Category Archives: movies

How the Sequel and Remake Culture Has Come to Dominate Hollywood

By Anna Davies

Remakes, reboots and sequels have been a Hollywood staple for most of the film industry’s history. Some of Hollywood’s most acclaimed films were actually remakes including classics like Scarface, Sent of a Woman, and The Departed. Yet in the past decade, as cinema attendances have dropped, studios are becoming more dependent on the increased likelihood of returns that remakes, reboots and sequels offer.

As of August 31, Den of Geek report that were 121 remakes currently in the works, either in production or waiting to be green lit. This ranges from classics such as Hitchcock’s The Birds to previous box office and critical disasters like Dungeons and Dragons. Even directors who are revered as some of the most groundbreaking storytellers in the industry are returning to past franchises. Ridley Scott has revisited the Alien series twice while James Cameron will return to produce Terminator 6.

One of the main reasons for the large volume of sequels and remakes is that they are easy for studios to market. There is, in most cases, already a market and brand recognition that comes with the film. A good example of this is the upcoming Hellboy remake which will be released next year. The first Hellboy, directed by Guillermo de Toro, struggled to find an audience despite being well received by critics as the character wasn’t well known outside of fans of the comic. The 2018 reboot in comparison will be able to build on the public awareness of de Toro’s two films. For film studios this takes half the battle out of promoting a new film.

It also allows companies who are associated with the media to reboot their products. Slingo who have several slot games dedicated to the superhero genre recently added a new Hellboy title to coincide with the rebooted film which joins other games such as a Terminator 2 slot and Dark Knight Rises game. Players are more likely to play a game based on a character they know than an original character. If the Hellboy game had been released at the same time as the first Hellboy film, there would not be the same recognition. As both the film and gaming industry rely on building strong audience awareness, it is clear why remakes and sequels mean big business for both.

Original stories are struggling to find an audience in the crowded schedule of remakes and sequels. In his post Is ‘Originality Overrated’, Gareth S. Young wrote that of the fifty biggest films of all time 70% of them were sequels. With the exception of Christopher Nolan (who achieved mainstream success through rebooting the Batman franchise) very few directors have the clout to make big budget original films. Many directors are now turning to digital streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime to make original films. David Ayer publicly declared that Netflix offered much more creative freedom while promoting his Netflix original film Bright. The streaming platform gave him $90 million to put his vision on the screen.

Already, a divide is happening where cinema equals tent pole/sequel/remake and the internet and TV equals originality. If this does become the case it will be a huge blow to watching original films on the big screen. Cinema is the natural home of original storytelling and it should stay that way.

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The Empty Page

In the literary world, there is no cliche more timeworn and banal than the empty page. Countless movies and television shows have portrayed this inconspicuous menace in all its unvarnished glory. You’ve all seen it, I’m sure. The eight-and-a-half by eleven crisp sheet tucked neatly into a typewriter. It’s self-important barrenness, mocking the timid writer. Or more recently, the pale, vacuous computer screen. Vacant, besides the black, thin yet sinister cursor. The one blinking in wait. Tempting and taunting. Daring you to take a shot. Condemning you for balking. Judging and teasing. C’mon, it appears to be asking. Let’s see what you got?

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Four Blockbusters for Fall…and Winter

2015 had the second biggest summer box office haul of all time. With more competition than ever for good spots in the summer schedule, some valuable “tent pole” movies had to position themselves differently to avoid being smooshed. Here are my post-Summer blockbuster movie picks.

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“A flame that burns twice as bright…”

…Life, the Universe and Everything

According to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to the ultimate question of Life, the Universe and Everything is…

…42.

I turned forty-two in February of this year, and I think I expected an epiphany or two – thanks to Douglas Adams. Sadly, nothing really epiphanized in my brain, so I contemplated my forty-two years and wondered if I’d done okay. During these moments of wondering I happened to watch a clip of some awards thing where Meryl Streep was being honored. Of course, the internet being the swirling vortex of distraction it is, I had to look at the IMDB and Wikipedia and learn more about Meryl…and that’s when John Cazale’s name popped up.

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Is Originality Overrated?

Originality is the pinnacle of artistry

In any art form, the trailblazers are the most celebrated. The creators of new, exciting, or groundbreaking ideas are seen as a breath of fresh air, revitalizing an art form that has gone stale. Whether we are opening a book, or cranking up iTunes, the discovery of something new and original is exciting. We will rush out and tell all our friends, both because we enjoy this original thing so much and because we can take credit for finding it. Being first is coded into our genes.

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