Simple Infographic Shows Hollywood is Giving Up on Original Ideas

September 18, 2012
Source: Short of the Week

Hollywood's Waning Creativity

Generally, we're not very happy with the slew of remakes and sequels that seem to be taking over multiplexes. Sure we love comic books film franchises like Iron Man and soon-to-be-sequelized heroes from The Avengers like Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, not to mention the now concluded Harry Potter franchise and the highly anticipated Avatar sequels. But much of our excitement comes from original films like Looper, arthouse beauties like The Master or even ambitious adaptations like Cloud Atlas. Sadly, an infographic looking at Hollywood's films over the years has shown that the studios have all but given up on original films and, as we already knew, favor sequels and remakes.

Here's the simple but frustrating infographic originally from Short of the Week:

Infographic - Hollywood's Waning Creativity

Now we're not the kind of cinephiles that will just give up on a film if it's a remake. We're not that snobbish. In fact, Robert Fure of Film School Rejects has a provoking piece about why a RoboCop remake is a good call, and thereby defends the idea of the current Hollywood remake in general. But when buzz and details start surfacing about these rehashes of old stories (which seems to be the case with the RoboCop remake), and there's barely any high points to be found. That's when we start worrying.

Over the years, I've found solace in thinking of remakes more like cover songs. They're inevitable, they don't ruin the original, and the just might be fun, and - dare I say - better than the original. The only downside is the millions of dollars and years of work it costs to get a remake done as opposed to a cover song that appears on YouTube or at a concert. One might argue that studios aren't necessarily less creative with sequels and remakes as a lot of style and originality can be present in those films still, but they just don't have confidence in stories without an established brand and audience.

Discuss: How do you feel about this barrage of remakes and sequels in Hollywood?

