Hollywood Has No More New Movie Ideas

I recently wrote an article on the sad state of television, and it got me thinking about the next major form of mass entertainment being squandered, movies.  It’s official; Hollywood is completely out of ideas.  Go to the theater and see a movie.  If you pick one at random, odds are it will be a meritless sequel, prequel, remake, re-imagining, or a spin-off.  I don’t even have to write this to prove that. Anyone with half a mind can look around and realize that for him or herself.  Of course, there is the occasional gem in each of these types of unoriginal cinema.  If you didn’t like Back to the Future II, I don’t know what to tell you. But when a movie the likes of Paul Blart: Mall Cop makes $150 million dollars in the US, we definitely have a problem.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are a few original ideas in Hollywood, it just seems that they’re just getting fewer and farther between with each passing year.  I believe there are two reasons for the decline in movie quality in the past decade or two.  The easiest one and the one that you’ve already figured out I’m sure is that movie studios could care less what they put out there.  The only thing they care about is if it’s profitable.  It’s a business, I know, but studio executives should at least have a small amount of pride in their work.  They don’t.  The other reason awful movie after awful movie flood your local Cineplex is that you continue to go see them!  Ticket prices go up, concession stand prices go up, quality goes down, and attendance rises?  I may have to point to laziness.  And people wonder why more than half of America is overweight.

I may seem bitter here, but that’s because I am.  It just doesn’t make sense that movies made half a century ago are seen in most circles as better than their 21st century counterparts.  With all the potential technology brings to the silver screen’s table, there needs to be a lot more Terminators and a lot less Teen Wolf Too.  Hahaha…Sorry, just thinking of that movie makes me chuckle.  And I’m not laughing with them; I’m laughing at them.

Now I could go way in depth and take the history of movies, or script writing, but I won’t. That would be boring. What I’ll do instead is go through and share with you 5 examples of the best and absolute worst in each type of unoriginal ideas making their talent-wasting way through Hollywood. The structure is very similar to my previous work. Each section will follow with a video either from the good side or the bad side, ha.

SEQUELS:

I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, I like a lot of sequels.” I do too. These more than any other have a great track record, and sometimes still do. The problem is that if a movie made enough money, a sequel is going to get made, period. There have been 5 Saw movies. It’s gotten to the point that if a movie makes a fair amount of money in theaters, fans will be clamoring for a sequel right away for no apparent reason, just because they liked the first one. We’ve been conditioned to do this. It’s possible for a movie to tell the whole story in one movie. That CAN be enough. Now keep in mind I’m not just talking about movies warranting sequels. I’m giving equal opportunity to a movie that needs another installment. There are great and awful examples of those as well. We’ve all looked forward to a sequel and been thoroughly disappointed in the finished product….and wanted our $10 or so back.

Best Sequels: The Matrix Revolutions, The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Knight, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, and Spiderman 2

Worst Sequels: Home Alone 3, Saw 4, Teen Wolf Too, The Exorcist 2, and Batman and Robin.

PREQUELS:

I think Hollywood is always looking for a new device to avoid original thought, and for a long time that was the sequel. But then I think the sequel got kind of strip-mined and depleted, so now we're into the prequel.  So it's just another way of avoiding ever thinking of anything new, which is the ultimate goal of the Hollywood hit machine.  When you can’t go forward anymore what do you do?  Well go backward silly!  I’ve noticed that a ton of these end in the words “beginning.”  They couldn’t get any more obvious if they tried.  You can plainly see that the good ones here seem to be part of a series and planned all along.  But the bad ones are just the studios trying to make more coin on an idea the public will most likely pay to go see.

Best Prequels: Star Trek, Red Dragon, Terminator Salvation, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Worst Prequels: Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, Exorcist: The Beginning, Psycho IV: The Beginning, The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior, and The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning

I couldn't resist the chance to put up Indiana Jones. Awesome!

REMAKES:

In my opinion, these are the lowest of the low.  These are not to be confused with re-imaginings, which I will get into later.  Remakes are basically a carbon copy of a previous release that’s had a modern facelift.  In the recent history of cinema, film critics and cinemagoers have generally considered remakes inferior to earlier versions.  There are of course exceptions to the rule.  It’s these diamonds in the rough that make it possible for all the trash to get funding for their work. It was pretty difficult to find 5 good examples of remakes; I had to dig pretty deep.  If you’ve heard the saying “a sequel is never better than the original,” you understand how I feel about remakes.  Ha. Another noteworthy (and increasingly common) development is the use of a successful (usually older) television series to be remade as a feature film. Like other film remakes, these often fare badly at the box-office and/or are considered a poor reflection on the source material.

