I cut my teeth on wedding rings.
Hollywood explained, for all the fools who think the sequel/remake model should go
Tirade time: I see more and more people, friends and internet message board strangers alike, complaining about how Hollywood needs to stop making remakes and sequels. These people of mine, they say Hollywood needs to start making original movies, not just original movies, but well-written, smartly acted, fresh original movies with big budgets and top-bill stars. There’s also somewhat of an undercurrent of opinion that these movies be Science Fiction. Their reason? It’s what the people want.
Here’s the thing, guys: they shouldn’t. And they don’t (the people). Lest we forget, Hollywood is a money-making business. It is not an entertainment factory designed to deliver the highest-quality, most critically amazing films we have ever seen. Maybe it used to be that way, but it hasn’t for a long long time. Hollywood is, now and forever (or until the I-Ching thingy) going to stay that way. And they should. Why should Hollywood be responsible for making these critically amazing, Oscar-worthy movies we all want? There’s an industry that does that already. It’s called Indie cinema, and they do it way better anyways. Look it up.
But hey, don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at the numbers.
For the purposes of this rant, I pulled Box Office numbers for the last 5 years in Hollywood, plus the current year so far. 2008= Top 10 highest grossing films of the year are all remakes or sequels (OR BOTH!). 2009= 7 of the top grossing films are remakes or sequels. 2010= 7 of top 10 are remakes or sequels. 2011= all 10 are remakes or sequels. 2012= all 10 are remakes or sequels. 2013 (so far) = 9 of 10 are remakes or sequels.
As you can see, these numbers show that, unfortunately, my people are incorrect. Audiences do not want original box office content from Hollywood. Even the original films that did sneak onto my list are hardly data points to use against me. Inception is an enigma from a filmmaker who has two other films up there, both sequels; it will never be replicated. 2012 (the movie) played into very specific fears that will never be able to be replicated. Pacific Rim did a similar culture thing with Asian countries, tapping into a deep root of very specific nostalgia that no other film could do.
And Hollywood agrees with me: they don’t see these original anomalies as proof enough to suddenly dump the model that’s been working so well for them since forever.
WHICH IS EXACTLY THE POINT OF THE WORD “ORIGINAL”
Original means unique, ever before seen, unprecedented, and also, most importantly to a business: unable to be repeated. That’s the deal breaker right there. Original movies can’t be made again for the same result. That’s the opposite of how capitalism works.
Let’s use my favorite literary device, analogy, to illustrate my point further:
Todd runs a Burger Joint. He is famous in his hometown for always preparing customers his trusty “McTodd,” an all-American burger that never doesn’t taste good. He’s even been featured on the Travel channel. He’s so successful that he’s going to expand to the neighboring town.
People get excited when they hear this news. Until now, residents of that neighboring town have had to drive 40 miles just to have a McTodd. Now, they can drive just down the street! The new Todd restaurant opens up, and people come pouring in. They order McTodds, they get them served, and - but wait a minute. What’s this? These McTodd’s taste like SHIT! What the FUCK?!
Angry residents of neighboring town question Todd. What’s up. What’s going on? Is this a transition issue, or what?
"No," Todd explains. He just figured that, since the McTodd, an original recipe he dreamed up himself, was so successful, he’d try it again at the new restaurant. Try a new recipe, that is. That’s what made the McTodd so successful, right? That’s why people loved it, right?
"No," angry mob says. "We liked it because it tasted good! We WANT MORE TASTE GOOD!" Todd shrugged his shoulders, saying that it was still his contention that people liked the McTodd because it was original, and for no other reason. The mob grew even angrier and dragged Todd into the street. He was beaten to death and set on fire.
My point, boiled down to hardened diamond from all this coal: You can’t capture lightning in a bottle. Hollywood makes money from familiarity, the same way McDonalds does. We don’t hear people crying to the heavens that every McDonalds should have its own unique menu. That’s because THAT idea doesn’t make a lick of sense.