For over a decade now Hollywood has been churning out sequels, prequels remakes and non-stop adaptations in what seems to be a relentless onslaught of idea regurgitation all over audiences. Just a quick visit to the database and dedicated film site IMBD will show you that what is hot is something not unlike that you’ve already seen before. But how did this happen?
Hollywood Is Run on Money
This is a fact that many people forget when it comes to film. In order to make a huge over the top, action packed, CGI laden summer smash you need to have a lot of money. A whole lot of money. Even the most accomplished actors and directors in the biz can barely afford the investment of cold hard cash that goes into making the films you know and love. From a business sense, making a film is a risk and in order to get investors interested you need to have something that you can prove sells.
And what better proof is there than the very quantifiable box office sales of the previous entry in the franchise?
With films being made quicker, and by more and more companies all over the globe its fair to say the market is somewhat saturated. So its far easier to secure bums on seats at your opening screening if you know people already are head over heels for your content. This is where the adaptation is born. Think of Harry Potter, a book that sold vast numbers of copies with a huge audience just waiting for more content, it made perfect sense to turn that book money into film money especially when all the hard work (word of mouth, marketing and writing) had already been done. This is why we see so many comic book films, since so many readers already are surgically attached to any content with the name of their favourite hero emblazoned onto it.
We Love Repetition
There is something about the human brain that gets satisfaction out of the same stimuli. From our jobs to our leisure, we can’t help but establish some sort of routine which feels safe. The same goes for films. If you already know the characters, the story, where they are on their journey and everything else its likely you are going to want to see how it continues. Essentially all good stories have an end, and by giving us another hit on the needle of never ending sequels and remakes we cant help but dive back in. After all, if you liked the last one, surely you are going to like the new one right?
Well the real answer is no. Though some people may fool themselves into believing they want more, the part of their brain that is invested in these fictional worlds really just wants a conclusion. What this does mean is that film companies can churn out absolute drivel, reformed, rehashed and turn a profit. It’s up to movie goers to realise that originality is slowly being strangled by a copy/paste system that is only good for the people who already have mansions.