Repetitive Failings of Hollywood

Take one. Take two. Take five. Take twenty.

The same thing grows tedious after you’ve seen it several times over, something film industries have begun to find as they watch their audiences gradually losing interest.

Theaters have been overflowing with remakes and reboots of classics and fan favorites throughout the 2000s, with what some call the “remake era” filling showing slots during the 2016 and 2017 season. Many of these remakes have been successful, the most notable of which being Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast, reaching this year’s highest grossing total with $504 million. However, studios have begun to face the backlash of critics who feel cheated by the remade material. The argument has been brought to the forefront of cinematography discussion: Can remakes compete with original content? Freshman Jake Sapp believes not, claiming that a remake era of movies has hurt the entire industry as a whole.

“I hate it,” Sapp said. “I’m concerned about the future of Hollywood. It seems like movies nowadays are being made solely for money and not for creative freedom.”

Senior Anna Kosierek, a long-time movie lover and a student of the recently added filmmaking class, said she feels more satisfied by original material than remakes.

“I always enjoy the originals more,” Kosierek said. “Even with Disney, Big Hero Six, Zootopia, I think those are such good movies, and when compared to–and I love (movies like) Tangled, don’t get me wrong, but when compared to Tangled and Frozen, I always like the newer content more.”

Filmmaking teacher Allen Young said that a major reason the film industry has relied so frequently on remakes is the dependance upon a good return profit.

“The investment that it takes to make a film has grown exponentially,” Young said. “You used to make a really good movie for a few million dollars, and now the average film is over a hundred million. They’re looking to connect to familiar things that they know people will automatically be drawn to. (That’s also why) they’re making things into franchises. Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy, they’re all built into franchises that are safe for studios.”

While franchises and remakes have proven to successfully draw in large crowds, and thus large profits, they have received gradually worsening reviews and ratings from sources such as Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb. A portion of remakes, such as Kimberley Peirce’s Carrie and Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy, have even brought fewer profits from less-than-enthusiastic audiences, making the choice between original content and thought-to-be safe content more pressing for filmmakers. Aspiring filmmaker Jake Sapp feels that there are also added obstacles for future cinematographers whose original ideas may be turned away in favor of remade material.

“There’s no guarantee original movies will be as profitable, (that’s what) it all boils down to,” Sapp said. “You see all the big budget movies all follow the same conventions because they’re known facts that they will work and draw in more viewers. As long as they see big explosions and giant robots fighting they’ll be satisfied. But satisfaction doesn’t make something art.”

Kosierek also feels that original content is being repressed in favor of remade material.

“I think that (the remake trend) does restrict directing opportunities for directors,” Kosierek said. “If they think ‘oh, my god, this would be amazing, and this is where my creativity is pulling me,’ but it somehow deviates from what’s trending, then they can’t act on those creative impulses, and that’s really toxic for a director.”

Freshman Anna Chen enjoys self-critiquing movies and has growing concerns surrounding entire genres becoming chalk full of tropes and stereotypes. She fears they’ve lost much of the interesting qualities which draw her to see films in theaters. The most notable genres which she feels follow this are horror and action films.

“There are some very good (horror movies), but the tropes get in the way of making a good movie. The only horror stories anymore are about a creepy doll or a possession or there’s a serial killer. It sounds like there’s room for variety, but when you watch the movies there really is no variety.”

Chen feels there is a lot of untapped potential in the horror genre, and the fact that it’s there but not being utilized is frustrating from an audience perspective.

“I like those deep movies that make you think. I get really mad when (directors) decide to discard this beautiful new movie they could have made, but then we keep going back to the haunted dolls. I saw this one movie about this mental illness (and) at first I was like ‘wow, this is really intriguing,’ but then they stopped explaining what was happening and all of a sudden it was just fighting. The intellectual, mentally terrifying element was much scarier, but they didn’t want that. At this point, I (won’t) go to a cinema and pay for a movie (because) I could stay home and get on Netflix and watch five movies that are the same.”

Mr. Young said regardless of how much creativity is or is not in films right now, it’s up to the future filmmakers, the up and comers, to shape the future of the industry.

“It’s up to filmmakers to find the fabulous stories to tell, and tell it in an entertaining way,” Young said. “Filmmakers have to dream and they have to dream big. Any successful director or producer started out making short films in their backyard, and they progressed because they had a passion.”

Click here to read the story on the Chronicle’s website

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