On Black Friday at midnight, following the 2014 thanksgiving season, Disney and Lucasfilms finally released the teaser trailer for the new Star Wars movie that will come out in 2015. The movie will be the seventh in the series.
Excited about the film, and disappointed about the wait, I went to IMDB to see if there was anything interesting that I could see in theatres right now. And it struck me.
The options all seemed to have a similar theme. Some examples were “Big Hero 6” and “Gone Girl”- based on books, “Dumb and Dumber To” and “Horrible Bosses 2”- sequels, and “Mockingjay”- a sequel of a book.
In the past few years alone, there have been movies based on toys (“Transformers”), movies based on fairy tales (“Frozen”), movies that have been “rebooted”, or remade with the same characters but different actors (“The Amazing Spider Man”), and many many superhero comic book adaptations (X-Men, Avengers, Iron Man, Superman, etc.)
It suddenly came to my attention that almost all the upcoming movies are either sequels, prequels, spin offs, remakes or reboots, or based on comic books or novels. Has Hollywood lost its originality?
According to writer and producer Stephen Follows, between 1994 and 2013, 58% of the top grossing films in the world were adaptations of books alone. This means that less content is being created, and instead, we’re seeing the same story in multiple forms.
While some of these adaptations surely are good, we may be missing out on an original story because it was replaced with another remake.
So why does this trend continue? Is there a decreasing number of writers willing to offer original scripts to production companies? Well, the truth is, movie adaptations continue because we keep seeing them.
Audiences are more likely to see a movie that has already been a successful book, and those who have read the book will likely see the movie version. Also, viewers who see the first movie in a series will more likely see the coming sequels.
This inclines production companies to make more movies that are guaranteed a profit, opposed to a risky story that no one’s heard of.
For instance, when Star Wars first came out, not even the director or writers thought it would be a success because of the strange new storyline, and many predicted it would flop. And now the series is approaching its seventh installment.
So while it may be easier to work off of a pre-existing idea, it may also be important for us as consumers to give new ideas a chance and create new legacies.
Next time you go see a movie, try something new and maybe don’t see the new superhero franchise movie. Maybe watch more independent movies whether it be on Netflix, Amazon Prime or somewhere else.