What's in Store for the '10s? The '90s, Bloat & a Renaissance
by Brandon Lee Tenney
December 21, 2009
The aughts are coming to a close. And what better time than now to look forward, over the crest of 2010, into the next decade? What will the '10s bring to the silver screen? What legacy have the past ten years left for them to follow -- or veer away from? This, of course, is the way of the soothsayer, reading fortunes via palms and tea leaves, but from where I'm sitting, a tempest is brewing. A tempest that's poised to make landfall during the decade to come.
The last ten years in film, more specifically the latter aughts, have been defined by the continuous, endless production of sequels, remakes, and adaptations. Originality has proved scarce. SlashFilm just posted two articles last month dealing with just that exact issue. After crunching some statistics, Peter found that only two of the thirty top grossing films of the last decade were original properties. And of the past decade's Academy Awards Best Picture nominees, only eight (of forty-five total) are born of originality.
The studios seem to be terrified by the prospect of something completely new; a film that's conceived wholly and purposefully to be displayed on film, from conception to completion. From adaptations of comic books and their heroes to board games to true stories, a recognizable hook is the preferred starting line of late. With the evidence presented by SlashFilm, why shouldn't it be? Audiences have showed the studios that that's what we'll pay to see. We all like what's familiar. We seek out what's comforting; who wants to be challenged when we're meant to be entertained? The major studios are simply applying basic human psychology. And not only will audiences pay to see ’em, the Academy will award them. But how long can this philosophy last? When will the cup finally runneth over?
The trend looks to be holding true over the next few years. If moving at all, the amount of remakes and franchise sequels appear to be on the rise. Where we've been seeing remakes of films from the '70s and '80s, it's the '90s that are in Hollywood's crosshairs now. The coming decade will see sequels to the blockbuster 90s films Men in Black, (possibly) Independence Day, Toy Story, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mission: Impossible, and, if I'm going to speculate, probably another Mummy film, another Die Hard, and perhaps even Jurassic Park 4. The remakes are being produced in such close succession to the original properties that soon it's the remakes that will lead to the originals, instead of the other way around. It's all a bit too much. And during the '10s the first cracks in this foundation will start to form.
There's a fine line between seeking what's familiar and becoming complacent (and downright bored) with sameness. Sooner, rather than later, the franchise sequel machine will start to fail. The adaptations will begin to display less of a return. And as the news becomes even more ubiquitous, true stories will cease to find as great an audience. This isn't to say that they'll stop outright. That's ludicrous. There will always be a place for the summer blockbuster franchise, the incredible true story, and the revelatory novel adaptation. It's the volume of the above that will become diminished. And it'll be because we, the audience, will be the harbingers of such change.
The current (and immediate future's) economic climate is not one conducive to the entertainment industry. There's not a lot of expendable income floating around in our figurative couch cushions. While going to the movies is still one of the cheaper outings for a family (or a couple… or a single guy), the gimmicks (3D, IMAX, LieMAX) being employed are making the cost enough to give some pause. It'll be during the '10s that the market will become so saturated, the lack of choice so ubiquitous, that our wallets will begin to do some major talking. At least, I hope so.
So, what will remain? What new standard will rise from the ashes? The low-budget film. And, furthermore, the resurgence of originality. A renaissance. Films like Paranormal Activity, District 9, (the upcoming) Area 51, and Panic Attack (among many others) are proving their worth as fresh signals among the noise. They're also the beginning of a growing trend where Hollywood is taking notice of the techniques and viability of the creativity shown on YouTube. The problem with big budgets is that there are so many options that it's actually stunting the creativity of filmmakers. Put their backs to the wall, and the mind will expand to new heights. By spending less money, yet gaining similar returns, the industry may be able to inject a much needed boost into its originality glands. This would lead to less money spent on rights ownership and an increased market for original spec screenplays. Perhaps even a following built around the people who are creating the films as much as the franchise itself.
Well, I can dream. Overall, I think the '10s are going to be hopeful years for film. The way we think of media is changing every year. The way we consume media, especially. The film industry will change, there's no doubt about that. It's up to us, though, to guide the change. While the above is, of course, all speculation, it's the past that's always been the best predictor of the future. A renaissance is possible. But so is a bloated, totalitarian dark age. Doesn't the former sound a whole lot better?
