An open letter to the increasingly uncreative Hollywood studios and the continuing laziness of the movie industry as a whole.
Dear Hollywood studio heads that don’t have a creative bone in their body,
Stop churning out recycled and remade garbage year after year and pretending like we don’t know exactly what you’re doing. Why do you think it’s acceptable to lamely remake or reboot a property that was made 5-7 years prior and try to repackage it as something new or fresh or god forbid even original? It’s not. Nobody is asking for any of this. All of these are are desperate, soulless cash grabs that half the time don’t even attempt to be good, but instead just bank on the fact that enough people will go and see them for the name alone, hopefully enough to make up for the inevitable critical slaughter they’ll receive. It’s easy to tell when a studio has completely ran out of anything new to squeeze out of a franchise when they name the inevitable reboot the same thing as the original (The Predator, Ghostbusters, and the third try for Halloween).
These shameless reboots and remakes are not only often painful to watch from a quality standpoint, but they also tarnish the legacy of the works that inspired them. A creepy, don’t-leave-your-kids-alone-with-him Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory remake? No thanks. An auto-tuned Annie? God no. A Total Recall that should be recalled? Stop. I believe some films are too sacred and should not be touched, but it seems hollywood knows no bounds. Committing grave robbery on a number of all-time classics like The Thing (1951), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), and even Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). And please Disney, for God’s sake stop with the live-action remakes of all the animated classics, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. But with the The Beauty and the Beast remake not doing horribly critically or commercially, the new Aladdin trailer, and news of The Lion King and Lilo and Stitch all getting the same treatment, I’m afraid I’m too late (the Lion King one worries me even more than the others). I’m afraid to live in a world where we’ll see 2045 remakes of Frozen and Moana but I’m afraid that’s what it’s coming to.
Not every remake is bad, some are good and some are needed. 2017’s It remake of the 1990 TV miniseries was an absolute hit and a much needed improvement from its TV predecessor in every single way. And 2018’s Bradley Cooper attempt at a fourth remake of A Star is Born has been a massive success and generated some serious Oscar buzz. Too often though, studio heads and executives see the success of a well done remake and all of a sudden and get excited and decide what we really need is a reboot of the Child’s Play franchise, except the original franchise isn’t even done and is still planning on releasing new movies… not really sure how that one’s going to work out.
Something that is equally unoriginal, worthless, and as much of a cash grab, is an unnecessary string of sequels/an entire movie franchise. We’re currently headed for our sixth (thank God Paramount actually cancelled the seventh one) Transformers movie, fifth Pirates of the Caribbean (which Disney is rumored to also be considering a reboot) where the only thing that changes is Johnny Depp becoming even more detached than the previous entry, and also what feels like our 23rd Fast and Furious movie. Some franchises seem like they’re never going to die, but an even worse version of the franchise is starting to take over Hollywood, the shared universe.
Ever since Marvel came out with their box office behemoth shared Marvel Cinematic Universe, studios have been clamoring to get in on the action and profits that Marvel has down to a science. But while Marvel took a decade plotting out their shared movie universe, Sony (twice), Universal, and Warner Bros. (twice) tried to rush out their own carbon copies all while missing the point hard. If you want people to be interested in your shared universe, you need to focus on making good movies first. If you really want to copy what Marvel did, you have to take the time they took and establish you universe the right way. Create characters that audiences actually care about with their own movies first, carefully establish the universe that the characters exist in, and do the crossover movie after everyone has been established. Don’t go the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice route and try to shoehorn in three previously unused heroes while also trying to juggle three main heroes (two of which are making their first appearances) in an already ridiculously convoluted story. There is a lot more wrong with BvS than just that, don’t even get me started, but you get my point. There is no faster way to kill your shared universe than spending so much time in your first entry setting up future ones that you forget to make a good or at least somewhat put together movie, I’m looking at you Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Universal learned the hard way with their 2017 reboot of The Mummy which was also the first installment in their planned Dark Universe, which was supposed to feature classic Universal monsters like Bride of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. Unfortunately for Universal, The Mummy ended up being one of the worst box office bombs of the year. So bad in fact that Universal decided to suspend the rest of their Dark Universe plans indefinitely. Sony made a very similar mistake with their reboot The Amazing Spider-Man franchise which made it one film more than Universal before imploding for very similar reasons. Sony’s failure ended up forcing them to lend the rights to the character back to Marvel, but they apparently learned very little about starting a universe off on the right foot with their new attempt, this year’s Venom starting Sony right back off in a hole.
Too many big movie studios are spending their time and money trying to start the next billion dollar franchise, when what they should be doing is getting in touch with creative visionaries in the business and giving them the budget that would otherwise be wasted on the fifth remake of the Magnificent 7. Marvel seems to be the only studio that understands this, and they proved it by hiring indie filmmaker Taika Waititi to direct the third installment in their somewhat boring Thor franchise. Watiti completely reimagined the character and breathed new life into the franchise, I guess opposites do attract. Hollywood needs to put it’s best foot forward and focus on original scripts and ideas if they really want to make money (which is all they want to do). While it’s easy to churn out a Transformers movie and make a couple hundred million every few years, viewers are growing more and more restless and are desperately searching for more unique films to enjoy. It’s (hopefully) only a matter of time before Hollywood gets over its intense bout of remake-itis.
Get well soon,
Your Slightly Above Average Movie-Goer