2015 Summer Recap: Reboots, Remakes, Sequels, and Adaptations.
Posted September 8, 2015 by Daniel Hodgson in
Dinosaurs. Terminators. A talking teddy bear. Been there, done that. 2015 summer movies offered almost nothing that cinemas haven’t seen before.
I’m not talking about movies like Dope, modestly budgeted films with wide releases relying on good reviews and word-of-mouth (and btw, check out Dope), or low budget horror films looking to make a fast buck, like The Gallows (btw, avoid The Gallows). No, I’m talking about summer movies, big movies.
Poltergeist, Fantastic Four, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Minions, Tomorrowland. Each of these was either a remake, a reboot, a sequel, a prequel, or an adaptation.
That is not to say that there is anything inherently wrong with being any of those. Some remakes are better than the original. The Empire Strikes Back, a big-budget summer sequel of yesteryear, is even better than its predecessor. And many of cinema’s greatest achievements, too numerous to mention, are adapted from books and plays.
However, movies are getting re-made, but are generally not well-made. One must look no further than Fantastic Four as proof of that. Terminator: Genisys was also a disaster. Ditto Vacation.
Of course, a few sequels got it right. Avengers 2 was terrifically entertaining, as was Ant-Man, but that’s part of the point. Ant-Man would not exist if it were not part of the MCU. In today’s Hollywood, a blockbuster must either 1) chronologically follow or precede another movie, or 2) remake a movie or reboot an entire franchise. Anything else is an exception.
There were exactly three original movies this summer with a budget of over $50 million, when production budgets these days are often between $100-200 million, if not more. Hollywood is embracing the familiar in terms of big-budget filmmaking with unprecedented abandon.
Interestingly enough, one of this summer’s few original movies is also one of the year’s best: Inside Out, a film that was humorous, touching, and thoughtful, as well as entertaining. It was also a box-office success, grossing half a billion worldwide. Spy was also an original film, and while it briefly parodied Bond movies, it was very much its own thing. It was also one of the year’s funniest comedies, and also profitable.
But next year looks like more of the same. More adaptations, more franchise installments, more sequels. Despite the fact that original movies such as Gravity, Inception, and The Matrix are often well-received by critics and the movie-going public alike—to box office success, I’d add—Hollywood chooses to play it safe.
It’s a shame, really. A long, long time ago, Hollywood took risks. Studios were willing to make movies like Star Wars: A New Hope, a summer movie that helped define the movies that we watch today. It was not a sequel, prequel, or adaptation of anything. It was an original screenplay. The chances that a movie like that getting made today are slim. So my question to the studios is this: