Is Hollywood Really Running Out Of Ideas?

Author: Gavin Singleton | Aug-03-2013 5:14 PM

ScifiedGeneral Movie News & Posts ➙ Is Hollywood Really Running Out Of Ideas?

Lately some people seem to be constantly complaining that every odd film being released is a remake, reboot, sequel or prequel. Prometheus, Total Recall, Jurassic Park 4, Robocop, The Conjuring, The Wolverine, Man of Steel – it really does seem like Hollywood cannot come up with a new idea.

The Total Recall remake, a pale imitator or a stylish re-imagining?

But wait! What about Pacific Rim, Oblivion, Edge of Tomorrow, Elysium, After Earth? Are they not original pieces of entertainment, at least on the surface? Some could argue that Pacific Rim is just a CGI version of a typical Power Rangers episode, or a mix of two genres (Mech and Kaiju) into one franchise, thus stripping it of its originality. The same individuals could argue that Elysium is just yet another take on the dystopian future with a large divide between those that have, and those that have not.

Of course those from the other side of the argument could debate that with the medium of movies being over 100 years old, and the art of storytelling much, much older that there is very little left in original ideas, and that it is not what you do, but how you do it. The highest grossing film of all time, James Cameron’s Avatar is essentially Fern Gully with blue Thundercats.

Thundercats are on the move, Thundercats are loose (sorry)!

Then of course there is the argument that such remakes, reboots, sequels and prequels are “never as good as the original”. In most cases this is true by default, because there is something to compare it against – a film based on a book cannot delve into the character the same way a book can. But there are exceptions to that rule; Clive Barker’s Hellraiser is more complete with better motivation for the Kirsty characters actions than in the original novella The Hellbound Heart.

So, has Hollywood really run out of ideas, are they scraping the barrel bringing back old stories and milking existing franchises for every dollar they can? Well controversially, No - only a month ago the whole of the internet was alive and hopeful when Predators Facebook page posted an image, making us all believe that a Predator(s) sequel was going to be announced at this years SDCC. And we all slumped in dismay when the picture that caused the stir turned out to be promoting a 3D release of the original movie on Blu-Ray. We were all questioning what would and wouldn’t happen in Prometheus? And now we are questioning what did happen. The same can be said of the recent man of Steel. A lot of people are going mad over the new Godzilla due for release next year, a second remake to a franchise that has an insane number of installments.

Isn’t next years Godzilla just a pointless exercise?

Hollywood is a business, and just like any successful business they are in business to make a profit. Although they may not always get it right (John Carter, Waterworld), on the whole most movies that come out of Hollywood recuperate their costs through boring things like marketing and demographics – in other words they give us what we want, what we like and what we enjoy. If they didn’t deliver what we desired, then they wouldn’t make a profit. Some just like to complain because they are never happy, yet you will always see them in the cinemas on opening night.

Do you think Hollywood is running out of ideas, or are the pessimists never satisfied? It would be really interesting to hear people’s views on this topic.

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Travlis ›

This was a very interesting article Gavin.

The main six studios are seemingly running out of ideas. This is because their mondus operadi often (but not always) excludes smarter screenplays that display more profound plotlines in lieu of explosions. But filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan, Alfonso Cuaron, and Guillermo Del Torro show that smart filmmaking can often include explosions and grand visual effects.

I have read numerous books by Hollywood producers that all inform the reader that Hollywood must put out a product that will attract masses of movie goers. This is why usually the more intricate plotted films come from studios such as The Weinstein Company and Miramax. Even the latter mention company is struggling to make new creative content, due to new ownership.

Audiences have the right to demand the best quality product on screen, and this often calls for new creative content. I personally enjoy original ideas over franchises, but who says that franchises can't be smart and thrilling? A serious problem may lie in the studios' want to needlessly convert a previously released title to 3D. Most people find this unnecessary and then it is associated with other upcoming reboots. In regards to reboots, Batman Begins and Casino Royale were definitive reboots, but that concept may have bee exhausted over the past six years.

Although hardly original, perhaps what would now help Hollywood is to find a ways to successfully bring movies based off of video games to the screen, in the same manner that superhero films have been brought to cinematic life.

