It is no secret that The LEGO Movie has been a giant success for The Warner Brothers Studio by earning over $200 million in the United States alone. And, due to that financial success, Warner Bros made the announcement that a sequel will be created with the release date in the year 2017. These announcements are what is killing the sequel.

The first question that always comes to mind when a studio makes an announcement for a film, generally a sequel/spin-off, is “What is to be gained by this?” And, by this I mean simply announcing that a movie is going to be released in three years. A script hasn’t been written, characters haven’t been cast, a director hasn’t been tapped, but we know that a movie will, if nothing delays production, be released on a date scheduled in a couple of years.

Certainly a studio isn’t trying to build hype about the original movie that is still in theaters, right? The fact that movie box office results are touted through radio stations, industry websites and movie TV spots are enough to alert people that they might be missing out on a special film. Does announcing a sequel make people rush out to see a film they were uninterested about before? I can’t imagine that being true.

Maybe a film studio is trying to play the long game and is attempting to build buzz about their future project now. If a studio executive truly believes that, then they should be fired immediately for how out of touch they are with the entertainment industry and Internet population.

Announcing a film for three years or more down the road (looking at you Marvel) creates a stir online for a couple of days to two weeks, if you are incredibly lucky. A new meme begins, a celebrity will dance “scandalously” on stage or a person will fall on a skateboard and the attention has completely left your unnamed sequel and won’t return until you actually have something to show, but only for a couple of hours.

If anything is true about announcing a film that far out, studios are only inviting criticism and speculation, generally in the negative form, to be slung through the entire production. Look at Warner Bros. with the yet officially titled Man of Steel sequel. Announcing the film that far in advance allows negative speculation to build, especially when, due to unforeseen complications, the release date has to be pushed back. Is the script needing to be rewritten? Are Ben Affleck and Zach Synder having complications on set? We have no idea, but since a date was set and then changed we tend to look towards questions like those in trying to explain what we don’t know.

If a studio really wanted to make a splash on the Internet they would hold their cards tight to the chest and simply drop a trailer on the public a year out from their planned release date.

Imagine this for a second: Marvel is preparing to go into production on a Black Widow film. In leu of of releasing a press statement saying that Marvel Studios will begin production on the film with so and so directing, they simply didn’t say anything. Instead, Marvel starts shooting the film. The shoot enough footage to put together a trailer. And what do they do with this trailer for an unanncouned Black Widow film? Place it after the credits for Avengers: Age of Ultron. And when does it release? In one year. Imagine the screams and cheers and excited chatter as midnight audiences start posting to Twitter about how they can’t wait till next May.

Maybe it’s just me, but the later seems more exciting for the fans than a press release carefully worded by five different individuals that work in public relations.


About Author

Zach is a recent college graduate who’s love for consuming media is surpassed only by his love for creating it. He has a firm belief that if we could all just play with LEGOs for 30 minutes a day the world would be a better place. If those two statements don’t tell you everything you need to know about Zach, follow him on Twitter at @zwoolf.


  1. Brent Williamson on

    Well said, sir. I wish they could keep things under wraps enough to get far enough into production to make a trailer without anybody noticing. I do remember when I first saw the Batman Begins trailer; I nearly LOST MY SH** in the theater. Christian Bale, climbing a mountain, blah blah blah ninjas, then BAM! He opens the closet to show the cowl and some batarangs. I was completely blindsided, and it was amazing. I haven’t been caught off guard like that since.

  2. In 1977 I went to see some unknown sci-fi movie which was showing at only one theater in the state. We arrived in time for the 6:00 pm showing but the line was so long that we only got into a special after-mid-night showing the theater put on. It was some little independent film called “Star Wars”. The reason I mention this was that there was a huge banner in the lobby that listed no fewer than eleven sequels that the film maker, some unknown fellow named George Lucas, planned to make, along with projected release dates. As you well know, he only made two of the eleven sequels. This was the worst example I’ve ever seen of killing the sequels. Another case that makes me sad was The Golden Compass movie. Two sequels were planned, and twenty minutes from the ending of the movie were removed to be used as the beginning of the sequel but… the movie didn’t generate the hundreds of millions of dollars that the studio hoped it would bring (only earning a few dozen millions, poor babies) and so the sequel was never made. Now we are being told there will be a new Star Wars trilogy. Of course, the original creator has retired, the original actors are too old to reprise their roles, and the storyline had already been brought to the ultimate conclusion. This doesn’t bode well for the possibilities of getting good movies. I think Peter Jackson is the only filmmaker handling sequels correctly by filming the whole series at one time and releasing them in series. I agree with the comments above – I’d rather be pleasantly surprised by an unexpected trailer than bored by a premature announcement…

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