Early Renewals and Sequel News: Just Hype Marketing Or What?

The other day I was pondering an interesting pattern that I've been seeing these last few years, and that's the announcements of "planned" sequels and TV series renewals, before the first season or movie is even out of the gate.

Me, I think these announcements are just shrewd mind games, from the marketing departments of the studios.


It used to be that a show would run it's course through a season and then a renewal announcement would be had.  And in the day of old, a movie would play in theaters, run its course, then some time later, movie fans would hear about the production of a sequel.

But these days, I can't help but wonder if sequel and renewal announcements are just more press propaganda to get people interested.

And what I mean by that is that I wonder if renewals and sequels aren't designed to make people think, "Ooh, if it's getting renewed, it must be pretty good."


"Well, if a sequel is being planned, then this first one must be pretty good."

But seriously?  Does hearing about TV series renewals or movie sequels actually make you ponder the quality of the next project under a franchise title?

What prompted these curiosities are the following examples:

When Green Lantern, starring Ryan Reynolds was in production and nearing post production time, the word on the street was that the studio was already lining up writers for the sequel.

When the latest Conan the Barbarian movie remake, starring Jason Momoa, was nearing production completion, word on the street was that a sequel is out in the pipes and Momoa himself would be writing it.

And we saw how both those movies, highly anticipated by core fans, fell rather flat and cratered at the box office.

Today I saw headlines that are saying that a sequel to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is possible.  This movie is due out in June of 2012.  It's only February.

And so many times we hear how sequels are being developed for various movies.  But again, the word developed could be an over-used term, like the term "exclusive!"  If I am thinking about writing a short story, I think that means I'm "developing" it.

A few months ago HBO had a preview airing of Luck, the drama based on the horse racing industry.  It didn't draw huge numbers if I remember correctly.  Yet from that airing a month or so ago, they've ordered season 1 and have already ordered season 2 of the show.

I'm not sure how they can metric out the reasoning.  Meaning, what numbers have they seen to warrant a second season before the first season airs?


What Can Be Given, Can Be Taketh Away!

But to be honest, I would recommend not giving too much credence to renewal and sequel announcements.  If by anything else, think about how a show, despite a season ordered and ready to go, gets pulled from the air.  Or how sequels to movies not received well, well, disappear from the marketing news machine.

Anyone at anytime can say they've ordered more of something.  When I hear about these new developments, I just shake my head and realize that it's just a pitch.

Don't be swayed until you see or hear about real results, like the box office numbers or TV ratings.  THEN, you can say wow, that must be cool if so many people watched that.  But don't fall for the marketing and hype that may not really be there!  Stay calm and be patient.

At least that's my observational opinion from Cinema Static!