Some sequels are better off left unmade.
Yes, I'm talking to you, Grown Ups 2. Don't think you're getting a free pass, Speed 2: Cruise Control. If the original entry was critically panned -- cough, cough, Grown Ups -- there's no reason to keep going. If a movie works under the outrageous premise that a bus will blow up if it slows down, there's no need to whisk Sandra Bullock onto a cruise ship for a sequel to Speed.
This brings us to Insidious Chapter 2. The followup to 2011's Insidious hits a multiplex near you next weekend, and it certainly wasn't the kind of box-office smash that would send studios scrambling for a sequel. The supernatural horror flick about a family coping with a demon-possessed son took in just a little more than $54 million in its domestic theatrical run.
However, the movie has been well reviewed. Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX ) users have bestowed it a rating of 3.7 stars out of five, and that's a pretty good rating on the leading video service. The movie was available for streaming on Netflix until this past May, when a licensing deal ran out, and its success there probably played a major part in the decision to for FilmDistrict to go ahead with a sequel.
Nearly 1.8 million Netflix subscribers have rated the movie. That's huge for a movie that was seen by fewer than 7 million moviegoers when it was playing on the big screen (dividing $54 million in box office receipts by the average ticket price in 2011 of $7.93). We've seen Netflix build an audience for TV shows including Mad Men and, more recently, Breaking Bad. But now we have a good example of Netflix streaming as an asset to a theatrical franchise if the sequel manages to beat out the original.
It also helps that supernatural movies have been storming back to life this year. Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX ) The Conjuring has raked in more than $134 million in ticket sales this summer. That's not too shabby for a movie with a $20 million production budget. Mama's $71 million take earlier this year wasn't as impressive, but it still fared better than Insidious.
Let's hope that the producers of Insidious Chapter 2 keep this all in mind as the next few weeks play out. Thanking Netflix -- and The Conjuring -- won't happen. The Netflix licensing deal went away four months ago. Time Warner's creepy movie is the competition. However, it would be the right thing to do.
"It will take what you love most," is the film's tag line, but it's those two factors that helped bring it back.
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