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Remakes, Reboots & Reimagining’s – Has Hollywood run out of ideas?

Written by Olivia Walker

These days, it appears the majority of films on our screens have already been done before. Some of the biggest, or at least most anticipated hits at the moment are all adaptations of already existing stories, or sequels to previous ones. Last year alone saw cinemas spammed with more Star Wars, more Harry Potter, more Marvel movies, another Jurassic World and a fourth rendition of A Star is Born.  Hollywood appears to be rehashing, rebooting and remaking the same old stories. But is this down to laziness and a hunger for money? Or is it a deeper problem, have all the original ideas been taken?

This trend of taking previously existing works and adapting them into movies is nothing new, but feels so much more apparent now than it did in the early 2000s. This is not to say that franchise films can’t be as good as original films. Some franchises may not always resonate with audiences, but some — from studios like Marvel, break box office records worldwide. Avengers: Endgame for example, has gained popularity among both critics and audiences and gained over $2 billion at the box office in just two weeks.  In fact, the most recent film entries for the Marvel cinematic universe have all had critical acclaim from audiences for their refreshing new takes on how to adapt the comic book story lines, combining new genres with the superhero genre. Each of the films appear to differentiate themselves from the previous in a way that fans have loved and praised. The popularity of these films is an example of how sequels and reboots can be loved by audiences and can provide a safe platform for studios to take new leaps and experiments. However unfortunately for the majority of sequels this isn’t the case and we end up with a series of almost identical films allowing audiences to experience the same predictable thrills they had the first time round.

Probably the most popular trend in the movie industry at the moment is remaking. Disney in particular is leading this, with recent remakes of movies such as Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book. Dumbo is the first of three remakes to arrive this year and will be followed by a live action take  Aladdin and The Lion King due to come out in a few months time. We could also be getting the live action version of Lady and the Tramp later this year when Disney’s streaming service launches in autumn and there are plenty of other remakes in the works.  Nostalgia is the stock and trade of Hollywood at the moment, and studios bank on the fact that people will pay good money to relive something they adored in their youth. But still, why not get audiences into new characters and plot lines instead? The answer is pretty straight forward actually: MONEY. Disney is (literally) banking on people already liking the animated films it’s remaking. If people already like it, there is a greater chance they will pay to see it in another form, and they skilfully skip over the step that brand new stories face of drawing in a devoted audience from scratch.  While many think Disney are currently remaking too many films, Scott Mendelson from Forbes makes a valid point saying, “As much as folks like to decry Disney’s double-down on nostalgic remakes, they share some of the blame for not showing up to McFarland, USA, The Finest Hours, A Wrinkle in Time and Tomorrowland.” This statement links perfectly to what J Period Blackmore states which is that: “Hollywood has not — by any stretch of the imagination run out of new ideas. New original ideas come out just as much, you just don’t watch them.”

“Nostalgia is the stock and trade of Hollywood at the moment, and studios bank on the fact that people will pay good money to relive something they adored in their youth”

Hollywood — as it’s prone to do — is going to milk every last dollar out of every last possible avenue. But this feels like overload, with some franchises planned out over the next decade. The question has often been posed — has Hollywood simply run out of ideas? In my opinion, no, it hasn’t. Hollywood is simply giving the audiences what they have shown to love.

“Hollywood has not — by any stretch of the imagination run out of new ideas. New original ideas come out just as much, you just don’t watch them”

J Period Blackmore

It is understandable that original and creative ideas are hard to come by when it feels like everything has already been done but the current trend feels lazy a little uninspired. It is a nice idea that audiences will tire of seeing the same movies again and again, and that Hollywood will be forced to allocate more time and energy into everything it creates. But as long as franchises, remakes and reboots continue to outperform original ideas at the box office, there is no reason for the industry to change.

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