There once was a time when “3” was the magic number for movie series. If a film was successful, it likely would get a sequel. If it was very fortunate, it could get a third entry, rounding out the series into a trilogy.
Many classic film stories were made into trilogies and concluded, with nary a thought of continuing into the unknown territory of “4.” Any series that did get a fourth entry, like Rocky, Lethal Weapon, or Police Academy, managed it by learning a formula and simply replicating the recipe with slightly different ingredients each time. There often was an air of desperation about the idea of a film series continuing past a trilogy and a derision of sorts from many audience members.
Such times, as long ago as the mid-‘90s, now seem antiquated. So far, 2012 has already brought us fourth entries in the Underworld and American Pie franchises. As this summer season brings audiences to the multiplex in droves, we’re also getting fourth Spider-Man, Ice Age, Step Up, and Bourne movies. Then, to close out the year, studios are giving us Paranormal Activity 4 and what many consider to be a fourth movie in the Peter Jackson-J.R.R. Tolkien partnership, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Continue reading