Best Remakes: Ocean’s Eleven, The Italian Job, The Addams Family, The Departed, and Miracle on 34th Street

Worst Remakes: The Fog, The Beverly Hillbillies, Psycho, The Amityville Horror, and The Bad News Bears

RE-IMAGININGS:

Recently, the term re-imagining has become popular to describe remakes that do not closely follow the original.  Creators in the marketing of films use the term and television shows to inform audiences that the new product is not the same as the old one.  Re-imaginings often contain tongue in cheek references to the original with characters and concepts of the same name, but significantly changed.  In Tin Man (a critically acclaimed miniseries on The Sci-Fi Channel), a re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz, the main character is named DG (a reference to Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz), and the land she enters is called the Outer Zone (O.Z.). Re-imagining a franchise often leads to controversy within established fan communities as to which is more legitimate or more popular.  It seems that these types of movies can go one two ways…amazing or dreadful.  I have to say I was more than pleased when I saw the “reboot” of the Batman franchise after that waste of celluloid I mentioned above, Batman and Robin.

Best Re-Imaginings: Rob Zombies’ Halloween, The Nutty Professor, Dawn of the Dead, The Thing, and Batman Begins

Worst Re-Imaginings: Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, House of Wax, Prom Night, and Swept Away

This is still the best trailer I think I've ever seen.

That trailer still scares me.  I recommend you don't watch The Thing at night while alone. 

I noticed a large amount of trends while researching these topics.  Horror seems to be the easiest, or at least the most done, genre to pump out new movies of the same idea.  I had a tough time finding ones that hadn’t been elaborated upon, repackaged, or redone in some sort of way.  I tried to leave out Star Wars movies.  I could write a 10,000-page article just on the prequels.  I don’t desire all the rabid “fanboys” to chase me down and take me out.  Movies that some people swear by, like the holy trilogies, and others despise are hard to put in either category.  I tried to be fair to movies I, myself, don’t enjoy if they made a ton of money at the box office.  My apologies to all the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Pirates of the Caribbean fans.  Numbers alone tell you that their sequels are more than noteworthy.  Notable bad movies I purposely left out are the Highlander sequels.  I thoroughly enjoy them, I know they’re bad, but it doesn’t change how I feel.  Call me biased.  

I you haven't seen a movie on my "good" lists, please do yourself a favor and rent and/or download it.  You won't be dissappointed.  Just thank me in your head ;-)

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Comments 26 comments

Ande Moore profile image

Ande Moore 7 years ago from Austin, Texas

Your completely right! Hollywood has lost it's (creative) mind! They are in production for the newest flick. Are you ready for this one. Total Recall. That's right, they are remaking a classic Arnold flick. It's identical to the first, just different actors. Not characters, actors. I wonder what the next mega super blockbuster movie stolen from comic books or cartoon from the 80's is. How about My Little Ponies or Strawberry Shortcake live action with Megan Fox playing Spring.


Connie Smith profile image

Connie Smith 7 years ago from Tampa Bay, Florida

Another great hub! Good writing and research. Looking forward to the next one.


Dame Scribe profile image

Dame Scribe 7 years ago from Canada

Great insight! I agree on that note about poor movie selection. I rarely go and even my sons get tired of some of them, lol.


skinsman82000 profile image

skinsman82000 7 years ago from Frederick Maryland Author

thanks guys. Andre, Total Recall is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what's "in production." Which brings up another question...Can a movie really be "in production" when they're not producing anything new? haha...


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

I would say Harry Potter is different as it is a saga taken from 7 books. But I would say that as I am a fan:). Other than that I agree that most of the film industry's offerings are pathetic and overhyped. As for remake's-if the original is great and you have nothing to add, why bother. Oh yes I know for the money.


puppascott profile image

puppascott 7 years ago from Michigan (As far as you know...)

I find myself replaying movies I really like rather than going to new movies. I find it frustrating going to a show just to watch a movie with no soul. By soul, I mean character development, original plots and twists and provocative endings.

Good read.


tony0724 profile image

tony0724 7 years ago from san diego calif

Could not agree more ! As on your last hub about television you hit the nail right on the head ! Today's studio executives always take the safe route with the examples that you stated above. Cinema Is supposed to be art. And art Is supposed to go beyond the boundaries of the conventional . Sorry but " Transformers 2 " does not fall under that category .

Oh and If I may Interject " Aliens " was an outstanding sequel too . But I rarely If ever go to the movies anymore


skinsman82000 profile image

skinsman82000 7 years ago from Frederick Maryland Author

good comments! thanks. I might be about to throw myself under the bus here, but I somewhat enjoyed Transformers 2...but it's because I knew what I was getting. I was in the right mindset to watch it. I wasn't expecting Citizen Kane, that I surely didn't get it.


Ande Moore profile image

Ande Moore 7 years ago from Austin, Texas

Just to throw this log on the fire. The studios have started production on the "new" movie Secrets of NIMH. But it's going to be called Rats of NIMH. Boy, I sure can't wait for that one.


skinsman82000 profile image

skinsman82000 7 years ago from Frederick Maryland Author

yeah, me neither....I'm on the edge of my seat.


