Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Playground Gets Ponderous: Remakes, Sequels, and Retreads...Oh My

(Editor's Note:  Freelance writer Kate Voss has contributed this tasty assessment of Hollywood's continual unoriginality.  Thanks for the guest post, and take it away, Kate!)

2014 Movie Remakes & Adaptations

Every movie buff already knows that Hollywood has a knack for rehashing ideas in their new movies. While this has been a common practice in Hollywood for years, it is becoming even more of an occurrence as time passes.  Already, 2014 is looking like the year of the remakes, adaptations or sequels and it’s kind of unsettling.

Many people have tried to speculate why Hollywood is so infatuated with revamping old stories into new movies, but it simply comes down to money. Movie studios are more interested in making money than anything else, and it is a lot easier to make money with a remake, adaptation or sequel. Millions of people have to be interested enough in a movie in order for it to make a profit at the theaters, and this is simply easier to achieve when dealing with an existing fan-base. If a book or original movie is popular enough, then there are already going to be millions of fans interested in seeing a movie adaptation, remake or sequel. This installed fan base ensures that people are going to flock to the theaters when the movie is released, which gives the movie studio more financial confidence.

There continues to be great original movie ideas every year, but it is becoming increasingly harder to get these films made. Two of the best films in 2013, Her and Nebraska, were completely original ideas not based on history. They have a combined 11 nominations at the Academy Awards, but they still barely made enough money to be profitable for the studios despite relatively low budgets. If some of the best original movie ideas of last year could barely make money, it doesn’t bode well for originality.  And what happens when originality goes out the window?  Remakes, adaptations, and sequels…oh my. 

A revamped movie idea has the ability to become a box office smash when it is turned into a great film. Not only do the diehard fans of the franchise show up, but the film is also able to attract new fans. 2014 may be the year of the rehashed movie idea, but at least some of them appear like they will be excellent films. The top five revamped movies of 2014 are as follows:

22 Jump Street has the distinction of being a sequel of an adaptation. The first film was one of the biggest surprise hits of 2012, but the new film seems like a guaranteed hit. 22 Jump Street (which you stream on and Netflix) stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as they go undercover in a college to bust a drug ring.

The Purge: Anarchy is a sequel to the 2013 horror hit The Purge, but with a completely new cast. The film follows two parents as they attempt to get home safely during the purge after being stranded. The ability to see the horror from an outside perspective during the purge should be very appealing to fans of the first film.

Divergent is a film adaptation of the highly popular young adult book series by the same name. The film takes place in a future dystopian Chicago that forces people to live in factions based on their personalities, but it may ultimately be a plot by the government.

Angelina Jolie stars in the dark re-imagining of "Sleeping Beauty" in Maleficent. This type of re-imagining has already worked with "Snow White and the Huntsman" and "Alice in Wonderland," so it would be shocking if people did not flock to see a new version of the Disney classic.

All of the Marvel movies have become massive hits, so the same should be true for Captain America: The Winter Solider. The film follows Captain America following the events of The Avengers as he attempts to save the world from a crazed madman that happens to be his former best friend.

With all the remakes, it’s no wonder movie theaters are struggling, prices are skyrocketing, and more folks are inclined to stay home and watch the original. After all, why put money in the pockets of greedy execs when the original, first version is probably not only better, but less expensive to see?


  1. Oh my dear Kate Voss - you shouldn't be so hard on poor Hollywood - the 2014 Oscars being so far away of course it's the season for safe sequels. That said, it's hardly a new thing - Hollywood started remaking nearly everything once the sound era entered, and then once the sound era got a little more fluid, and so forth. It's not just money - it's that films are hard to make - and if you have a hit, and you liked working with the cast and the cast clicked and everyone did their job well and the reviews are good and money was made, why woudln't you put that money back into rehiring all the same people to do it again. One might decry Gone with the Wind or Jaws as being adapted from trash novels rather than original stories, (V for Vendetta was a comic book), plays, remakes, etc. - for one thing - if people have heard of or like your source material than you already have about six million dollars of advertising right there. And films aren't cheap to go to, a big blockbuster with zillions of stars and effects costs just as much to see as a no budget no-name art film, like expecting people to pay Broadway prices for off-off-Broadway black box experimentalism. That all said, it is a damn shame, but there is a place no cool brave shit is happening, and it's cable TV!

  2. new cool brave shit, I meant, damn me for not editing