Has Hollywood Given Up?

Remakes and revivals own the movies

An influx of movie remakes has taken over cinemas. As the Hollywood idea pool runs dry, directors and producers return to the classics. Whether it’s through revival or remake, the pattern has become more prevalent as Hollywood runs out of ideas.

Instead of the Oscar-worthy original films, companies like Disney are reverting back to their previously produced movies. “The Little Mermaid,” the upcoming “Snow White” and “Star Wars” projects are being remade, rather than new ideas coming to the screen. At the box office, these films are topping the charts, raising the question of whether people prefer something they’re comfortable with or something that makes them think.  

While not all movies are remakes, there has also been a trend of franchise revivals, many over two decades after the original. “Indiana Jones,” “Top Gun” and “Avatar” are all older blockbuster movies that had recent additions to their sagas. 

“It’s all about original ideas, which can include previous works adapted in unique ways,” said Shea Miller, an employee at the local Regal Cinemas in the Old Mill District. 

Yet many of these revivals lack the spark that their originals had. The new “Star Wars” trilogy is clearly a copy of the originals. Rather than inventing new lore for fans to speculate over, they chose to draw villains and similar story arcs from the prequels and originals, destroying any character development that took over 30 years to establish. It was a weak ploy to draw in new, younger fans, and of course, bring in the big bucks. 

So what is causing this remake renaissance? Producers know what audiences already like, and instead of taking cinematic risks, they choose to go back and reimagine the comfort films everyone loves. And why not? It’s guaranteed money. There are only a few directors left who are willing to take that risk and put out never seen before ideas. 

Our precious indie filmmakers are being victimized, with massive production companies pulling them in, causing their cinematic individuality to be erased. Take Chloe Zao, for example. In 2020 she directed the film “Nomadland,” which won the Oscar for best picture. Fast forward one year later, and she’s directing “Eternals” for Marvel, which didn’t go over well with the critics.

On the other hand, director Greta Gerwig has remained true to her directing philosophy. Despite her most recent film “Barbie” being the top movie of 2023, the film clearly matches her directoral style. Her way of storytelling and colorway remained persistent from her past movies like “Little Women” and “Ladybird.”

It isn’t individual directors who are at fault though, it’s the large production companies who only care about money. They continue to put minimum effort into plot and screenwriting, expecting to make millions at the box office, and it works. 

With the rise of AI, the fate of movie originality is at risk. As this technology advances further and further, AI screenwriting is likely to appear in blockbuster films. 

Much like the Beatles with music, the box office needs filmmakers who break the standards and change how movies are perceived. If the same themes are being presented, no ideas are ever being challenged. People who revert to cinema to experience the unexperienced are being left with nothing as this pattern continues.