Reader Feedback - 29 Comments
Here is the thing cronies....If those original stories do well, they will themselves more than likely produce sequels....ala Paranormal Activity 2....so quite whining because sequels are pretty much a staple of hollywood. As for the remakes, well if done right then I dont have a problem but it seems 80% of the remakes are either useless and uncalled for (Karate Kid), or just plain suck (Twilight)....oh wait, Twilight isnt a remake, my bad, but it does SUCK MAJOR TEENY BOPPER, DICK LOVING VAMPIRE, QUEERWOLF, SHIT TASTIC , BEDAZZLED NOSFERATU ,SKINNY FAIRY FUCKING , BUFFALO DIAREHA SLURPING, MONKEY TURD THROWING......ASS !!! Nuff Said
LORD MANTACO on Dec 21, 2009
A Renaissance is possible? Or a totaltarian dark age of cinema?? Maybe you were kidding, but I really don't see your point at all, especially with a conclusion like that. You write in a faux sophisticated tone borrowing language from dated screenplays and for several paragraphs stew about how sequelitis will eventually not be as profitable...ok sure, whatever...like any good trend or fad it will have it's time, but you do little to explain how people will tire if sequels...I mean, they haven't yet, right? Bring some supporting arguments to the table besides the infantilism, "because wouldn't it be great and right and virtuous if everyone started loving our YouTube videos enough to float us a million or two to make a feature?" Of course the studios love to put out an indie film or two, and as everyone can see, indie films, when good, can make a smooth solid profit and help elevate new talent into the studio system. But then you'll never see that filmmaker make a movie for less than 30 million again and this is my point...Hollywood is big business, it needs to make big movies to put food on the tables...not only to line the foundation of ten more mansions for some executive, but to employ hundreds, sometimes thousands of industry workers through their guilds and unions...big Hollywood movies keep the industry alive and vital. So in going back to your "point", they do this because it's profitable, and proven in a slumped economy. As we watch the economy get better, I'm sure originality and some dating will return to blockbusters. Honestly, avatar is a big gamble and while it is a new property, they are selling it under the "franchise of Cameron", so I think whether it succeeds or fails, it will determine how many more original monster budget movies there are in the next few years. But maybe not. So in conclusion, I can't help but disagree with you. The YouTube phenomenon will produce some hits, definitely, but to say that those will be studio blockbusters is not really understanding the business. When a low budget indie breaksout, sure a lot of money was made, but only by a few people who saw a cashgrab in a festival and decided to distribute it. You need all involved unionized films to employ small cities of workers to make hollywood relevant...but who knows, maybe in this Renaissance you speak of Hollywood needs to fail and the art of cinema becomes something pedestrian and globalized and everyone in the world can watch your college film but no one no longer makes any real money off of it because no one was paid to make it in the first place...to have this Renaissance you are talking about the theater system will have to die and be compeltely usurped by the iPhone and labtop computer. It would mean a complete restructuring of the system and a nail in the coffin to the southern California economy. Of course it would maybe be interesting if that happened, but it's highly unlikely and immature to even consider, or write an essay about. YouTube and amateur filmmaking has always had it's place and now it has it's appropriate home in the web...this style of filmmaking is an art and craft that is very important but it's compleltely seperate from the studio system. Studios need to spend money make money...so of course theyll spend it cautiously. No one really wants to say it bu some of these studios who employ thousands of peple are one or two big bombs away from closure...even the biggest ones.
Linkwonthechef on Dec 21, 2009
Wait, we're actually calling this decade the aughts?
SlashBeast on Dec 21, 2009
Star Wars had sequels. The Godfather. Indiana Jones. alot of successful films from the 60's and 70's were adapted from books (one flew over the cuckoos nest is an example). all of those movies are pretty big staples in the world of cinema. sequels and adaptations have been around a loooong time. and yes i get it there are much more of them now. but its not like we'll get sequels to Doubt or There Will Be Blood or anything. and those were successfull, critically acclaimed movies. but i guess you're mainly talking about the big blockbuster action type movies. if it makes a shit ton of money its gonna get a sequel, bad economy or not. and if people just rebel against sequels and not go see them and they all bomb thatll just make the economy worse. its not like if they stop making so many remakes and adaptations we'll get more good movies every year anyways. we'll probably just get more "original" movies that blow, instead of remakes that blow. anyways i dont know what im talking about. i say make more remakes and more sequels! fuck it! its all the same in the end baby
shredder on Dec 21, 2009
I'm with post #2 on this. Just because indie films aren't big budget doesn't mean they should be, people who truly enjoy cinema for more than explosions will find the independent gems in the sea of mediocrity that is the film industry.
