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Is Hollywood’s summer of sequels doomed to fail?

This summer cinemas will be fit to bursting with sequels, prequels, reboots and remakes from Alien: Romulus to Beetlejuice Beetlejuice

With audiences craving original content at the cinema, how will Hollywood fare with its summer 2024 season of sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots? (Warner Bros.)
With audiences craving original content at the cinema, how will Hollywood fare with its summer 2024 season of sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots? (Warner Bros.)

Hollywood is gearing up for summer blockbuster season, and the big studios will be hoping for a repeat of 2023's Barbenheimer success.

The 2024 summer season is looking quite different to last year though, with sequels, reboots and remakes dominated the schedules in favour of original IP. The question remains will it be possible for there to be box office success with such a line-up?

According to a new survey, Milliennials and Gen-Z are looking for original content when it comes to their entertainment. The next superhero movie or reboot just doesn't cut it for them anymore it seems, and the success of Barbie and Oppenheimer certainly proved this to be the case with the former crossing £1bn at the box office and the latter almost reaching it.

The survey, which was conducted by the free streaming platform Tubi, concluded that 74% of Milliennials and Gen-Z viewers would rather watch original content than a remake or sequel. In a statement about the data, per IndieWire, Tubi said: "Viewers are increasingly seeking fresh and innovative ideas that push the boundaries of what’s possible instead of rehashed versions of existing stories."

Viewers don't want to watch the same old stuff. This means that Hollywood might have a bit of an uphill battle when it comes to the 2024 summer season, which focuses predominantly on existing IP.

Barbie was the runaway hit of 2023, showing the appetite for original content at the cinema. (Warner Bros.)
Barbie was the runaway hit of 2023, showing the appetite for original content at the cinema. (Warner Bros.)

Just some of the titles set to hit cinemas include Twisters, Alien: Romulus, Beetlejuice Beetlejuice, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, and Furiosa.

That's not to mention The Crow remake starring Bill Skarsgård, sequels Bad Boys 4, Inside Out 2, Despicable Me 4, and prequel A Quiet Place: Day One.

The next chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Deadpool & Wolverine, is also expected to be one of the big releases of the summer. Then there's Sony's Spider-Man spin-off Kraven the Hunter, and Borderlands, an adaptation of the video game of the same name.

Austin Butler as Benny in The Bikeriders. (20th Century Studios)
Austin Butler as Benny in The Bikeriders, one of the few original films to land in cinemas this summer. (20th Century Studios)

On the other side of things there is The Bikeriders, one of the few instances of original IP to be released this summer. The film follows the rise of a fictional outlaw motorcycle gang over the course of a decade with Austin Butler leading the film as Benny, he stars opposite an ensemble cast that includes Jodie Comer, Tom Hardy, and Michael Shannon.

Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt's new film The Fall Guy could also be seen as original content because, though it is based on the 1980s series of the same name, most audience members won't necessarily recognise that — a bit like how Mission: Impossible eclipsed the original TV show.

The film has already got fantastic early buzz, with Steven Spielberg commending the film, so it is entirely possible that The Fall Guy could be the big winner of the 2024 box office.

L to R: Ryan Gosling is Colt Seavers and Emily Blunt is Judy Moreno in THE FALL GUY, directed by David Leitch (Universal)
Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt in The Fall Guy, which has a lot of buzz generated around it and may well be a big winner at the box office (Universal)

What do we know about what's coming out in the summer, then? Well from the looks of the trailers for Twisters and Alien: Romulus, for example, it is hard not to see the stark similarities they share with their predecessors.

Fede Álvarez's Alien sequel, for example, is the seventh in the franchise and follows a crew in space who are terrorised by xenomorphs. The trailer leans heavily into the iconography of Ridley Scott's 1979 original with Cailee Spaeny's Rain Carradine running around a spaceship, instantly invoking memories of Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and her fight to survive onboard the Nostromo. Without watching the film it's hard to know how Romulus will compare, but it's a comparison the studio wants to press home: if you liked that, here's more of the same.

Alien Romulus. (20th Century Studios)
Cailee Spaeny as Rain Carradine in Alien Romulus, which looks to have a similar plot to the original Alien. (20th Century Studios)

Similarly, the trailer for Twisters bears a marked resemblance to Jan de Bont's 1996 disaster film that followed a group of amateur storm chasers trying to conduct tornado research. The 2024 follow up has a similar premise, similar setting, but with a brand new, younger cast.

From the look of the film's trailer it seems like viewers should be expecting an updated take on what's come before, rather than a radical new concept.

Watch: The trailer for Twisters

That said, Deadpool & Wolverine will bring people to the cinema in droves. The superhero film is the first to have Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) in the MCU, and with the return of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine — and the previous two films' success at the box office — fans will flock to see it, but let's not forget this is a character who has been on our screens since 2000 X-Men's. Nostalgia is playing a big part here.

In a similar sense, Furiosa acts as a prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road, but its shift of focus onto a younger version of Charlize Theron's fan favourite character —with George Miller behind the camera and Anya Taylor-Joy front and centre— will likely be a boon rather than a bane.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth, is coming to cinemas in 2024. (Warner Bros.)
Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth, is coming to cinemas in 2024. (Warner Bros.)

A Quiet Place: Part One could also do well but this is fledgling franchise (six years, and two movies) in comparison to Mad Max (45 years old), or X-Men (24 years on screen, 61 years in the comics).

The 2024 box office does give us some sense of what viewers are looking for, with the big winner of the year so far being Dune: Part Two with over $512m worldwide takings since its release on 1 March. While a continuation of 2021's Dune, the film is still an example of relatively new cinematic IP doing well.

Kung Fu Panda 4 is the second highest-grossing movie of 2024, and is coming to the UK next week in time for the Easter break. Bob Marley: One Love, which is an example of original IP, is the third highest-grossing film of the year so far, while Jason Statham's action flick The Beekeeper is in fourth place.

The Beekeeper shows that viewers will support original content at the cinema. The top five is rounded out by Mean Girls, while on the surface it is a remake it is actually an adaptation of the Broadway musical rather than the 2004 film of the same name.

Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune: Part Two, which is currently at the top of the 2024 box office. (Warner Bros.)
Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune: Part Two, which is currently at the top of the 2024 box office. (Warner Bros.)

It is important to note that original IP hasn't always succeeded at the cinemas this year. The biggest flop of the year so far is Matthew Vaughn's Argylle. The spy thriller may have had an A-list cast including Henry Cavill and Bryce Dallas-Howard but it tanked at the box office, earning just over $94m worldwide against a $200m budget.

Similarly, Sony's latest Spider-Man universe film Madame Web also lost the box office battle, earning $97m worldwide. Though it had a $80m budget, the film's inability to resonate with viewers and critics alike, and its low box office number, has led to it also being deemed a flop.

So, what does this all mean for the summer blockbuster season? Well, it's hard to tell what will do well and won't, but given the sheer amount of reboots, remakes and sequels there's going to be ones that succeed at the box office. On the flip side, there's also likely to be a few losers this season.

While it might be true that audience members are keen to watch original stories on the silver screen, they'll no doubt be looking for some form of entertainment this summer — and the cinema is the perfect place to find it.

Read more: 2023 is the year Hollywood blockbusters had something to say


Watch the trailer for The Fall Guy: