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Brad Bird Says Hollywood’s Sequel Obsession Is ‘Shortsighted and Stupid,’ Calls ‘Dunkirk’ the Boldest Blockbuster in Years

Bird directed one of the year's biggest sequels with "Incredibles 2," but he's still looking for more original studio efforts like Christopher Nolan's WWII survival drama.



Warner Bros.

Brad Bird has taken to social media over the last several days to sound off on the prioritization of sequels from Hollywood’s major studios. The director happens to be responsible for one of the biggest sequels of the year, “Incredibles 2” (nearly $600 million in the U.S. and over $1.1 billion worldwide), but he isn’t happy with the fact movie sequels are becoming the only type of film major studios are willing to put big money behind.

“Some of the best films made are sequels,” Bird admitted, “and yes, they are hard to do well. But they are getting to be the only movies of size and ambition that Hollywood will make now. And that’s not only sad, it’s shortsighted.”

Bird singled out Christopher Nolan for reaching a rare level where a major studio like Warner Bros. gives him big budgets to make original properties. The director noted that while Nolan had success with “Batman Begins” and its two sequels, most notably “The Dark Knight,” he stayed committed to original ideas by releasing films like “The Prestige,” “Inception,” and “Interstellar” in between his sequel offerings. Bird also gave specific praise to “Dunkirk.”

“Probably Chis Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk,'” Bird responded when asked what the most original and boldest blockbuster has been in recent years. “[It was] an original script that was not only big, but had an ambitious structure (1 hr, 1 day, 1 week intercut). Like his other originals, ‘Dunkirk’ was a box office success, keeping hope alive for more big original films.”

Bird acknowledged part of the problem is that audiences don’t show up to original films, even when the reviews are great (see “Blade Runner 2049”). Bird himself directed an original studio property with Disney’s “Tomorrowland” in 2015, but the movie bombed at the box office with less than $100 million in the U.S. and only $203 million worldwide. You can read all of Bird’s recent comments on sequels and original studio films in the tweets below.

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