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Sequels and franchises are the name of the game in Hollywood today. However, one studio says they're just not interested in revisiting the same material over again, and we think we believe them. If you're looking forward to seeing a sequel to ParaNorman or Kubo and the Two Strings one day, you can likely forget it, because Laika looks to be dead set against ever making sequels to their films. Laika President, and Kubo director, Travis Knight does not mince words.
I take a firm stand against sequels. My industry brethren are a little shocked at how firmly I'm committed to not doing sequels. Of course there are great sequels. Godfather II, The Empire Strikes Back. But I think if you look at where our industry is going, it's dominated by franchises and brands, re-dos, re-makes, sequels and prequels, where all these old presents are re-wrapped and offered up as new gifts. The pendulum has gone so far in that one direction. We used to go to movies to see stories about ourselves. It would transport us to new worlds and we'd see aspects of ourselves reflected back. As TV has become more like movies, movies have become more like TV. It's gone the other way. There are these serials, these continuing stories that are a regurgitation of the same things we've seen over and over again. And I have no interest in doing that.
Travis Knight doesn't leave himself a great deal of wiggle room here. While Knight acknowledges that good sequels can be made, he seems to discount the vast majority of them as simply rehashing the material that they went over before. It's possible that he's on to something, in his interview with Cartoon Brew, that the rest of the movie going audience is beginning to figure out. Many of this summer's sequels and reboots, like Independence Day: Resurgence and Ghostbusters failed to find themselves an audience. It's possible that moviegoers are getting a little tired of the redone material as well. Although, Kubo itself seems to have a bit of trouble finding it's audience as well, despite stellar reviews.
If there's one thing that we can say about Laika, it's that they've never gone back and told the same story twice. While the studio's list of features is still fairly small, each one has been a unique story. Only their first film Coraline was even based on previously existing material, Neil Gaiman's children's book of the same name. Since then, ParaNorman, The BoxTrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings have been about as far from each other as three films can be.
Even in the sequel-driven landscape, you occasionally need new material, otherwise, you have nothing new to make sequels about. While it may be slightly disappointing to know that we'll likely never get a sequel to our favorite Laika movie, getting a new, and original, Laika film will likely be just as good, if not better.
What do you think? Should Laika take such a hardline stance on sequels, or should the open themselves up to the possibility if they ever have the right idea?