Mel Porter

Blockbuster Remakes and Adaptations: Are They Killing Hollywood

Devon Barrs | October 13th, 2014 | Visit the original article online

In recent years, we have seen a surge of remakes and adaptations on the silver screen. So many in fact that some of us have began to question the diversity in the major motion picture industry. If you’re not particularly a fan of superhero genre, or if you’re not up to date with what’s popular in the publishing industry, then there isn’t really much reason to include movie night in your weekend plans.

Remakes of our favorite childhood characters and popular comic series, along with adaptations of popular bestsellers like The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and more recently, Maze Runner seem to be dominating the silver screen. Personally, I like seeing some of my favorite characters come to life on the big screen, or the reinvention of that character, but it gets to a point where I want something else. A new superhero that wasn’t derived from the Marvel or DC universe, a dynamic protagonist that isn’t a revival from a novel or comic, but it seems that I may not see that anytime soon and its mainly because of this new age of the blockbuster that Hollywood has fallen into. It’s all about the blockbuster.

What is the blockbuster? I guess I could go into its long history, but who wants to read about that? Lets keep it simple. The new age of the blockbuster began in the summer of 1975 with the commercial success of Jaws. We all know that movie, right; the movie about the giant shark that essentially put Spielberg on the map. That was the first commercially successful film that spurred the need for more movies that are marketable, with a large commercial appeal, and room for merchandising. That’s why most blockbusters nowadays are family oriented.

Studios began the search for the next big thing; the next film that would shatter box office records and make them millions, if not a billion. So this is generally a hit or miss type deal, just like everything in entertainment; if the viewers like it, if the studio is able to launch a successful marketing campaign, the film does well. If not… well, they flop. No one wants a flop on their hands, and that’s why studios began turning to other outlets that harbored a preexisting fan base that could carry over to the big screen. Thus, the adaptation became a thing. As technology advanced and studios realized that they had the ability to revive older franchises in a new light, they began to remake those films, bigger, sometimes better, and definitely more expensive.

So is the remake and adaptation killing Hollywood? I would certainly say not. What we are seeing is a new wave in film, where remakes seem to be a popular niche for large name production companies, where a film’s success is gauged by its overall marketability, commercial appeal, and of course, its insanely high budget. The great thing about the remake and the adaptation is that they’re established following makes it somewhat easier for studios to garner success, but on the other hand it seems to be limiting what we see in theaters.

Though the recent successes of these types of blockbusters aren’t killing Hollywood, it definitely seems to be stifling its flow. Its become a game that revolves around playing it safe (which sometimes fail) where it used to be about the thrill of the risk; making something compelling and worth watching that captured the imagination. These studios have the tendency to limit creativity among the viewer, but it isn’t necessarily their fault. They cater to what we want to see, whatever is doing well in the market at the current time. It just so happens that theses remakes and adaptations are what people want to see, which could be frustrating for those of us who want something a little fresher.