Film Sequels: Theory and Practice from Hollywood to Bollywood

Film Sequels: Theory and Practice from Hollywood to Bollywood

Film Sequels: Theory and Practice from Hollywood to Bollywood

Film Sequels: Theory and Practice from Hollywood to Bollywood


The film sequel is held to be a vampirish corporative exercise in profitmaking and narrative regurgitation. Drawing upon a wide range of filmic examples from early cinema to today, this unique volume follows the increasing popularity and innovation of film sequels as a central dynamic of Hollywood cinema. Now debuting at world cinemas and independent film festivals, the sequel has become a vehicle for cross-cultural dialogue and a structure by which memories and cultural narratives are circulated across geographical and historical locations. The book explores sequel production beyond box office figures, considering the form in recent mainstream cinema, art-house and "indie" films, and non-Hollywood sequels, and it traces the effects of the domestic market on sequelization and the impact of the video game industry on Hollywood.


‘[I]n a sense no sequel is as good as its predecessor:
sequels inevitably seem to fail us in some obscure
yet fundamental way.’

Terry Castle, Masquerade and Civilization, 133

‘Sequels equal money!’

Mr Dresden, Orange Film Board advertisement (2007)

This book explores the film sequel from its origins in silent cinema to its phenomenal popularity in contemporary Hollywood and beyond with a view to challenging the two chief assumptions of this category, as indicated by the quotations above: that sequels are always disappointing, and that they always mean big bucks at the box office. Such broad assumptions may explain why film sequelisation has been largely overlooked by academic studies and scholarly research; despite a century of film sequels, this book provides the first sustained account of this structure. Existing accounts of the film sequel tend to describe it as no more than a vampirish corporative exercise in profit-making and narrative regurgitation. Why, then, is sequel production on the rise? What exactly is the sequel, and how does it differ from other categories of repetition, such as the remake, serial and trilogy? By exploring the practice of film sequelisation throughout a range of relevant contexts and critical approaches – including intertextuality, genre, industrial transitions, the impact of new technologies, the independent film marketplace, cross-cultural dialogues and psychoanalytic theory – Film Sequels defines the sequel as a framework within which formulations of repetition, difference, history, nostalgia, memory and audience interactivity produce a series of dialogues and relationships between a textual predecessor and its continuation, between audience and text, and between history and remembrance. Such a consideration of these relationships offers a . . .

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