Reboots, sequels and superheroes: the death of Hollywood


Graphic by Rob Fischer

Jacob Lewis

It’s that time of year again: the rush of the holidays has faded, the temperature is freefalling, and new years resolutions are slowly but surely being put back on the shelf. So what do we do now? We go to the movies of course.

This year you can count on ten superhero movies, 26 movie sequels (excluding superhero films,) and at least eight remakes of past films. While this all points to a financially profitable year for Hollywood, it is certainly lacking artistically.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the big blockbuster films studios churn out each year, in fact, there was something truly satisfying about seeing Captain America square off against Iron Man last summer.

However, the funding of these huge blockbusters is coming at the expense of original ideas. In 2017, the top 12 grossing films were made up of six superhero movies, four sequels and two remakes. The first original film comes in at 13th place with Disney’s Coco.

Even so there is a 26-million-dollar difference between Coco and the number 12 film The Fate of the Furious. That isn’t nearly as drastic as the difference between the number one film Star Wars: The Last Jedi versus Coco. Jedi grossed 600 million domestically while Coco grossed 200 million, via BoxOfficeDojo.

Movie studios are under pressure to create hit after hit, which has caused them to invest more time and resources into guaranteed success versus taking risks on more innovative ideas.

It is not that original films are incapable of gaining success; Jordan Peele’s low budget horror film Get Out is Oscar nominated and one of the most successful original movies of this year.

Big budget movies are a large investment for studios, sometimes costing millions of dollars to produce. This has led to a decline in the number of films created by a studio, the six main film studios produced 140 movies in 2014, but in 2017 they only produced 93. This is because there are only so many resources that can be put into movies, and those that are guaranteed to make money are prioritized.

Hollywood has two options: adapt or perish. Studio directors do not seem to be able to find a strategy that both incorporates smaller films while also utilizing their moneymakers as pillars for income. So while you wait for The Avengers to come and save the day, don’t forget to support smaller, more original films.