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  • Those results don't prove your conclusion. Alternatively, it could be said that audiences have tired of original ideas and prefer to watch adaptations and sequels.
    • Aero027
      I agree. I was thinking the same thing while reading this article. This does not prove or demonstrate that Hollywood has lost it's creativity. It does prove that we are mindless sheep who will watch whatever reheated visual goop is plastered on a screen in front of us. It proves that audiences are flocking to remakes and sequels, and if that's what audiences are watching in mass....why wouldn't hollywood make more of it? In general when the future of a culture appears unstable or uncertain (which it has since 2001) there's always a pattern of cultural nostalgia where people look backwards for stability and comfort. That's what is happening all over America today. It's not just in Hollywood. We essentially live in a recycle based culture (ala Pinterest's numerous ideas for reusing old materials to make your house look nostalgic, and the somewhat idiotic using your modern technology to take old fashioned Instagram photos). Hollywood is just following the larger trend in society. Say what you will, and I'll agree this reheated fodder sucks, but in an unstable economy Hollywood is playing to what works because its proven, less risky, and financially beneficial for the time being.
      • skunkybeaumont
        The only problem with that is the obsoletism that our technology faces on an increasingly regular basis. Nothing has staying power anymore and the time it takes for mass audiences to want an upgrade (see: the same thing but in a different package/color/design/size) becomes more and more brief. From reboots to adaptations its all so similar now, even the book series, including comics, are becoming hard to tell apart. Its one thing to say that we'll buy whatever they sell but we do have the power to stop buying.
  • A more accurate infographic would include metacritic or rotten tomatoes ratings alongside the box office. I can almost guarantee it's plummeted over the last 30 years.
  • jont
    every single creative industry does this. music industry, car design, etc. how many times can you go down to the paint store and really expect a new form of your favorite color grayyyyyyy. to point it out is to be silly. the right thing to say is look at these concepts as vehicles that transend time and allow for more artists to have a voice. because without super man an amazing director like zach snyder wouldnt be making a film right now. his way of telling it wil be unique and i love that. Also if you have constant change, that is in fact redundant by definition.
  • I think real film fans already knew about and hated this trend. The general public however loves the idea of sequels and adaptations. It's like a brand you trust to give you exactly what you want, no surprises, tailored for the masses, watered down entertainment with no depth. Most people want to shut their brains down when it comes to movies. Guess what? Movies are art and as such they need to rise above their budgets (which are also constantly growing by the way).
    • axalon
      "Movies are art and as such they need to rise above their budgets." Movies are most certainly art, but they're also a business. Sequels and adaptations make the most money. It's as simple as that. If you're job was to make cookies, and everybody loved sugar cookies to the point where selling them made you the most money by far would you really stop making them to satisfy some artistic integrity? But like you said, the public doesn't want new ideas. Hell I'm the same way with music. It's so hard for me to listen to new music - even if it comes highly recommended.
      • Interesting point. Yes, films have to make money, but the slow box office numbers show that people are not stupid. Make a good film and sooner or later it will also make money. As for the cookies: If they're unhealthy it will come out eventually and kick you in the butt.
        • axalon
          If I may make a counter-point, I think people actually are generally stupid. The reason for the slow box office numbers is that people now have the internet and with that comes a multitude of entertainment options that simply didn't exist before. Fifteen years ago if it was the weekend and you and your friends were bored you'd either watch TV, play video games (on one person's TV) or go to the movies. Nowadays people can stay inside, browse reddit, tumblr, facebook, twitter, blogs, youtube, etc. And those are all free. Also - there was no Rotten Tomatoes or movie blogs to help you decide what to watch. Yeah you can read the paper to find movie reviews but that was often only one or two people. Now there are hundreds of reviews you can potentially go through. On top of that, the amount of movies being released is huge today! I have clear decisions on what I want to watch, but that's because I'm obsessed with movies. What about people who just want to catch a flick? What do they watch? Hell even star power barely counts for anything anymore.
          • TheRagingCajun
            I think that, generally speaking of course(as if it made any freakin' difference), yes people are stupid. How someone can watch Transformers 2 and demand a 3rd installment is beyond me.... I would think Micheal Bay and his fans would represent the epitome of cinematic trash.
    • TheRagingCajun
      Correct me if i'm wrong, but even if the movie is a sequel, like Hangover or Rush Hour 2, it's still the sequel of an ORIGINAL movie! This tableau is pretty much half-biased.... At least in my book.
  • IamSlave
    You know Hollywood has no new ideas when so many older films are being brought back. For example - Lion King, Titanic, Star Wars, etc.
  • Ricardo_PT
    This article makes me wish Ethan had written that article about robocop instead of Alex, jesus, what the hell was that?! I think that there are different types of sequels. Personally, when i finish watching a movie that I loved i want to hear about a sequel being made, one that keeps the same "magic" and hads to the franchise. No one would be mad to the point of saying "Meh...I wish there wasn't a sequel to Batman begins". Those sequels that only exist to milk the money cow, yeah, those are horrile.
    • Jarrod C
      Amen! When I hear about a film franchise's "last installment" (for example, Dark Knight Rises is supposedly the last film of this particular Batman franchise), I actually get sad. I want the story to go further. It was so great that I don't want it (as a whole) to come to an end. But, Fast & Furious 12 is a bit ridiculous. I didn't even like the original.
  • This shows whats popular, that is all...
  • In each year you have 10 realy good movies and the rest is food for the masses to make money for the studios and it always been so. A realy good script will always be made into a film and it are always the masters who make classics. There ate allot of mac donalds restaurants out here but i few good cooks!
  • Glendon
    The biggest problem with this is that it cherry picks years. If you start in 1979, you'd have four adaptations and two sequels in the top ten. That would leave you finishing in 2009 where there were four sequels and three adaptations. That leaves the trend changing from four original films to three over the course of twenty years. The more things change the more they stay the same.
  • Nielsen700
    This is old.
  • Cody W
    Based off the fact that this is based of gross income, this just proves that the american movie goer has given up on creativity more so than hollywood. Some could say hollywood is just giving the consumer what it wants.
    • VoudeauxChild
      And what exactly is the American movie goer supposed to do when the only films being screened aren't originals? Pull originals out of their asses? You watch what they screen.
  • Technically Pearl Harbor isn't (that) original, considering it's loosely based on something that did happen... But I get what this infographic is pointing out, very true..
  • MBH
    Silence of the Lambs was a sequel.
    There are plenty of ideas out there. i just read a novel called "Satan's Rapper" that could be the biggest hip-hop movie since 8 Mile, maybe bigger if the right people star in it.
  • Cameron P?
    What is shrek in 2001 an adaptation of??
    • Guest
      A book by the same name, authored by William Steig. Google is your friend (so are credits).
  • although i agree there are a lot of mistakes with this fail
  • Probably because it's A BUSINESS and they're just giving us what the majority of us want
  • Cameron P
    I still want to know what Shrek was based on??? Or was whoever made this chart a complete dumbass?
    • Bee
      It's adapted from a book. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrek!
    • Bob
      Maybe a dumbass like you could try Google. oh wait you're a complete dumbass why would you do that?
  • Sovikos
    THIS ONLY SHOWS WHAT THE CONSUMER IS WATCHING, NOT WHAT HOLLYWOOD IS MAKING! Hollywood hasn't given up on new ideas, it's the people are watching Remakes & Sequels!!!
  • There were plenty of original films in the 2000`s, its just that now and days adaptions seems very appealing to us that we are buying it . I prefer an adaption than a remake. I think a lot of people agree
  • DanG87
    Bridemaids? Original? At the very least its basically The hangover but with women.
  • 2000'sAnd2010'sSuck
    Yeah those moves on that 2011 list annoyed me, with the exception of Rise of the planet of the apes, i thought that was a good movie. But they do need to make more original films. But i do like adaptations as well. i think it should b more even between original and adaptation rather then sequels and remakes.
  • Matt Zimmermann
    We only have ourselves to blame. The weekend a big budget blockbuster that wasn't a sequel or remake came out, the American people went to the theaters in droves to see Grown Ups 2. It was up to the rest of the world, which apparently sucks a lot less than we do, to make Pacific Rim profitable. Americans have shit taste.
  • Spongebob Squarepants
    It's our fault. Hollywood makes these sequels and remakes cuz that's what we pay to see. As a society we tend to gravitate to things we are familiar with.
  • Les Labbauf
    This nothing new, just go to imdb and look at all the remakes and sequels from the silents until the 40s. Hundreds of them.
  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian
    The reason Hollywood is 'giving up' is that we keep paying top dollar to see crap while ignoring the good movies.
  • nick
    blah blah people are dumb and pay to see crap blah blah. that's not it. think about it, in 1981 could you go online and see millions of reviews for a movie that's not even out yet? people just went to the movies and saw whatever was there. it's so hard for an original to get a good review and reviews ruin box office figures. also, times are tough for a lot of people and they only want to spend money on something they know will be good, so they seek a familiar name. get off your high horses people....




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