If there is one constant in the modern-day movie industry, it’s the steady barrage of motion picture sequels, reboots, and remakes that bombard theaters each year. For a while now it’s seemed as if the sheer number of sequels, reboots, and remakes has steadily grown from year to year. Just look at 2011. The year featured reboots such as “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “X-Men: First Class”. We also got several pointless remakes like “Footloose”, “Fright Night”, “The Smurfs”, and “Arthur”. And of course, the year was loaded with sequels from popular “franchises” such as Harry Potter, The Transformers, Twilight, and Pirates of the Caribbean; animated films like “Cars 2”, “Kung Fu Panda 2”, and “Happy Feet Two”; and a host of other stuff ranging from “Spy Kids” to “Scream 4” to “Hangover 2”.
That was last year. Just take a look at what we have already seen and what we can expect for the rest of 2012. It’s still early in the movie year and we’ve already seen remakes like “21 Jump Street” and “The Three Stooges” and a host of sequels such as “Journey 2”, “Wrath of the Titans”, “Underworld Awakening”, and “Ghost Rider”. To add to it, this year we have already seen 3-D re-releases of three movies: “Star Wars: Episode 1”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “Titanic”. Here’s just a sample of what’s still coming out this year:
- “Men in Black III” (sequel)
- “Piranha 3DD” (sequel – I guess)
- “Madagascar 3” (sequel)
- “G.I. Joe: Retaliation (sequel/reboot)
- “The Amazing Spider-Man” (reboot)
- “Ice Age: Continental Drift” (sequel)
- “The Dark Knight Rises” (sequel)
- “Step Up: Revolution” (…….sigh…..)
- “The Bourne Legacy” (sequel)
- “Total Recall” (remake)
- “The Expendables 2” (sequel)
- “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2” (sequel)
- “Resident Evil: Retribution (sequel)
- “Paranormal Activity 4” (sequel…kinda)
- “Red Dawn” (remake)
- “Skyfall” (sequel)
There are several more that you can expect to see in 2012 but you get the point. It seems that sequels and remakes aren’t a big thing these days. They’ve become commonplace. Now let it be known that there are some movies on the list that I am really excited about seeing. It’s also true that some sequels are incredible movies. It’s also worth noting that THE TOP 9 GROSSING MOVIES of 2011 were sequels which shows that there is an audience for them. So it certainly isn’t a question of bad financial decisions and it’s certainly not unreasonable to make movies that will sell tickets. But it begs the question, is there a shortage of originality and creativity in Hollywood?
I can remember when a movie sequel was a pretty big deal. You didn’t see many of them and when you did it usually drew a lot of attention. That’s certainly not the case today. And Hollywood’s sudden affection for remaking 80’s movies and TV shows has led to more head-scratching results than memorable films. I guess in a way that’s my biggest concern. Just how many of today’s sequels, reboots, and remakes are really good, memorable films? How many will stay with us for the rest of our lives. How many are just easy money grabs that have little to no lasting impact? I tend to think more of them are utterly forgettable than true movie treasures.
But as I mentioned, not every sequel, reboot, or remake is bad. Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” not only rose above the superhero genre but it was an incredible movie. This year’s “The Dark Knight Rises” is my most anticipated movie of the year. And there are still many good quality filmmakers that are making great original movies for us to enjoy each year. Add in independent films and foreign cinema and there are several outlets to discover good movies. But so much of Hollywood’s efforts and resources are going into treading the same water that I can’t help but wonder, is the struggling industry desperate for dollars at the theater or does Hollywood have a bad case of writer’s block that only seems to be getting worse?