Big-budget sequels next up at the box office

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Big-budget sequels next up at the box office

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Three heavyweight movie franchises - “007,” “The Hunger Games” and “Star Wars” - are releasing sequels in the coming months, but it remains to be seen whether they can satisfy the loyal fans as well as attract newcomers. [YOUNGHWAIN]

In the world of franchise films, it is all or nothing.

If the film - whether in the form of a sequel, a prequel or a reboot - manages to maintain the balance between being both fresh and nostalgic, it shoots to success. If it fails to offer something new or offers something too new, it fizzles at the box office, in addition to earning the resentment from loyal fans.

This year’s summer box office results proved this, with “Avengers: Age of Ultron” becoming Marvel’s third highest-grossing film, while Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Terminator Genysis” turned out to be just “old” and “obsolete.”

Against the odds, three heavyweight franchises are returning with all new sequels at the end of 2015, with the ambition to join the ranks of the former category.

The first in theaters is the action extravaganza from the “007” franchise, which returned with its 24th installment, “Spectre,” made by Sam Mendes, who was also behind the previous one, “Skyfall.”

It opened in Korea on Thursday with more than 50 percent of tickets booked in advance.

Daniel Craig plays James Bond for a fourth time, with Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux as the new Bond girls.

This time Bond goes up against the ultimate evil force called Spectre all by himself, with MI6 on the verge of being dissolved.

Along the way, Bond finds out that the villainous organization has something to do with his childhood, which will surely attract Bond fans because his past has never been clearly laid out before.

As expected, the film is packed with exotic locations and supercars. The opening helicopter action scenes above Zocalo Square in Mexico City and thrilling car chases in the mountains of Austria are not to be missed.

Another upcoming sequel is the last installment of the young-adult fantasy series “The Hunger Games.”

Based on Suzanne Collins’ eponymous trilogy, the fourth film titled “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay ? Part 2” finally bids farewell to the deadly games, bringing peace at last for the beloved heroine, Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence.

Picking up from where “Part 1” left off, where Katniss found District 13 and Peeta was rescued, “Part 2” offers a final showdown with Katniss forming a troop to take down President Snow (Donald Sutherland) once and for all.

The film will open nationwide on Wednesday.

Lastly, the years-long space saga “Star Wars” franchise will return in December after a decade-long hiatus.

Titled “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” this is the seventh installment since the series began in 1977.

Unlike the latest three installments, which were prequels to the original trilogy and completely failed to resonate with “Star Wars” fans, “The Force Awakens” will leave the past behind and move forward, picking up where “Return Of The Jedi” (1983) left off.

The film is set to contain a good mix of old and new.

Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher will return as the iconic smuggler Han Solo and his love interest Princess Leia. On the other hand, up-and-coming actors like Daisy Ridley and John Boyega will make their series debut.

Director J.J. Abrams is also a newcomer to the franchise. But considering his career, which includes directing the “Star Trek” series and producing some of the “Mission Impossible” series, it seems like Abrams is no stranger to mega-budget projects.

“The Force Awakens,” is the first installment of a trilogy planned by Disney, which acquired the franchise from Lucasfilm in 2012.

The film opens nationwide on Dec. 17.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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