Nick on Dec 21, 2009
I feel bad for anything created after AVATAR thats cgi heavy.....it just set the bar waaaaaayyyyy too high
Trey m on Dec 21, 2009
I like sequels, as long as they are as good, if not better than its predecessor(s). It is very difficult to come up with original material. When it happens, it's a breath of fresh air. But I also love it when I get a great sequel to something I already loved (Batman Begins followed by The Dark Knight would be one example).
Dan Geer on Dec 21, 2009
Just hope there are less gay-ass vampire movies. A few epic Avatar, Lord of the Rings type films would be awesome. A few video game adaptations by good directors. God of War, Halo, Devil May Cry, Gears of War.
Ronald on Dec 21, 2009
I just want a good videogame movie.....IMO there has never been one and that needs to change.
Cody on Dec 21, 2009
Also some good manga/anime adaptations. Full Metal Alchemist, Trigun, Ghost in the Shell, Hellsing, Beserk, Akira, etc. I could go on all day.
Ronald on Dec 21, 2009
I agree with what most of Brandon lee Tenney has to say in is article, of course there will always be Reboots and Remakes because has said in the article the film companys are scared to go with anything else thats new, that won't change the film companys like paramount, WB, Disney, lionsgate, to mention a few will go for more independent film sutch as paranormal activity,Gentelmen Broncos,District 9, because they are low budget and if they flop at the Box office they won't loose as mutch money. Expect more from 3D, Imax, Digital cinema going, soon DVD will be made Defunct and you will be able to get a film on SD CARD.
Cineprog on Dec 21, 2009
just wanted to apologize for all of my typos and grammar...I wrote that on my iphone, not the best way to communicate. I just wanted to make the point that independent cinema has it's place and is separate and will always be separate from the big hollywood blockbusters...they are two different industries. And Hollywood will always produce for the lowest common denominator, it won't be until a string of sequel flops that Hollywood will be forced to greener pastures. But their marketing arms will make quite sure that they are connecting with America and the world en masse, which is unfortunately not the case for indie cinema. Exposure costs money, millions of dollars. And once the mainstream industry recognizes indie talent that talent goes Hollywood in order to make money for the thousands of people who need to remain employed per film. Nuff said.
Linkwonthechef on Dec 21, 2009
at #1...... WTF?
Zero on Dec 21, 2009
As technology continues to grow, I am anticipating a much more immersive theater experience. And in regards to the type of movies releasing in the 10's, I don't think there will be any significant difference than the "aughts".
The Man With No Name on Dec 21, 2009
As long as we get the FACTS OF LIFE MOVIE THIS COMING DECADE I"LL BE HAPPY...or MY TWO DADS, STEP BY STEP, FULL HOUSE, FAMILY MATTERS......I COULD GO ON FOREVER PPL.... WHO'S WITH ME. !!!!!
Mac on Dec 21, 2009
"After crunching some statistics, Peter found that only two of the thirty top grossing films of the last decade were original properties. And of the past decade's Academy Awards Best Picture nominees, only eight (of forty-five total) are born of originality." Then we can expect many, MANY more sequels and adaptations. The movie industry is a business that's main goal is to make money. I don't blame execs and studios one bit for making tons of sequels, Indiana Jones 4 and 5, Twilight, etc. Are most of them bad and am I upset? Yes. Do I blame them at all? Not one ounce. "The studios seem to be terrified by the prospect of something completely new; a film that's conceived wholly and purposefully to be displayed on film, from conception to completion." They are not terrified but there is a big risk in doing this. If I told you that you could put an ok amount of $$ into a sequel that will bring in 200 mil even if it sucks or put that money in an original that MIGHT make that much if it's awesome, what would you do? What would anyone do? There are only a handful of directors and then actors that studios will throw tons of money into if it's original. Whine and make all the dumb comments you want, but it's never going to change.
branden on Dec 21, 2009
Read the "script" for Area 51. Do yourself a favor. Either download it, or buy your ticket and go see the movie at the 45 minute mark. You'll thank. This shit is just as stupid as Paranormal Activity.
