It's been quite a year so far for animated films. Zootopia made over a billion dollars and is one of the best-reviewed movies of 2016. Finding Dory recently became the biggest hit of the summer, while also being adored by critics, and The Secret Life of Pets has spawned a new franchise. Even the low-flying Sausage Party is being hailed as perhaps the greatest R-rated animated film ever. But the best animated feature of the year may still be to come. The new film Kubo and the Two Strings is causing a lot of hype and garnering great reviews, and already, it has fans hoping for a Kubo and the Two Strings sequel to be green-lit.
It's way too early to tell if a sequel will happen, but there hasn't been any indication that there will be. Kubo is the fourth film to be produced by animation studio Laika, and all three of their previous productions (Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls) were one-and-dones. The movie is also an original story, and as far as I can tell it was not written with a sequel in mind. However, just because the film doesn't appear to have big franchise plans doesn't necessarily mean that a sequel is out of the question.
Generally speaking, sequel conversations happen when movies turn a big profit. That was certainly the case with The Secret Life of Pets, which made a ton of money and then was approved for a sequel. Money is also a possible factor as to why Laika's previous films didn't earn sequels. Traditionally, Hollywood films are considered profitable if they earn twice their budget at the box office. Neither ParaNorman nor The Boxtrolls achieved this feat, and while Coraline just barely did, that film was based on a book that has no sequel; so it wasn't going to have a part two regardless of how well it performed.
Further complicating matters is the fact that Laika's president and CEO (and Kubo's director), Travis Knight, is apparently not a fan of sequels to begin with, and is more interested in telling original stories. In an interview with Rebecca Pahle of Film Journal International, Knight said, "There is an absolute reason why sequels exist, [and] there’s a bulletproof business decision why you would do things in that way ... We used to go to the movies to see stories about ourselves, but I don’t know that we necessarily do that anymore. As TV has become more like movies, movies have become more like TV. The kind of films we make [at Laika], it hearkens back to that classic era of cinema, where you really want to go to the movies and experience something new.”
It seems unlikely that Kubo and the Two Strings will get a sequel. But if the movie proves to be a huge box office hit and Knight changes his philosophy on film, then who knows? Maybe the world of Kubo will be revisited in a future film after all. But for now, fans will just have to take pleasure in the fact that even one of these films exists.
Images: Focus Features; Giphy