My latest lalogo.gif column, Orgy Of Sequels Climaxing In 2007, takes a snarky look at next year’s knock-offs. Will the public get off? Or is it just studio masturbation? (Yes, I saw today’s Los Angeles Times‘ marathon piece about 2006’s sequel fever. Great minds may think alike, but at least I think ahead.)

Here are excerpts from mine:

black_spiderman.jpgIt’s official: Hollywood has run out of original ideas. If you thought 2006 was bad, just wait. In 2007, the studios will give up on birthing blockbusters and concentrate instead on cloning them to knock off lame sequel after lamer sequel after lamest sequel. Familiar titles (see Spidey 3 trailer here) will be followed by so many numbers that filmgoers looking for a Friday-night flick will need a calculator just to figure out which of the threequels (Shrek 3 trailer here) and fourquels they want to see — if any at all. Oh, and if the year of living sequentially doesn’t destroy the movie biz, then the expected labor strike (also a sequel) will. Yes, in 2007, the very idea of original screenplays will become increasingly quaint, like real butter poured on popcorn. (Good timing, because the writers will be camped out on picket lines anyway.) There will be a few nonsequel movies, but those are mostly remakes, biopics or book adaptations. (At least we can all be thankful that, unlike previous years, there’ll be almost no TV spinoffs. The complete tanking of Sony’s Bewitched in 2005 saw to that.) But don’t blame the studio moguls; blame their bosses, those hedge-fund-loopy tools who find it easier to schmooze Wall Street about another low-concept, comic-book film like Fantastic Four than to debate going into production on a potentially challenging film like Charlie Wilson’s War, the Tom Hanks–Julia Roberts biopic about a boozin’, hot-tubbin’ U.S. congressman that is scheduled to debut in December 2007… And did I mention that sequels are virtually critic-proof? Reviewers who flipped the bird to Pirates 2 didn’t affect box office at all. The sequel was beyond huge, and Pirates 3 will be too, even if Johnny spends the entire two hours channeling Lance Bass instead of Keith Richards (who’s playing Depp’s daddy in the threequel). It’s not only the studios who are to blame, but also the actors and directors who used to bail on franchises as soon as contractually possible, but are now addicted to sequel cash… Continued