The Pink Panther is among the most enduring franchises in popular culture with the first hit film launched back in 1963. Since then, numerous sequels and reincarnations of the concept have hit the silver screen, while we have even seen cartoons commissioned and even the development of an exceptionally fun and interactive Pink Panther slot game online.
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The growth of this franchise cannot disguise the fact that directors have yet to create a film that surpasses the brilliance of the 1963 original. Many have tried, but even the immediate sequels created by original director Blake Edwards have failed to hit the mark. The more recent attempts have failed even more dismally, despite recording positive Box Office results across the globe.
What Makes the 1963 Film so Unique?
When the initial film was commissioned back in 1963, it was intended as a vehicle for suave British headline-act David Niven.
While Peter Sellers' bumbling Inspector Clouseau was always supposed to introduce elements of humour and fun to the proceedings, the fact that stole the show with his comedic brilliance forced the director to imagine his vision for the film and the franchise.
It is this element of surprise that arguably makes the original iteration so special, as Clouseau's increasingly influential cameo makes the films' humour feel organic and spontaneous.
Of course, the same cannot be said for the sequels or the 2006 reprisal. The success of the first film, which still holds a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, encouraged director Blake Edwards and his successors to reinvent the narrative and make Sellers the star of the show. This inadvertently created movies which were vehicles for slap-stick comedy, and their contrived nature meant that not even Sellers could elevate them to the standard of the original.
This issue was blindingly obvious during the 2006 remake and its subsequent, 2009 sequel. Starring the talented Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau, the film's comedic lead became a parody of himself while the narrative was quickly bogged down in obvious and poorly executed slap-stick.
The remake has only garnered a rate of 22% on Rotten Tomatoes, while only the global appeal of the franchise and a strong marketing effort were able to save the film from commercial failure.
Ultimately, these sequels and remakes have only served to highlight the unique value that Sellers added to the franchise, particularly in a more understated and supporting role.
The beat goes on: Why Poor Panther Films will not harm the Franchise
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We have already touched on the influence and global appeal of the franchise, with everything from plays to slot games making their mark. The legacy that has been created by the first film also lives on indefinitely, meaning that only will poor sequels not harm the franchise but they will also continue to perform well at the Box Office.