Back-to-Back Film Production – Doomed to Disappoint?

Movie production is expensive. What many don’t take into account is set construction. The manufactured backdrops don’t sit, waiting for the cast and crew to return for the sequel, despite how inevitable it seems. A cost cutting measure is to film the sequels back-to-back, rolling production from one entry directly into the next. Though a sound practice on paper, does it hinder the final product? Maybe.


Again, few films utilized this tactic, their various entries separated by years. The most well known examples are the Back to the Future, the Matrix, and Pirates of the Caribbean trilogies. Lord of the Rings followed a similar path, instead filming all three entries consecutively. In this case, I’m referring to movies that had a single successful entry before returning with sequels.


The question isn’t about the idea, but a correlation between movies filmed back to back and the quality of the final product. The Matrix and Pirates movies both saw phenomenal success with their first entries before mass producing sequels. These are good examples as the Matrix and Curse of the Black Pearl are both universally loved and acclaimed while Matrix: Reloaded, Matrix: Revolutions, Pirates: Dead Man’s Chest and Pirates: At World’s End are both chided and panned. Their first entries are loved, the second deemed average, while the finales are reviled.


Is this a product of filming back to back? Is there a counter example? I’d like to say Back to the Future is, as I love all three, though the general consensus has the third as the weakest. The true test will be Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This is set to film back to back with the Justice League movie. Or Avatar, as James Cameron is planning the next 2-5 installments simultaneously (it changes every week).


Correlation does not imply causation, this is true, but the evidence in this case does imply the opposite. Maybe I’m stretching. Maybe I had this idea and now that I’m writing it I’m seeing that it’s not panning out too well and I’m too stubborn to jump ship. The real answer will come when DCU finally comes to the screen. So… yeah.

What’s your favorite trilogy? Thinking I’m grasping at straws, or am I on to something? Comment below!




3 responses to “Back-to-Back Film Production – Doomed to Disappoint?

  1. I think the issue isn’t filming but scripting. I’m guessing not enough time is given to the script of the second movie being filmed, with perhaps the idea being to fill out the second script as the first is filming but that doesn’t always take place. If they had two finished scripts that were good it probably wouldn’t be an issue.

    • I know what you mean. It takes time to put a good anything together; movie, show, album, game, etc. Doubling up, trying to produce more in the same or slight more time period (taking 3 years instead of 2, or whatever), usually disappoints. It all starts with the script.

  2. Pingback: Around the Web – 10/26/14 | The Credible Hulk·

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