SFKris ›

I see Ben Stiller is directing and starring in a remake of 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.' Do you need any more proof that Hollyweird is idea-bereft?

djrees56 ›

What I find interesting is the studio's interest to reboot,remake or just add new films to a franchise that they didn't really support very well to begin with. The original Blade Runner, Alien and Star Wars productions were constantly being defended by the film makers to prevent the film productions from being shut down.
Now there coming back to many of those films with a vengeance.
As much as I'm looking forward to some of the sequels and prequels,I have to wonder what new film ideas are being put on the back burner.
The next biggest thing since Star Wars might be collecting dust right now...who knows? ;)

BSS1973 ›

When John Barrymore did Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde in 1920, it was the SEVENTH version to hit the silver screen. Then Fredric March did it in 1932, and Spencer Tracy did it in 1941. It's been done over countless times since. Is that what you mean by Hollywood being out of ideas? Was it wrong for James Whale to do a remake of Frankenstein, in 1931, after Tom Edison had already done it, in 1910?
When you say Hollywood has run out of ideas, it's like saying the whole world has run out of ideas, being as Hollywood is not an isolated fish bowl.

Creativity never stops unfolding, like a flower that never stops blooming. Such is creativity.
The problem is getting a "green light", the money, the permission, to actually make a new movies. Creativity , or the lack there of, is not the problem. That is a conclusion jumped to, by people who jump to conclusions.

Hollywood never leads, it only follows. Whom does it follow? It follows the audience, and what they will pay to see.
A large number of people want to see Johnny Depp play Captain Jack Sparrow over and over and over and over and....Then they want "Fast and Furious 17: Out Of Gas!" and "Star Wars 108: Jar Jar's Bloody Revenge!"

I live in Hollywood, have worked a little in film and music. There's plenty of talented writers just waiting for a chance. Again, not out of ideas, just not enough "green lights". Whenever you think Hollywood is out of ideas, just remember: GREEN LIGHT.

shambs ›

In summary Hollywood delivers what people ask for, which consequently conclude blockbusters and more money for the filmmakers. That's why I appreciate the work of directors like Neill Blomkamp, Terry Gilliam, Christopher Nolan, Duncan Jones, and Alfonso Cuarón.

G fan 84 ›

Yeah it does seem like movie ideas are slim to non and PACIFIC RIM was a breath of fresh air not so mutch because it was original but its a glimmer of hope that maybe hollywood will explore the anime market a little more in the future,though i cant help being one of the many that gets excited when they reboot something i love like GODZILLA and by that i know im buying into the whole "give them what they want to see to make money thing";im realy just holding my breath for the day they announce a big budget live action GUNDAM movie and when that day comes i will die happy.

Chris Picard ›

Well said BSS1973, really well said. I think the problem is indeed that Hollywood exec's are not willing to green-light creative projects, in fear that they will not bank enough cash to warrant its investments. I agree that the audience determins what Hollywood produces, but at the same time, their main priority is making money - and unfortunately, the easiest way to make money is to bank on an existing, well-established franchise.

I really hope, that in the highlight of reboots, remakes, prequels and sequels hitting the big screen over the next two years, we will see some truly original, creative talents get that "go ahead" from any of the major 5 studios. As much as I love seeing the movies I grew up with as a kid get sequels, now that I'm an adult, I would like to see something new, to keep the mind and entertainment industry fresh and on its toes.

Batchpool ›

What I don’t think many people are aware of is that there are lots of good film makers out there, but one of the biggest drawbacks comes, when a producer is looking to sort out distribution. I know a film producer who put their film through various independent movie houses and every single audience loved the film, yet getting this low budget movie out there was near impossible. It was if the movie industry had created a closed shop when it came to distribution.
It is the mechanisms behind distribution that I find to be the stumbling point over new ideas and talent being delivered to audiences eager to see something different. Just look at how a lo-tech approach worked for The Blair Witch. While Hollywood is certainly promoting a different style of movie at present, it must be said that you can play many a new tune on an old fiddle.

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