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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

This weekend sees the release of Men in Black International, the fourth film in the long-running franchise that began in the quaint decade of the 1990s. It’s certainly the perfect movie that encapsulates what a blockbuster from that era was, but it’s continued along in the decades since, with the latest one finally hitting theaters this coming weekend. But, as with all franchises, one question that can be asked is “why?”

It’s been more than a handful of years since the third film hit, so why did they feel the need to go back to the well once more? Our own Gig Patta asked this very question of long-time Men in Black producer Walter Parkes in a recent phone interview, and here’s what he had to say.

“One way also to approach your question is I think there’s sort of three stakeholders when it comes down to a big movie like this. There is the audience, there are the filmmakers, and then there’s the financiers. Financiers have to be convinced that, as you say in your question, that there is specific interest in this franchise, because we’re in a very franchise driven time in our industry

“It’s unlike anything ever before. It seems that if there’s a franchise, a world that the audience is interested in, that certainly from Marvel on down, audience are interested in the expansion of that and following different stories inside of it. That’s from that point of view.

“The audience, nobody knows, and you hope for the best, but honestly, from a filmmaker’s point of view, because Laurie and I sort of had had the job of kind of developing the stories and scripts for all these things, it’s gotta be something that interests you and for whatever reason we’re diehard fans of Men in Black. We couldn’t do these projects if we weren’t. We find the world kind of endlessly interesting and the basic concept of a secret police force that’s watching out for us and aware of this more extraordinary reality, which is behind the curtain, it’s something that we find interesting and have so far been able to get back into now for a fourth time.”

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It’s a very open and honest response from the producer that you don’t always get in Hollywood. There’s an acknowledgment of the desire to capitalize on this age of franchises, but there’s also a desire on their part as producers to explore this familiar world and find something new about it.

Men in Black International is out in theaters now!

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SOURCE: LRM Exclusive

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.