GMAT : Analysis of An Argument
75. The following appeared as part of an article in an entertainment magazine.
A series of books based on the characters from a popular movie are consistently bestsellers in local bookstores. Seeking to capitalize on the book's success, Vista Studios is planning to produce a movie sequel based on the books. Due to the success of the books and the original movie, the sequel will undoubtedly be profitable.
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underline the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate in conclusion.
In this argument the author reasons that a sequel to a popular movie will be profitable because the original movie was profitable and because books based on the characters of the movie are consistently bestsellers.
This argument is not convincing for several reasons.
In the first place, a great deal of empirical evidence shows that sequels are often not as profitable as the original movie. For example, none of the SUPERMAN movie sequels even approached the success of the original movie. Accordingly, the mere fact that the first movie was successful does not guarantee that movies based upon it will also be profitable.
In the second place, a movie's financial success is a function of many elements in addition to well-liked characters. Admittedly, the fact that the books based on the characters of the original film are bestsellers bodes well for the movie's commercial prospects. However, unless the original cast and production team are involved in making the sequel, there is a good chance it will not be financially successful.
Finally, another important element in creating a successful movie is the script. The transformation of a popular book into a popular movie script is a difficult process. Examples of best-selling books that were not made into successful movies are commonplace. Obviously, the success of the sequel that VISTA is planning will depend in great part on the screenwriter's ability to capture the elements of the story that make the books popular. Since the difficulties inherent in this process make it hard to predict whether the result will be a success or a failure, the conclusion that the sequel will be profitable is questionable.
In conclusion, this is an unconvincing argument. To strengthen the argument, it will be necessary to provide assurances that the original cast and production team will be involved in the project and that the script will capture and develop the particular elements responsible for the books' popularity.