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Nostalgia for Nostalgia

The Charlie's Angels sequel has failed to meet "dismal expectations." Given the hyperactive wokeness that a professor has to endure while working on a University campus, I will admit to enjoying seeing a "social justice" driven sequel sputter.

But I suspect that the real lesson is somewhat different. One commentators take on Charlie's Angels

Meanwhile, “Charlie’s Angels” surpassed already dismal expectations. Opening estimates were under $15 million, and the bottom fell out: It’s in third place with under $9 million. Did we need this retread of a 1970s TV series and a franchise that produced two films nearly 20 years ago? Yes, it has the talented Elizabeth Banks, who produced the “Pitch Perfect” franchise (and directed the second, a huge hit). It saw the return of Kristen Stewart to a studio vehicle after regular acclaim in independent films. But neither could overcome the sense of malaise and rejection of something like this.
The $50 million budget wasn’t a killer, but this still will be a significant loss. Perhaps more concerning is so many similar films are in the pipeline, although it looks like a wise move for Paramount to shift the “Beverly Hills Cop” reboot with Eddie Murphy to Netflix.

I think the real problem is a lack of understanding of the underlying structure of fandom. In the case of the Angels, the film is targeting an audience that was introduced to the franchise via the Drew Barrymore films. These films (if memory serves) were sort of charged up tributes to the original TV series. And a little campy. Why would we expect consumers who were introduced to an echo of the original source material to be enduring fans? We shouldn't.

The article also highlights Hollywood's failure to grasp some simple aspects of brand equity management. In addition to the Angels, the latest Terminator film also under performed. I'll say it very plainly and directly - When doing sequels the studio should take the view that they are building on the main franchise. Doing bad sequels loses money on the latest film and destroys the brand equity.

It's a very simple lesson. I'm tempted to say something about Disney and Star Wars but I'll save those thoughts for later.



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