Ladybird33 profile image

Ladybird33 7 years ago from Georgia USA

You are completely right now that I read your hub and thought about it. You did a great job, very creative and I loved it. Keep writing!


no body profile image

no body 7 years ago from Rochester, New York

I love movies. I don't care if everyone has already given an opinion on it, I'll still watch it. There are a whole boatload of them that I haven't seen. My favorite movies are suspense flicks, whether violent or not, that jumps at you like the first Halloween (original). I love big action flicks that looks smooth and real. A well written script that has lots of hidden inuendo to other films or things, like the Simpson Movie. I love taking my wife to a suspense jumpy film and having her jump into my arms as she's startled. Guess I'm just a romantic, Dont like romance movies. Thanks buddy, enjoyed it.


Billrrrr profile image

Billrrrr 4 years ago from Cape Cod

Great article David. My top rant is sequels. (Nowadays they call them 'franchises'.) I don't like them if they are automatic and most of them are.

The ones I do like are the ones that are pre-planned to actually make them part of the story. The finest examples are the 'Star Wars' films and the 'Back to the Future' features.


skinsman82000 profile image

skinsman82000 4 years ago from Frederick Maryland Author

exactly. Great to find a like minded person out there. Thanks for the comment!


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 4 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Hollywood has certainly run out of ideas. The reality shows have too. Pickers? (people looking for junk) Come on. Pawn Stars? (A place I go to when I'm completely broke) Seriously? And my all time favorite, Hoarders. (unorganized versions of my grandma) Really?

I love Rob Zombie's Halloween (watched it at least 10 times) and I loved all of the Saw movies. In fact, Saw was the only horror movie that I actually liked when the sequel came out. Jason and Michael Myers were BORING after the first one.


skinsman82000 profile image

skinsman82000 4 years ago from Frederick Maryland Author

I actually don't mind American Pickers that much anymore...but more just because I want to go find some diamonds in the rough myself. But I live on the east coast so there isn't anything too old to pick through. Thank you so much for all your comments Lisa.


chspublish profile image

chspublish 4 years ago from Ireland

Like the honesty and clarity of your writing. It's refreshing that you see things for what they are and that you say it so easily. It's great.

All the best.


kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 4 years ago from North Carolina, USA

I don't think that there is necessarily a shortage of ideas--just that people have become lazy and look for the easy way out. It takes a lot of work, for example, to do The Lord of the Rings as opposed to Harold and Kumar go to White Castle.

We writers know that there are still great ideas being generated--but convincing people with money that the general population will actually pay for great stuff is hard when people seem all too willing to settle for bad/mediocre "entertainment."

Great Hub!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Thanks for sharing this interesting, comprehensive hub about movies and your opinions about them. I agree with what you wrote.

Voted up, useful and interesting.


Derdriu 4 years ago

Skinsman82000, What a clear, logical, persuasive presentation of prequels, re-imaginings, remakes, and sequels! In particular, you help those who aren't in the know about such things to understand what each term means. Additionally, you give clear examples for each terms. Many of the films are unfamiliar to me. But I agree that "The Dark Knight" is an example of an effective sequel and that "Batman Begins" an example of an effective re-imagining.

Thank you for sharing,

Derdriu


daisynicolas profile image

daisynicolas 4 years ago from Alaska

I've been bitching about these Hollywood movies for a long time. To a lot of people that hear me say that I prefer to watch foreign films, they think I'm an unAmerican snob, which I am neither. Why do I love foreign movies especially the European ones? Because the stories are original, better and the overall style are ranging from classical to innovative. It's not the same 'Yoohoo, Yahoo.' I'm glad that you've pointed this 'disease.' With all that movie industry money, why can't they be more innovative? Because they rely on the proven "formula." Also, when they do remake the foreign movies, they 'hollywood-y' it. It's painful to watch.


skinsman82000 profile image

skinsman82000 4 years ago from Frederick Maryland Author

thanks for your comments Derdriu. Glad to see someone else you agrees.


skinsman82000 profile image

skinsman82000 4 years ago from Frederick Maryland Author

exactly daisynicolas, I'll take a movie that might not be that good over a proven formula. You know what's going to happen 15 minutes in. What's the point of watching? Thanks for the comment.


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 4 years ago from Northern California

I love MAD MEN and think its excellent..would rather watch that then 90% of what is marketed in movies and TV/good hub!!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

As an actor/director/writer who lives near Hollywood, I agree with you. They prefer producing stuff that's been done before instead of going with something new. Very frustrating for those of us who prefer to work with new ideas. Voting this Up and Interesting.


mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 4 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

I am inclined to agree with you on most of the points you make on this hub, skinsman82000. Great trailer - The Thing (a great movie, in full, too). I'm also a Highlander movie/storyline fan. I know the movies are generally BAD but the mythology created by the first film is interesting and this allowed me to watch sequels. I'm wondering if some of the only really new stuff we'll see out of Hollywood movie makers will be movie depictions of historical events - presented in creative ways, of course. Thanks for sharing your opinions and for presenting some video clips and trailers to emphasize your points.

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