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Has Hollywood Run Out of Original Ideas?

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With remakes and reboots seemingly all the rage in Hollywood, it makes one wonder if innovative scripts are on the endangered list. As rumours and facts fly out of Hollywood, more and more, that new film you are hearing about is actually an old one. In fact, one of the newest film releases out this week, Arthur, is – you guessed it – a remake.

Now, remaking an old film can be a good thing, especially if the original movie was less than stellar, or the filmmakers find a fresh angle or update the premise. An example is the recent update of George Romero’s, The Crazies, and the Coen Brother’s redo of True Grit. And reboots can revitalize a stale franchise; it certainly worked with the Batman series of movies (although there is talk about rebooting the Batman reboot, which is simply ridiculous).

However, remakes of good movies are sometimes ill-advised. The aforementioned Arthur is shaping up to be less than a critical favourite, and there have been several other such movies littering the trail of “what were they thinking?” including the preposterous shot-for-shot remake of Psycho by Gus Van Sant, Tim Burton’s confusing, Planet of the Apes, and the awful, The Stepford Wives.

The question is, are remakes being used by Hollywood as a prop to fill up the movie theatres, sticking with the tried and true in an attempt to cash in on the box office? Or has such complacency descended on Tinseltown that they can’t be bothered to write new material?

A few of the many films scheduled for remakes or reboots include 

  • Fright Night
  • Dark Shadows
  • Spiderman
  • The Thing
  • Escape From New York
  • The Three Musketeers
  • Conan
  • Judge Dredd
  • Mad Max
  • The Black Hole
  • Dune

So, why does Hollywood currently have a love-affair with remakes? You decide.  For more impending movie remakes check out: Upcoming Movie Remakes

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About A. F. Stewart

  • Hollywood was running out of ideas way back when Nora Desmond was waiting for her closeup. Broadway and TV are just as bad. Why do we need a remake when the original is just fine? Because it has all been done before. And then there are the sequels (but don’t get me started).

  • So true, and I know how you feel about sequels.

  • It’s the fear factor. Nobody wants their film to bomb, and the chances of it doing so are that much greater with ever more intense competition from other media. So, studios and producers are far less willing to take the risks inherent in original screenplays.

    One thing the movie industry still has going for it is that most of the major stars (Cruise, Depp, Kidman, Roberts etc) don’t do TV – meaning that films can offer something other media can’t. Even so, signing a big name is no guarantee of box office success.

    Bums on seats is a much safer bet if your story is one that people are already familiar with, be it an adaptation, a remake or a reboot. The mere fact that it was successful before, or in another medium, is no guarantee that it will be successful in a new incarnation, but it is at least tried and tested and the odds are better.

  • “So, why does Hollywood currently have a love-affair with remakes?”

    Not a current phenomenon at all. Judy Garland’s Wizard of Oz and Bogart’s Maltese Falcon were remakes and seemed to turn out pretty well

  • El Bicho, of course movies have been remade all through Hollywood’s history. I’m just finding that there seems to be an influx of remakes in the works lately.

  • zingzing

    big hollywood movies have become too expensive to produce to risk box office failure. so they take the safe route. of course, it’s shortsighted, as history has shown that at least a modicum of originality is just the thing for long term home viewing sales.