Where sequels dare: do audiences get put off film series after the main star dies?

I watched The Crow: City of Angels last night.

I really, really like The Crow, it’s one of my favourite films and I probably manage to watch it once a year. I’ve always heard about how much people hated the sequels, but I’ve never been prepared to take their judgement at face value. Last week I ordered all three sequels on DVD (cheap) and I watched the first sequel, The Crow: City of Angels, last night.

Now I decided to look at the film from a scriptwriting perspective and at its cinematography, and the acting a little. On these three factors alone, I decided the film wasn’t anywhere near as appalling as some people had described it to me. The film is mediocre at its worst. In fact, I found the cinematography involved to really suit the themes of the film and it looked really good. I’d say the script was a little repetitive as it added nothing to The Crow myth from the first film. Certainly, if you hadn’t seen the first film or knew anything of it, then you probably would think it was pretty reasonable.

After watching the film, I remembered the highly strung emotions of those who said no one could ever play The Joker again in Batman films since the passing of Heath Ledger. Yet in the case of The Crow film series we’ve already got a main actor who was replaced after he died.

The tragic death of Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, is well known. I would also say that it is in part due to his death that the first Crow film became so iconic among certain subcultures. True, his performance was electric, but Vincent Pérez doesn’t do too bad a job in the sequel – only let down by his accent at certain points and the script in places.

What I am saying is that in the case where sequels are made after the main star of the original film dies, audiences do appear to become hostile towards the sequel/s. Obviously there is the sense of a studio cashing in that might add to this sense of being affronted, but I think audiences may also feel like they’re betraying the memory of the original star if they like the sequel too much.

But this is all conjecture.

Still… I haven’t watched the other two sequels to The Crow yet.

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