Thursday, March 10, 2011

Where Did Creativity Go?

Production studios know what made a lot of revenue once must be destined for more right?  Well apparently that's the case, because 2011 will be a record setting year for the number of sequels and remakes that are coming out (we won't even get started on the fact that most will have a 3-D version).  The problem with this is that the more the studios rely on these sequels/remakes for their big money makers, the less we will get to see original material and perhaps won't discover the next great writer or director.

A short list of some of the sequel/remakes coming to a theater near you include:
  • Sherlock Holmes 2
  • Big Mamma's house 3
  • Scream 4
  • It
  • Fast and the Furious 5
  • The Hangover 2
  • Transformers 3
  • Wrath of the Titans
  • Rise of the Apes
Do we the audience really seem that mindless that we need another Big Mamma's House?  Wasn't the first one enough?  

There is no reason for it other than the fact that the film studios know they will make money.  They already have the marketing part done because everyone they are targeting have heard of it, and they know it doesn't matter how bad it is because people will see it regardless.  Take Apple for example, if they had brought out an IPad 2 that didn't really change much from the first one, they would make money off the name alone, but they wouldn't come up with the innovations that they have made to this point with their products.

Since the production studios don't want to take as many chances with new ideas, or unproven directors we will start to lose the reason the Film Industry has gotten to where it is today.  Eventually the audience will want to go see something new and exciting and without that people will stop seeing movies all together. Creativity is the key ingredient, and without this we wouldn't of had the original to add a sequel to in the first place.  Hopefully this trend starts to reverse, but I just heard they are already remaking The Never Ending Story.  Here is the larger version of the list of sequels and remakes coming out this year. Maybe you'll get excited about something you didn't know was coming out like Shakespeare in Love 2.

Picture retrieved from


Anonymous said...

The question of creativity is definitely a problem in today's film industry. Admittedly, Hollywood has done remakes in the past (for example, the 1931 version of "The Front Page" was remade in 1940 as "His Girl Friday", then again in 1974 as "The Front Page" once more) but it's only been within the last 10 years or so that the remake and sequel-itis has gotten out of control.

A good example of a remake or sequel would be the Mad Max series of films. There, each film built on the previous one, until in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome you had an entirely new culture. As for the bad examples, well, there's far too many to choose from, but I'd select the Shrek series of films (and would add Puss in Boots) as a one-movie joke taken way too far.

I think part of the problem is the movie studios themselves. Rather than risk funds on new ideas and new scripts, they'd rather play it safe with the old tired sequel with maybe a twist or two here and there. Even Pixar is starting to develop sequel-itis, although theirs tends to be more original than most.

Unfortunately, as long as movie viewers go to these films, Hollywood has little reason to go for original scripts and original stories.

dwolson said...

Great comment! I agree unlike earlier film eras that used sequels as an extension to build on an idea, production studios today mostly use the name of successful movies to sell the tickets and push the story building off to the side. The Shrek series is a good example, because if you look at the decreasing attendance for each sequel it shows that people only can be fooled so much.

I am especially surprised (but at the same time it just shows where the film industry is) that Pixar which built its name on creative titles would need to pull out so many sequels (Cars 2, Monsters inc. 2) Obviously every kid that liked cars will see cars 2 with their parents in tow, but while they are using a past title to make money they aren't pulling in a new audience with the next big idea.

Its too bad, and your right as long as people continue to see these sequels in the numbers they do, why not capitilize on that success? Unfortanately all this does is lead to a dead end and eventually they will need to be creative. Hopefully the production studios remember how.

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