Coming soon to a theater near you – Meh.


Sequels. Reboots. Books split into multiple movies. Is Hollywood out of new ideas?

“Paranormal Activity 5.” A live-action “Cinderella.” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.” Are we, the consumers, doomed to the same repetitive entertainment cycle?

Sure, there are still some original ideas being pumped out by film studios — and they are usually the ones winning awards — but it seems as though the vast majority of movies these days are all rehashing the same old concepts in slightly different ways, all in order to maximize profit. When was the last time you watched a trailer for a new movie and were legitimately excited by a brand-new idea? (Bonus points if it wasn’t a biopic.)

One example of a studio churning out movie after movie with the same basic concepts is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since 2008, Marvel has released 12 full-length films, from “Iron Man” and “Thor,” to “Captain America” and “Ant-Man.” The studio plans to release 10 additional films from 2016 to 2019. Yes, the films feature different characters, and the plots differ, but the idea of a superhero saving the world from a villain is almost as old as film itself. These movies may be entertaining, but they rarely bring anything new to the table.

But Marvel’s strategy makes sense from a business standpoint, even if it is not at all inventive. Those 12 movies brought in nearly $9 billion combined at the worldwide box office — more than $1 billion per year — compared to a combined production budget of just over $2 billion. The least successful of those movies still brought in $263 million worldwide. Marvel makes a killing with these movies, and the profits will only continue to soar over the next four years.

That is why we continue to see studios producing so many movies that will bring in guaranteed money, rather than movies that go out on a limb and take a risk. The entertainment industry is all about making a profit, and that priority is not going anywhere. It’s our fault for buying into it. We’re the schmucks.

The problem is not only limited to the big screen; television shows are seeing their own sequels, reboots and revivals. Netflix brought back “Arrested Development” in 2013, seven years after its cancellation. “The Mindy Project” and “Community” were snatched up by Hulu and Yahoo!, respectively, after being cancelled from network television. Now, Netflix is reaching even further back with its plan to resurrect “Full House” as “Fuller House.” Even shows that were once original have been around so long that they have overstayed their welcome — “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” come to mind.

Unfortunately, there appears to be no end in sight. As long as money comes first, we will always have repetitive movies and TV shows focused on maximizing profits. We just need to hope that a beacon of original ideas can cut through the thick fog of superhero movies, “Paranormal Activity” sequels and teenage vampire love stories to at least give us a slight reprieve from the same old same old.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email