Sequels suck. But just for us.

Squeezing successful products for every penny of profit may sound like a greedy, grubbin’ producer sort-of-thing to do, but the exploitation of products that have penetrated the market successfully is what allow producers to reinvest in more new product.

When most industries squeeze their products for more profit out pop sequels.

How many Rocky films were there?  How many Lestat books?

How many iPhones do you think there will be?  Yep, even technology has sequels.

But plays and musicals don’t . . . or not successful ones, anyway.

Bring Back Birdie, Annie Warbucks, Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, etc.  Bomb, Bomb, Ba-bomb (although that last one had some great Carol Hall tunes . . . and a real horse on stage).

There has never been a successful musical or play sequel in the modern theater (the thought of a play or musical sequel just sounds brie-zy, doesn’t it?).

In a year and a half, we’re going to see the biggest challenge to the “sequels-suck” theory, when the longest running musical in history puts up its version of “what happened next”.

The question is, will it, like Rocky II, sit next to its predecessor on the shelf?  Will both shows be up at the same time?

Not if I was producing both (and I bet they won’t have the same producers).  I’d slide out the old for the new.  The one thing that Phantom has to fight history is that it could seamlessly present its sequel, instead of waiting 20 years.

But I wouldn’t be producing it.  Given the opportunity to do a sequel (with all the economic baggage that will come with it) or something new, I’d go for the original.

Now, if I had an opportunity to produce Rocky 7, that’s another story.

– – – – –

The Producer’s Perspective survey is still up for those of you who didn’t take it yet!

Give me your feedback here.

  • Chris says:

    Wow… that’s really interesting. I’m familiar with all these shows and realize they’re all bombs, but I’ve never pieced together the fact that they are all sequels. Perhaps it is because with film, you can cheaply afford to see the original, and get the backstory whereas with a musical, you had to have seen the original show first which severely limits your audience. Maybe in that sense Phantom will succeed – so many people are familiar with the story thanks to the movie and long tours and Broadway run that familiarity won’t be an issue.

  • Erin KT says:

    I read “The Phantom of Manhattan” long before it was announced as the source material for said musical sequel. It is awful. That can’t be a good sign.

  • Adam says:

    I’m an unknown writer working on a trilogy as that just feels right for the subject matter – each part standing on it’s own and integral to the whole. I think that’s the only way to break the curse suggested by the bombs listed above.

  • Cesar says:

    I really love a seires as long as I really love the characters and the author’s writing style. And they have to be consistent because I can’t stand when an author starts out great and then has books that just fall by the wayside in plot, and intrigue. But I will read just about anything as long as it captures my fancy! And I in general don’t care if its a book from a seires or not just as long as it has a good plot, intrigue, interesting characters and that little something extra that keeps me going and keeps me glued to the book!!

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Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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