This will probably go down as one of the biggest box-office summers in history. This is great news for the film business, but problematic news for the makers of non-sequels. Interestingly, this weekend marks the opening of two sequels (Ocean’s Thirteen and Hostel Part II) that may actually deliver some quality experiences. But otherwise, all the money is being made by Spidey, Shrek, and Pirates installments. Pretty soon, more money will likely be made from sequels featuring The Fantastic Four, Die Hard, Harry Potter, Rush Hour, Bourne, and more. You know it’s a sequel-heavy summer, when a major animated Pixar release (Ratatouille) is perceived as downright risky. It’s almost enough to make you think originality is taking a siesta this season. Almost. What analysts are seeing, though, is a strong niche market for the rise of the sleeper hit.
For the Los Angeles Times, Josh Friedman takes a look at the growing integrity of the smaller-scale hit. He cites Waitress, Once, and Knocked Up as recent examples. And I would predict that Sunshine, Eagle Vs. Shark, Joshua, Superbad, and The King of Kong will join those ranks later this season. I hope.