The Uncommon Instance of a New, Authentic, Film Franchise

“Franchise.” It’s a phrase you hear most of the time as of late when speaking about motion pictures. “It’s a part of a franchise” or “We want it to start a franchise.” Franchises are prized in Hollywood as a result of it means a lot of the laborious work is already finished; making a new Marvel movie or Star Wars movie is a no brainer as a result of the curiosity from the general public is already in place. There’s no want for true ground-up creation. That occurred a very long time in the past, and no matter follows reaps the advantages.

Regardless of this neverending reliance on franchises, if you have a look at the entire hottest sequels, remakes, reboots, or variations in recent times, one factor could be very clear: very, only a few of those concepts are new. If you happen to outline a brand new franchise by a movie that has spawned at the very least two sequels and isn’t based mostly on a ebook, present, toy, film, and many others., seemingly each single large franchise film to be launched previously decade is from a property that already existed. Solid in level, final 12 months’s top-grossing home film, High Gun: Maverick, was a sequel 26 years within the making. Star Tom Cruise’s subsequent film, Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1, is (deep breath) the sixth sequel in a virtually 20-year-old franchise based mostly on a TV present from 60 years in the past, which additionally occurs to be the primary movie of a two-part finale. That is what blockbuster motion pictures are usually as we speak, relics or recreations of the previous.

Lengthy gone are the times of groundbreaking originality. Consider movies like Again to the Future, Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars—dangerous, authentic concepts backed by Hollywood studios which then turned big hits and spawned franchises. It’s one thing that principally doesn’t exist anymore. The truth is, exterior of some examples in horror and animation, you must return nearly a decade to search out Hollywood’s final purely authentic concept that spawned an enormous franchise. That film is 2014’s John Wick, which has its fourth film, John Wick: Chapter 4, in theaters this week, and two spinoffs currently in the works.

Image for article titled John Wick Is a Hollywood Unicorn

Picture: Lionsgate

In 2014, John Wick principally got here out of nowhere. At first, it appeared like a seemingly unremarkable little motion film starring Keanu Reeves. However then folks realized it was particular. One thing thrilling, new, layered, and superior. The unique went on to gross over $85 million globally on a finances of round $20 million. That gave the studio, Lionsgate, confidence to offer the filmmakers extra money to make a sequel in 2017. It grossed over double the unique. Then, in 2019, the third movie grossed nearly double that sequel, turning into one of many top-grossing movies of the 12 months. All based mostly on an authentic concept by a author (on this case, Derek Kolstad) which was supported by a well-liked actor (Reeves) and executed for optimum leisure by the director (Chad Stahelski) on a finances a studio might dwell with.

And when you’d assume the concept of shepherding and giving an opportunity to high-concept, authentic concepts can be the norm in fashionable Hollywood, it’s not. In any respect. That’s most likely as a result of when there may be an sincere try at doing that (this month’s 65 is a superb instance, but there are dozens), it normally goes nowhere. Wanting on the highest-grossing home movies of the previous 15 years or so—and, once more, defining a brand new franchise by a movie that has spawned at the very least two sequels and isn’t based mostly on an present entity—there are solely a handful of examples in complete, most of that are animation or horror. There’s Despicable Me in 2010, Lodge Transylvania in 2012, The Purge in 2013, and, nicely, that’s sort of it. They’re the exception, not the rule. So the place are the unique franchise movies geared at non-animation or horror followers previously decade? There’s one. John Wick.

Image for article titled John Wick Is a Hollywood Unicorn

Picture: Lionsgate

The additional you look again, the extra examples there are of those authentic franchise starters. Ultimate Vacation spot and Quick and the Livid in 2000, Noticed in 2004, Kung Fu Panda, The Hangover, just a few others. However, even 20-25 years in the past, authentic concepts that turn into franchises have been nonetheless slightly uncommon. And although the long run will see a number of rising franchises overtake Wick as essentially the most fashionable examples of this— 2009’s Avatar being a major instance in addition to 2018’s A Quiet Place, each of which solely have one sequel proper now however a number of others in improvement—at this very second, John Wick is the newest, and present, reigning champ.

In different phrases, John Wick is the legendary creature everyone seems to be chasing: an reasonably priced, superior, authentic concept that individuals get pleasure from and wish extra of. A franchise. The Hollywood unicorn.

Need extra io9 information? Try when to count on the most recent Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s subsequent for the DC Universe on film and TV, and all the things you must learn about the way forward for Doctor Who.

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