Is Hollywood Getting Lazy?

Words by Jack Fryer

Is Hollywood getting lazy? That is the question that I will put forth in this post. With many re releases and remakes in line for the 2012 Autumn season, you will see just how many films are not original.

Looking at mainstream cinema releases in October, you might realise there are a lot of sequels: ‘Paranormal Activity 4’, ‘Taken 2’, ‘Silent Hill: Revolution’ and ‘Madagascar 3’.

But that’s not all as there are many adaptions of books such as ‘Private Peaceful’, ‘On the Road’ and ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’, as well as an adaptation of the play Beasts of the Southern Wild.

We haven’t even included the remakes; ‘Pusher’ is a British remake of ‘Drive’ director Nicholas Winding Refn’s debut while Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie is a remake of his 80s short film. But where are the original films?

Well there are many original films out there, but they are not getting original releases. The ones that are getting big releases include horror film ‘Sinister’ staring Ethan Hawke, Adam Sandler voiced children’s comedy ‘Hotel Transylvania’, as well as the non-Halloween inspired indie comedy ‘Ruby Sparks’. But these films are certain to make a profit as they are from winning formulas. The first two original films are a success as they cash in with the Halloween mood, while ‘Ruby Sparks’ will be a welcome break from the Halloween inspired releases.

Hollywood are even re-releasing films into the cinema to try and inspire audiences, with ‘The Shining’, ‘Halloween and ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ receiving re-releases for the haunted festive season.

Whereas next month doesn’t fare any better with ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2’, ‘Nativity 2’ (why?) as well as a re-adaptation of ‘Great Expectations’ with many of October’s releases still released to keep us company, along with re-releases of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘A Muppet Christmas Carol’.

But why are many original films not getting mainstream releases? Is it the subject matter? Or is it something else entirely?

The film, ‘Liberal Arts’ which starred Josh Radnor,  Zac Efron, Elisabeth Olsen and Richard Jenkins about a thirty-five year old’s relationship with a nineteen year old only made $150,000 at the US box office.

The number of remakes and sequels is increasing in cinema at an alarming rate.Last year, 2011, held the record for number of mainstream sequel releases while the number of original films is decreasing to forty percent released every year.

In a world where cinema prices are going up and attendance levels falling, it is understandable that Hollywood executives want to play it safe. But are audiences getting bored of remakes and sequels?

Despite getting rave reviews across the globe, the ‘Judge Dredd’ reboot failed to make its budget back, while the remake of ‘Total Recall’ and the big screen adaption of the ‘A-Team’ under performed at the box office. Whereas,Tom Cruise’s film, ‘Rock of Ages’ even failed to make its budget back, causing an anomaly in the star’s career.

But risks do pay off in Hollywood, Bruce Willis’ sci-fi action thriller ‘Looper’ has surprised many by its box office takings, while in America a Republican propaganda documentary called ‘2016: Obama’s America’, made $33 million.

Hollywood is taking risks in the literary department too, with an adaptation of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ due for release next year. Marvel Studios are planning a release an adaption of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, one of their lesser known properties which will feature characters such as Rocket Racoon and a talking tree called Groot.

However, having said that, Hollywood studios are still making many fantastic original films, like the underrated horrors ‘Right at your Door’ and ‘Stake Land’ failed to achieve the success, these films fell flat unfortunately not due to lack of big name stars, but also due to lack of advertising and faith from the production companies. Stake Land though is slowly set to become a cult classic due to success on DVD.

It’s time for Hollywood to start taking gambles again, otherwise we’ll be having a ‘Transformers’ film once a month in the cinema.

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3 thoughts on “Is Hollywood Getting Lazy?

  1. I feel it’s unfair to blame it on the entirety of Hollywood. The lack of originality stems from the writers really, and perhaps the producers. Well, most likely the producers tbh. Producers are there to make money primarily, so if a film that is well written, but a huge risk, the producers are less likely to want to fund it if there’s a chance they won’t get their change back. So instead of lazy I’d call them scared. They’re too scared to take risks, so they’re sticking with thing that have proven to be popular in the past. 😀

  2. I wouldn’t call them ‘scared, I’d say more ‘clever’. It’s a business and they’re not going to spend $100 million on a blockbuster if it’s going to lose money’. It’s a tactic that’s closely examined in a business ethic and that’s fair play to them if they want to keep their studios running on what they need to run on, money to make movies’. Priducers aren’t just there to make money too’ the Weinstein Company now focuses more of it’s films on prestige as they commonly aim at funding award-worthy films instead if summer blockbusters. Of course they’re the ones that put it together but bear in mind it’s the whole production team that is still responsible for the outcome. The writers need an original story and the directors need a style that can still follow this generic formula but can still be creative. Nolan and Tarantino are examples of this. They’re still supervised by the studios and make sure they’ll gain a budget but can still show a creative vision. If these two things can compliment each other then it can a good result.

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