I saw a headline a while back of an article that upset me. It read: “‘Frozen’ Producers Crush your Dreams, Says Sequel Not a Priority.”
What upset me was not the fact that a sequel to the popular Disney movie was not a top priority, what bothered me was that I realized that movies are now made in order to make sequels, and we’re supposed to expect them from every movie from now on.
Hollywood, like almost everything in America, is a business; and in a business, you are foolish to stop producing a commodity if it sells. Why the hell would anyone do that? Big-shot producers these days are less interested in what’s “good,” and more interested in what makes them rich. Okay, maybe they were always interested in what makes them rich, but the quality of a film has become the lowest priority when it comes to making movies today. They hire models, youtube stars, singers, and Kardashians because they sell, and then slap a familiar brand name on the marquee because instead of making something new, they’ll stick with something safe.
“Screw talent,” they say, “she’s got big boobs! Let’s find a place for her in the sequel and we’ll call it Sophie’s Choice 2: Silicone or Saline.”
Businesses are also no stranger to outsourcing: delegating work to an outside supplier as opposed to completing it internally. Yep, Hollywood outsources too.
How you ask? By going to Barnes and Noble, seeing a cover of a young adult novel about a dystopian future, and “strong” female lead, or a comic book/graphic novel, and make a movie out of it. “Phew!” they say, “we can make money without even thinking of something original! Let’s celebrate with more cocaine!”
That is not to say, however, that all adaptations are bad. I mildly enjoyed the first two Hunger Games, and LOVED Deadpool, and let’s not forget that The Godfather was adapted from Mario Puzo’s novel. But when 7/10 of the highest grossing films of this year were either sequels, adaptations or remakes, one might begin to ask, “Where’s the originality?”
Songwriters, artists, photographers, and dancers create pieces of art as a way of expressing themselves. When they make something popular, they don’t simply remake the song or dance, they find something else to express and they produce something new. Films, at least to me, are for art and enjoyment. I’m not claiming to be a movie snob by any means, I love the Super Mario Brothers movies and will defend it till I die, but I also love movies that are the result of a filmmaker’s literal blood, sweat, and tears. An expression of true art. It’s difficult to have your cake and eat it too in this business, I get that, but what used to make movies so great was that they transported you to another place and time; nowadays I’ll see a poster for an upcoming movie and say, “Meh, I’ve already been there.”
I wait on the edge of my seat for the day when Hollywood truly crushes my dreams and creates a sequel or prequel to a movie that holds a tight grip around my heart. I’ve heard rumors about a Back to the Future reboot, and I’ve heard that a remake to The Wizard of Oz might happen as well.
Where do we draw the line? When can we get it through our heads that we don’t have to sacrifice quality to make a buck? Look at the Independent Film Industry for help, Hollywood, they know what’s up. The day that a producer looks at a script and says, “Yeah, it might sell, but I don’t think Indiana Jones 4 is such a good idea” will be the day that I regain my respect for Hollywood.
…wait. What? They already made Indiana Jones 4?