Fuelbot on Dec 21, 2009
Hey Mac...NOBODYS WITH YOU!! LOL
Trey m on Dec 21, 2009
CINEPROG, the business will be killed if it's flooded with Paranormal Activity's. The wealth doesn't get spread around and those films don't employ enough people. It's just tons of money going towards blow.
LINKFX on Dec 21, 2009
#1 what is wrong with you? you are more obsessed with twilight than people that loved it. wtf
samuel j on Dec 21, 2009
A big part of why sequels and remakes are popular is because the studios know they already have an audience. Advertising a film is easily the most expensive part of the film-making process, so the studios see it as cost-saving measure.
Mark on Dec 21, 2009
You know, Hollywood wouldn't make all these films you hate if people didn't go watch them.
Governor on Dec 21, 2009
Just as long as they keep the Marvel Movies coming out...I think it's all good...Just a Phase the Film Industry is currently going through...It shall pass... Like previously mentioned, I would like a good Video Game Adaptation...Silent Hill is the best in my Opinion so far...Halo would do wonders... A Fullmetal Alchemist Flick would be awesome...
zeldaprimed on Dec 21, 2009
@ #6 Avatar setting the bar way to high for CGI heavy films? District 9 was just as believable at 1/10th the cost. To all: Avatar is changing the way movies are MADE. Not how they look. Period. I think this next 10 years will skip remaking stuff 20 years ago, the 90s had the 70s flixs, the 00s had 80s nostalgia.... the 10s will go all the way back and remake the true classics, sans the Egyptian epics like Ben-Hur (done already, Alexander and Troy anyone?) and religious (The Passion and that one with the Whale Rider girl). I'm talking Casablanca, Brekfast at Tiffany's... and the 10s (and the world) will end with the harbinger of the anti-christ... the Dumbo remake. After all, even Pixar is running out of ideas.
Akirakorn on Dec 22, 2009
I could care less if a movie is a sequel or not--if it looks good I'll see it. And just because it's a sequel doesn't mean it has zero originality, either. Some have been really great. Besides, if someone comes up with a great original idea, what are the odds that it won't spawn a sequel? Good, original ideas inevitably lead to sequels. That's just the way it works.
NadaNuff on Dec 22, 2009
Business 101: It's 10 times harder and more expensive to attract new customers as it is to keep existing. End of discussion.
branden on Dec 22, 2009
Some sequels are better than the originals, and sometimes, sequels come out where people had no idea that it was a sequel. The same thing goes for remakes. When the Departed came out, nobody had any idea it was a remake of a Korean film. Most people thought Scorsese came up with it...suckers...
Telltale Twin on Dec 22, 2009
#26, The original The Departed is a Hong Kong movie.
SowYau on Dec 22, 2009
I don't mind any book adaptations... there will be blood was excelent film... and i liked the assassination of jesse james by the coward robert ford... that was one of the best movies i saw in last 10 years... it cost 30million dollars and groossed only 10 (including dvd sales)... just because it had very limited release i think that indie and asia\europe type of "indie\auter" film sholud be the future of cinema... but i think that wont happen becaus shitty little executives and big company CEO dont have balls to risk with those type of movies... for me best english speaking film i watched in last year or two was Wackness... those heart-on-the-screen-bigger-than-life-characters is what is all about (for me). i dont understand Brandon Lee Tenney's point of view and him saying that "Panic attack" is original idea??? r u drunk? or high? it is a movie about robots from space destroying a city... wooow how *ucking ORIGINAL is that... if u r tired of holywood type movies than u should bring more european directors to holywood... taken is done by some french guy, clash of the titans remake to! and alexandre aja has done some god horror flicks, just give him some freedom... if u watch global theaters they are only full when there is some film festval going on. and thats only beacause people want to see something diffrent...they are sick of all Vampire, harry pother, die hard, robots from space type of movies... thay want movies like [rec.], white wedding by b. cromacur, soul kitchen, the Return by Andrei Zvyagintsev, the Proposition... p.s. sorry for bad grammar i'm from Serbia...
danilo nikolic on Dec 22, 2009
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