Hollywood is notorious for it’s money making schemes, wringing franchises dry to get every last penny out of them. There have been 26 James Bond films, 7 Fast and Furious, 7 Star Wars and apparently an Obi-Wan spin-off in the pipeline. As the Harry Potter spin-off, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, has just been released it seems easy to ask are spin-offs really necessary? Are they just produced by a lazy Hollywood, unwilling to come up with fresh ideas, and instead just using the same tried and tested formulas they have many times before used before?
In cinema today, we seem to be plagued with more films from the same franchise. How many films under the umbrella of The Avengers have been on our screens over recent years? The film industry is jumping at the opportunity to keep to safe choices in cinema, by just churning out the same characters in familiar situations. Where is the originality? Film should be an opportunity to break boundaries, bring-up delicate subjects and lead the audience to question what they know. It is not to say that spin-offs and franchises cannot do this, but it is far tricky to break artistic boundaries when the entire premise of the film is on very safe ground. Whilst the big studios are backing more franchise films, new, riskier films are being passed by. I’m sure backing Quentin Tarantino for the first time was a risk, but this is a risk that paid off.
Fantastic Beasts will surely be a massive box office success, with millions swarming to the big screen to enter JK Rowling’s beloved wizarding world once more. So far, the film has broadly been praised by fans and critics alike, but this isn’t really important; if the film was regarded as truly terrible, it would still attract hoards of children and adults. I love Harry Potter as much as, and probably more, than the next person, and Fantastic Beasts does a great franchise justice. But sometimes it seems necessary to close a well-loved book and move on to something new.