There was once upon time in a kingdom far, far, far away that studios would at least wait until a movie was released and proven it could make bucket loads of money before having eyes on a sequel. Then they'd rush through making a picture that was nothing much more than an act of Deja vu. You can at least say in modern times that sequels have a much better chance of being good, because studios lay out plans for subsequent pictures right away and filmmakers have created worlds big enough to contain numerous "fresh" tellings.
Yes, Virginia, sequels has always been a thing that studios yearned to have, but usually they waited for a reason. Okay fine, money is the reason always, so it doesn't change now. Once the bets of a successful sequel were backed by a successful original. Yet the studio executives at Lionsgate are super duper hopeful that The Last Witch Hunter is going to conjure up cauldrons full of cash and be a huge hit this October. Vin Diesel, the man who is predicting Furious 7 will win Best Picture, has posted on his Facebook page that a sequel to his next feature is already being planned.
Not only does this remind me of Beautiful Creatures and The Mortal Instrument: City of Bones, movies that already had sequels eager to come and play before there was a proven audience (hint: there wasn't), but it also makes me think that a marketing person at Lionsgate is either really bad at making trailers or wanted to pull a giant practical joke on the public. Because the first trailer screamed a lot of things but it sure as hell wasn't the promise of the next big franchise.
In a year with Hitman: Agent 47, The Transporter Refueled, and Point Break coming out, the trailer hinted at one of the most derivative and blatantly recycled pictures that has haunted my dreams in a long time. I liked Blade quite a bit, was less excited about Underworld, and I, Frankenstein killed any interest in the "hunting mythical creatures in modern times" subgenre. Yet here is another one and I am supposed to be excited because we haven't seen witches sliced and diced in a skyscraper crammed setting. From the little clips, it seems dated by about a decade and really super serious about really corny and campy material.
I just assumed Lionsgate believed January was already full and so they wanted to quietly slip this movie in October amongst the other horror fare and then quickly forget about it. This screamed "movie that is using up valuable counter space, so burn it off now and maybe we won't suffer too many losses."
But nope, this is going to be the latest and greatest franchise, and everyone should buy their tickets now. We've got this October's Star Wars on our hands, and it might be even grander and more anticipated then this December's real Star Wars. I can't wait for all the awesome Witch Hunter actions figures that are destined to be the hottest Christmas item of the decade -- only to be beaten by the sequel's action figures that I assume are already being made.
Seriously, people did watch that trailer, right?