The Sequels Continue

A recent article in the Hollywood Reporter proclaimed triumphantly, "The motion picture industry is back on course. "

Sorry, but I beg to differ.

The article explains that a report from the Motion Picture Association sent to industry executives states that revenue from all forms of media - including home video, television, theatrical and pay TV - expanded by 8% in 2006 to reach $42.6 billion.

Well that may be all fine and dandy, but it doesn't mean that the industry is cranking out a better quality product.

In 1904, you could watch a flick for only five cents (hence the name "nickelodeon"). And I am sure that back then there were people that argued that this was too much to pay for so little entertainment. I'll bet there were folks that said, "That Buster Keaton is a hack. He couldn't act his way out of a paper bag, I tell ya." etc.

Movie ticket prices have more than doubled in price in the last 60 years. Economists will argue that the depreciation of the dollar and other factors are to blame, but I wonder if it’s based more on greed than anything else.

Hollywood still subscribes to a philosophy I like to call "lowest common denominator entertainment." In other words, they make a film that will cater to the simplest of minds, throwing lots of CGI and special effects around, but ignoring what should be the most important part of any film: its script. The script is the foundation for the film. Without it, you just have lots of whiz-bang special effects. But that doesn’t seem to matter much, as audiences continue to pack movie theaters to see the latest remake or sequel with little regard to the quality of the story.

Now more than ever, it seems brutally obvious that Hollywood has either run out of new ideas, or is paranoid about making anything original. This is due to the huge risk for the studio in pouring millions of dollars into making a film that nobody will see. Instead, the studios figure if a film made money once, it will make money again and again and again, no matter how many times we see the same story with the same characters doing the same thing.

For example, so far the box office race in the coveted "Summer movie season" consists of a sequel to a comic book adaptation of a bunch of superheroes (Fantastic Four), beating the third sequel of a remake of a bad 1960 adventure vehicle for the Rat Pack (Ocean's Thirteen), which previously beat the third sequel of a film adapted from a ride at Disneyland (Pirates of the Caribbean), which beat the third sequel of a computer animated ogre (Shrek), which beat the third sequel of yet another comic book adaptation (Spiderman).

And coming soon, a fourth "Die Hard", a third "Rush Hour", a third "Resident Evil", a fourth "Saw", a second "National Treasure" and a second sequel based on the characters from two different movies "Alien vs Predator." And that's just this year.

Creativity and originality have taken a back seat to carefully constructed marketing tactics while the movie-watching audience is too busy shoving fat down its throats to even notice. And while ticket prices have steadily increased, the quality of what is projected on that big white screen has not.

Most films released today are still crap, we're just paying more for them than we did a year ago.

1 comment:

J_Jammer said...

Ha. I read that and was like oh I like some of the sequels though...sadness. But yeah I agree with you that they seem to be running dry on ideas and they just are so lucky to have hit the gambit with the comic books but they can only last them so long as can the sequel making. I have some fresh ideas. I do. But I don't know anyone in Hollywood that can get me a listening ear. ha.

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