Audiences Are Split Between Preferring Sequels and Original Stories

U.S. consumers would slightly prefer to watch sequels and prequels of their favorite titles than a new offering

A Michael Myers costume is seen at the premiere of "Halloween Kills" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Oct. 12 in Hollywood, Calif. According to new Morning Consult data, 37 percent of U.S. adults said they're excited to see the latest installment of the horror film franchise, which hits theaters on Friday. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Everything old is new again in Hollywood as the entertainment industry relies on established intellectual property to sustain its output of films and series. HBO Max, for instance, recently debuted a prequel movie to “The Sopranos,” while Universal Pictures will release the 12th chapter of the “Halloween” horror franchise in theaters on Friday. 

New polling from Morning Consult finds that audiences want that franchise content to keep coming — but roughly the same share wants new, original stories. The data suggests there is, and will continue to be, demand for both types.

Between Spinoffs or New Content, Audiences Are Split

Respondents were asked to choose between watching prequels and sequels to one of their favorite series or brand new content

Poll conducted Oct. 8-12, 2021, among 2,200 U.S. adults, with a margin of error of +/- 2%. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

More on the numbers:

  • Given a choice, 53 percent of Americans said they want prequels and sequels to their favorite franchises, while 47 percent said they would rather watch a brand new TV series or film. Recently, the cultural output of major Hollywood studios has leaned more toward prequels and sequels, in lieu of original storytelling.
  • 45 percent of consumers who indicated they are excited to see upcoming prequels and sequels said it’s because there’s more to the story that they want to know. Thirty-six percent cited nostalgia as a reason, while roughly one-third said they miss watching the characters.
Marvel, ‘Star Wars’ Stories Are Most In-Demand Prequels, Sequels

Respondents were asked if they were interested in prequels and sequels to the following franchises:

Poll conducted Oct. 8-12, 2021, among 2,200 U.S. adults, with a margin of error of +/- 2%. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
  • Roughly half of Americans are interested in more installments from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and “Star Wars.” Audiences also expressed relatively high levels of interest in more content from the “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” series. 
  • 57 percent of adults said they had no interest in more “Sopranos” stories. Simultaneously released on HBO Max and in theaters, “The Many Saints of Newark” brought in just $5 million at the box office in its opening weekend earlier this month, missing analyst projections. However, a WarnerMedia executive said the film outperformed comparable titles on the streamer and boosted viewership of the original series. 
  • 37 percent of adults are excited about “Halloween Kills.” The 12th installment of the slasher franchise opens simultaneously in theaters and on NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock on Friday. “Halloween,” released in 2018, grossed more than $159 million.

The survey was conducted Oct. 8-12, 2021, among 2,200 U.S. adults, with a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

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