Tiger King 2 and the Weird Rise of Documentary Sequels

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when the trailer for imaginative title tiger king 2 Dropped in late October, Netflix promised viewers it had “only scratched the surface” of the earlier tiger-rearing, murder-conspiracy, mullet-sporting story that hit 64 million homes worldwide at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. was fascinated.

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It seems hard to believe this. The streaming giant had already cashed in on the popularity of the original seven-part documentary less than a month after its release with a Joel McHale-fronted aftershow, tiger king and me, but apparently that was not enough. On November 17th, the world will sit down for a meta-exploration to see how tiger king It changed the lives of its characters, some of whom continued to repeat baseless allegations that “that bitch Carole Baskin” murdered her husband.

Morals aside: When do documentaries get sequels? And, more importantly, do they add value if they’re increasingly geared towards simply promoting promotions? 2015 first season to murder It took 10 years to film after the success of the documentary (about 19 million people in the US). saw him In its first 35 days), Netflix commissioned the second-Making a Killer: Part 2—This was done by the end of 2018. The first season was widely praised by critics and fans; The second was labeled “gross,very long,” And a “disgrace,

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Others have fared better with audiences, but the myriad others—like sequels, reboots, and remakes—feel like attempts at past glory. Penguin March 2: The Next Step came out 12 years after the original; Super Size Me 2: Holi Chicken! In an attempt to capitalize on the success of its predecessor in 2004 came 2017. 2017 also seen An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power 2006 revisit an Inconvenient Truth, and in 2018, Michael Moore released Fahrenheit 11/9, in his 2004 George W. Donald Trump Version of Bush Documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, in 2020, New Corporation: Unfortunately Necessary Sequel Followed after 2003 Corporation,

We’re seemingly passing through an era of documentary sequels—but should we be thankful for the extra material, or worried that we’re being fed filler by eye-hungry execs? Thanks to a lawsuit brought forward by animal rights activist Baskin, we know that tiger king 2 Uses old footage filmed during the making of tiger king—If it was dropped back on the cutting room floor, what is it worth watching now? Then again, could a documentary sequel actually be a good thing, proof that we live in an age that values ​​nonfiction?

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“Fundamentally, there seems to be a lot more interest in financing for documentaries than when I entered the industry in 1996,” says Sundance Hit director Jesse Moss. Boys State, Which was released by Apple TV + last year. Most of this funding goes to documentaries. Following the popularity of HBO’s True Crime Doctor the jinx In 2015, an abundance of five-, six-, seven-, and ten-part documentaries hit streaming services. Over time, it seemed that what used to be a doctor a decade ago was becoming a documentary. The mantra was simple: “More is more.”

Moss says that streaming has brought his documentaries to a wider, international audience, and has given him the opportunity to explore topics in a documentary format. But, he noted, it “is not the right approach for every story” and “at times, there is pressure to expand a story that cannot support a multi-episode approach.”

What makes a documentary more profitable or engaging rather than a feature-length documentary? It’s hard to tell. “Netflix doesn’t state the methodology they use to determine what’s considered successful,” says Dan Rayburn, a streaming media analyst at market research firm Frost & Sullivan. “So we don’t know, really, how any of these streaming services decide what content to create or how long it should be.”

Still, we can speculate. Rayburn notes that there’s no additional cost to uploading additional content to the Internet compared to paying for additional slots in a TV schedule or movie theater. If you have five hours of material and normally want to edit it down to two, they say, “Why not put it up?” Similarly, making a sequel using old footage is economical, and there’s less risk involved when you already have an established fanbase. “Netflix doesn’t speculate on a lot of things, they have data behind it to show what’s considered a good investment and what isn’t,” Rayburn says.

But are good investments and good content the same thing? Guggenheim partner Matt Wolf, director of one thing for all, says that the documentary format works well for the true crime genre when “a story with enough twists and turns needs to be serialized.” But, he says, documentary filmmakers have always historically shot hundreds of hours of footage, and now “risk to misidentify an abundance of material for an abundance of story.”

Still, both Moss and Wolf think documentary sequels can be valuable and are an encouraging sign of a healthy industry. “As a filmmaker, I like the idea that the characters and stories are so compelling that when an audience has finished watching a movie or series they keep thinking about those characters,” says Wolf.

Moss says that whenever a documentary is being shot in the present tense, the question has always been “Where do I end this story?” In today’s environment, stories theoretically need to never end—we could just see tiger kings 3, 4, 5, and 6 plus a bonus Christmas special. “Personally,” Moss says, “I’ve always accepted that things are a little unresolved. And sometimes I need to move on emotionally, and it’s nice to finish a movie and do a new job. ” kingdom of boys It was created as a bar, but is now developing “not a sequel but a sibling”. girls state, about the equivalent of the Girls at Boys State Camp. “We think this is a necessary continuation of the conversation,” Moss says.

In the case of tiger king 2So far, that conversation seems to be: “Look at how impressive our last documentary was.” But Moss notes that this isn’t entirely unprecedented. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills There was a 1996 documentary about the West Memphis Three; It was followed in 2000 Paradise Lost 2: Revelations and in 2011 Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, The immediate sequel began with a compilation of news footage about the first film; NS Official trailer of third film painted a flattery Entertainment Weekly Quote: “We look at movies as fun diversions. But from time to time they have the power to change lives.”

“I’m not against reflexivity, if there’s a justification for it,” Moss says. “If you’re just swallowing your tail because this is an opportunity to make 10 episodes of documentary television, I don’t know if I’m capable of doing it.”

Documentary sequels aren’t inherently bad or good—it’s not about the format, what you do with it. “I think if there’s an additional story that hasn’t been told, and continues to develop, I think it makes sense to me,” Moss says, “if you can capitalize on it that way. That it’s not just brazen exploitation, so why wouldn’t you?”

Therefore, it appears to be two words underpinning the documentary sequel trend: “Why not?” After all, it’s not like everyone will be able to look away. Or, as one of the top comments on YouTube tiger king 2 The trailer reads: “tiger king Season 2: Something no one asked for, but everyone is going to see. ,

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