You have probably noticed the recent trend in Hollywood. 7 of the top 10 highest grossing films last year, 2014, were remakes or sequels and the rest originated from a book, Marvel or Legos. Hollywood has now become formulaic, turning out reboots or movies based on a proven concept. However, this trend has actually been developing for the last twenty years. Gradually, studios have shifted from making mostly original movies to making adaptations and sequels, reboots. In 1981, 7 of the top 10 highest grossing films were originals. Now it’s the exact opposite.
This shift is mainly due to increased economic security. Consumers have already demanded the original movies so Hollywood believes that they can cash in on the original’s notoriety with countless sequels. They decrease the risk because the product is already proven to be desirable.
Some people claim that the recent increase in reboots is indicative of Hollywood floundering economically. But this rationale fails to take into account the natural incentives of increasing profit and just plain general business practices. Most businesses, given the opportunity, would decrease risk.
When looking at the top grossing films from the last five years, Hollywood does appear to be in an economic downturn. The highest grossing film from 2014 was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, which grossed 337 million. This is down 107 million from 2013’s highest grossing film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and down almost 300 million from 2012’s, The Avengers. However, the tenth highest grossing film in 2014, Big Hero 6, only dived 14 million from the tenth in 2013, Oz the Great and Powerful, and actually increased 5 million from the tenth in 2012. This seems to imply that studios are starting to increase revenue over all the movies they make rather than focusing on making one big hit at the box office. This, of course would decrease risk.
This notion also completely ignores global markets. The U.S. is only one part of a world filled with consumers. While people in the U.S. may decry the increase in reboots, the global market desires remakes. Thus, Hollywood has been increasing supply of remakes to meet the global demand. Logically, this should be a dramatic shift, but again we see a gradual change. The supply shift is gradual because Hollywood needed technological advances, like improvements in the internet and digital film, to meet the demands of the global market. Internet services did not exist globally in 1981. Through countless tiny improvements in technology, it has slowly become more economically efficient to pander to the world market rather than the U.S.
Still, high budget movies gross absurd amounts in the U.S. alone. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 grossed upwards of 300 million, at a budget of 125 million, and it is only one half of a complete story. Lionsgate has essentially doubled their profits by splitting Mockingjay in two. Although not all reboots are bad and some are even better than the original, Scarface, the average critic score on Rotten Tomatoes for remakes, 2003-2012, was 46%. That is about 22% less than the originals. If we really want higher quality, or more original, movies then we are going to have to stop demanding remakes.
Desta, Yohana. “Why Hollywood Is Producing So Many Damn Remakes.” N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
“Has Hollywood Lost Its Way? | Short of the Week.” Has Hollywood Lost Its Way? | Short of the Week. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.
IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.