the older scripts is our personal experience in today’s reality.’ Some delegates spoke of the sequel as a way...

  11. CHAPTER 6 Sequelisation and Secondary Memory: Steven Spielberg’s Artificial Intelligence: A. I. (2001)
    (pp. 130-152)

    In the introduction to this book I noted a comparison between sequelisation and Sigmund Freud’s theory of ‘the compulsion to repeat’¹ — which explained patterns of repetitive behaviour as a consequence of repressed trauma — as a helpful way to think about how the film sequel constructs remembering activities and memorialising scenarios by which spectators can access a previous text. However, manifestations of Freud’s notions of compulsive repetition and remembering are apparent far beyond the individual spectatorial encounter, and can be found across a range of cultural practices around the world. Cultural theorist Andreas Huyssen has recently pointed out the global ‘explosion...

  12. References
    (pp. 153-163)
  13. Index
    (pp. 164-166)