Sometimes it seems every movie in theaters is a sequel, remake, reboot or book adaptation. Just recently, Hollywood’s remade “Robocop”, “Godzilla”, “Spider-Man,” and “Planet of the Apes.” DreamWorks is planning a “Shrek 5” because “his story isn’t done yet.” Book adaptations in the works include “Paper Towns” and “The Maze Runner” as well as the next two “Hunger Games” movies.
Moviegoers moan and groan over every new sequel…and then pay to see them anyway. Here’s a few reasons why:
Studios don’t want to take chances.
Movies cost a lot of money to make. Millions and millions of dollars get poured into anything that has to do with CGI or A-list actors and their high-profile salaries. Since the “Pirates” films, Johnny Depp has become bankable enough to command a $50 million starting fee. “The Lone Ranger” was a gamble on his star power. Studios don’t want to take chances on new material anymore, not when they don’t already know that the revenue will be returned in ticket sales. And nowadays, they just don’t know.
Contrary to popular belief, the recession hit Hollywood hard.
When the recession hit, prices for movie tickets rose just as much as everything else. When people struggle to pay their bills, many “splurges” like movie-going get cut out. Once again, Hollywood revenue plunged.
If you recall, this was also around the time James Cameron’s “Avatar” made over $2 billion by re-releasing the film in four different platforms: regular film, 3D film, IMAX film and IMAX 3D film. Cue every thrilling film being released in 3D to command higher ticket prices for the same product. Cue releases in more foreign markets, hoping that the money raked in overseas could help offset the meager amount harvested on home soil. When it’s your company’s money on the line, desperate times cause for desperate measures – and safer bets.
Sequels, reboots and adaptations already have guaranteed audiences.
The crux of the matter is this: when books get turned into movies, the book readers will go see it no matter how bad it looks. When old favorites get rebooted, the old fandom will go to see their favorite stories retold with better graphics. And when good first movies get sequels, the first-film fans will also go see it just to learn what happens next.
We cannot help being curious, even if we know we may be disappointed. Movie producers know this, and they count on human curiosity to drive their audiences. It’s easier and safer, if not as exciting, to bet on the horse you know will win the race.
Good films are still made, of course. There’s some fantastic original content being produced. But you may have to wade through a bog of sequel work to find them.
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Latest TV Spot" by BagoGames, used under CC BY 2.0