Summer Sequels: The Threequel
When one (or two) films just aren’t enough
As the old School House Rock song goes, three is a magic number. That’s certainly true for the cinema.
In the past, studios waited to see the box office numbers before green-lighting any sequels, then negotiations would start to bring the actors back for a rematch. That could cost studios a lot of money, though, in higher salaries as a result of the re-negotiation process, not to mention that the delay to screens allowed the audience’s interest to wane. Enter the back-to-back filming.
Filming back-to-back not only allows studios to negotiate salaries before they can get inflated with a successful release, but it locks down cast and crew schedules to crank out the next film and keep sets in place, reducing rebuilding or storage costs.
Mostly though, it unleashes a powerhouse one-two-three punch that keeps audiences in the same story over a couple of years. This means that early films can end on a cliffhanger and allows filmmakers to tell bigger, more time-consuming stories. (Or, of course, stretch out a story to make more money!)
Our favorite threequel? It’s tough to narrow it down to just one (maybe a list of three would be better?), but it would probably be the Back to the Future trilogy. The characters are warm and endearing, the plot is clever and the film manages to pack enough comedy and adventure to keep us returning again and again.