Are there too many Hollywood reboots and sequels? | The Tylt
Are there too many Hollywood reboots and sequels?
Award-winning writer and producer Stephen Follows has been collecting data and writing analysis on trends in the film industry. Here are his findings just how original Hollywood films are from calendar years 2005—2014:
39% of top movies released 2005-14 were truly original, i.e. not an adaptation, sequel, spin-off, remake, or other such derivative work
The biggest ten movies of each year are rarely truly original (15% of the time, 2005-14).
In both 2013 and 2014, none of top ten grossing movies were original.
The highest grossing, truly original movies of the past decade were (in order) Avatar, Up, Cars, Inception, The Hangover and Gravity.
The average budget for films based on existing material was $70.8 million, whereas ‘truly original’ films had an average budget of just $46.4 million.
The most common source for adaptation is a fictional novel or short story (19.7% of top movies).
Although some Hollywood reboots and sequels don't make back their budgets at the U.S. box office, many of these films do well overseas. Hollywood will continue to turn out unoriginal works as long as studios are making money.
But in 2014, Yahoo! Movies reported that there are simply too reboots and sequels.
Yahoo! wrote that out of 89 major releases in 2014, 22 were original, 22 were based on a book or novel, 13 were based on a non-book, six were inspired by or based on a true story, 21 movies belonged to a franchise and five were remakes. Less than 1 out of every 4 movies were considered original in 2014.
Indiewire says only 38 percent of Hollywood's films are original, but that figure isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's a complex number. Sequels and remakes can technically be original too.
The question remains, though, whether the line between "original" and not is the one we want to draw (or, for the matter, whether it matters, since it’s doubtful the trend is at all reversible). Technically, as Darren Franich pointed out at Entertainment Weekly, "San Andreas" is an original movie and "Mad Max: Fury Road" is not, but the latter has far more new ideas in it. You could even argue that being the fourth film in a series lets "Fury Road" be more original, since George Miller and co. don’t have to bother themselves with any pesky exposition — not even a few minutes of cartoon DNA-splanation.
This means the line between original film and sequel or remake is blurred. Hence, why not make an "original" sequel or reboot?
The Atlantic's Amanda Ann Klein and R. Barton Palmer wrote that Hollywood's unoriginal ideas aren't anything new. "The amount of recycled material in entertainment is frequently lamented, but it isn’t a new phenomenon."
There’s a generalized sense that commercial cinema is losing its ability to come up with new ideas and, in its drive for profits, is finally scraping the bottom of the story-property barrel.
The Artifice argues that even with young adult novel adaptations, comic book adaptations, remakes of classic films and Hollywood's need to make money off of franchises—that there still are more original films in Hollywood than ever.
Bigger Films Often Overshadow Smaller Films The marketing for "The Hateful Eight" did everything it could to present the films synopsis without spoiling anything, and to highlight the recognizable names of Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell and Tarantino himself. Hollywood is not deliberately hiding original films like The Hateful Eight. It is just that when push came to shove, audiences went to see "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" multiple times.
Have We Learned Nothing from Kurosawa? Instead of looking at originality from the context of sequels, adaptations, and remakes, let’s instead focus on originality from a storytelling perspective. What is frustrating about people complaining about unoriginality is that they often forget to consider what the word “original” really means. Some individuals, including film critics, often deem a movie bad because they can recall another movie with as similar pilot or story structure, therefore making it a “rip-off.” The problem is that people sometimes confuse a film “ripping off” another film with a film “paying homage” to another film.
Sequels Can be Original Too Again, "Max Max: Fury Road" was used as an example of an original film within a franchise. "Fury Road" was among many film critic's "best of 2015" lists for revamping the franchise with originality decades later.
Adaptations are Original in Their Own Special Way, Biopics are Considered Original Films, and Originality Has Nothing to do With Quality are other good points made by the Artifice.
Reboots can be really good. It's a case-by-case basis. You can honor or pay homage to an original film while bringing something new and fresh to the table for audiences to enjoy. Not all reboots ignore the original work. And not all reboots are complete rip offs. Some manage to juggle quality, originality and homage.