For publishers and film producers there is less risk involved by returning to characters and situations that have proven to be popular, than by going with something untested. A study conducted by Binghamton University, and the Journal of Business Research, found that although sequels are not always as successful as the original, they generally do better at the box office than non-sequels.

Some sequels follow the original story so closely, they could almost be considered remakes. Other sequels tell completely new stories, but still try to recapture the appeal of the first part. Of particular interest to me are sequels of adapted works, sequels of remakes, and remakes of sequels. For example, in 1991 Steve Martin starred in Father of the Bride, a remake of a 1950 movie by the same name, which were both adaptations of a novel written by Edward Steeter. In 1951 there was a sequel to the original Father of the Bride, called Father’s Little Dividend. In 1995, Steve Martin returned in Father of the Bride Part Two, which was a sequel to his version, as well as a remake of the original sequel.

Another example would be The Bourne Identity, a novel written by Robert Ludlum that was adapted into a movie starring Richard Chamberlain in 1988. The Bourne Identity was filmed again in 2002 with Matt Damon in the lead, and was followed by sequels. The Bourne Supremacy (2004), and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), were also adaptations of Robert Ludlum novels, so it clear that sequels play a part in the complex web of pop-culture recycling.


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