If there is one thing that has remained supremely evident it is that Hollywood, regardless of the heat, never has to leave the kitchen. If there is something that needs handled, the hard cut souls that run the industry manage to work it to their benefit. There will always be the summer blockbuster. We will always have more enhanced visual effects that break new ground year after year. It will continue to become more and more about the profit, and less about the story. So what does that mean for the true fans of the film industry ? Unless we make the change, we're gonna have to get use to it.
Most of the die hard film fans are, like myself, dreamers in the industry still trying to make our way through the gates. We have original stories that will make you feel and characters that can break your heart. This is the same reason we watch film. We want to connect to the characters and relate to the story. An audience wants to take something away that they can learn from. It's not just something we love more than anything, it's what we want to do with our lives. This is who we want to be. Yet every time we win a competition, or get that meeting to talk about our original project it turns into a conversation about one thing: What can you adapt? How can you turn the profit? What's the closest thing to a guarantee that you have?
Every year we see more and more adaptations and reboots. It seems like the new philosophy is: 'If something made a little bit of money in the 80's, it will make a ton of money in the present.' It is well known that Hollywood is an industry and films are about making money, but we've arrived at the point of beating a dead horse. New ideas are stifled by producers and studio heads in order to make talented writers and directors re-hash old stories that are already well known. Our childhood was sacred, but it wasn't ours. All of our favorite characters are owned and therefore will continued to be operated by the machine that is the industry.
The new idea behind the reboot nation is trying to recycle to a new generation of kids. All of the kids that loved these late 80's - early 90's cult phenomenons are now nearing or already are midway through their 30's. Most of that generation now have children of their own and are more likely to take their children to the theatre for some manifested thought of nostalgia that they never quite achieve. It's a business model that we keep buying into. But why?
What if this process was being used as blatantly in the 80's as it is today. Would we even have RoboCop? Would the Turtles ever have gotten their own movie or would they still just be on the paper of an awesome comic book? Could James Cameron still have had the opportunity to create one of the greatest science fictional films of all time in Terminator? Or would those scripts just be words on the page that never got produced because the writer was told, "This is great, original story. We think you're really talented. Now re-write Citizen Kane because everyone loved it and we know we'll make a profit."
Think of how many great things we've missed out on while we watched the failed attempt that was Step Up: All In...or, if you're like me, not watching that and instead getting black out drunk and trying to forget that somebody somewhere thought that was a great idea. I can't get an original horror film made that would change the monster genre as a whole, but White House Down can come out 3 months after Olympus Has Fallen and both of them still closed in on $100 million box-office. It's literally the same movie. WHD, which was the later release, actually made more money. The only thing I can think of is that everyone that paid money to see Olympus Has Fallen recommended White House Down because you get out of theatre 20 minutes sooner and failed to mention Morgan Freeman making his second stint as President. (Let's face it, Freeman trumps Foxx and most others in getting people out of their house and into the theatre.)
How can we ever expect Hollywood to quit producing garbage if we as an audience won't quit over paying for it? And if your next thought is, "Hey man, White House Down was a really good film", then please, by all means, stop reading this article and go watch every Steven Seagal film. You'll love them. While you're at it, look into ALL movies staring Randy Travis because people like you are the ones who should be forced to watch that trash on repeat. The only thing more disappointing than hearing that a horrible re-hash is being done is the heartbreak I feel when I see how much the film grossed. This is usually followed by the announcement of a prequel and/or third installment making it into a trilogy, which is awesome because that means they can re-boot it again in 20 years.
I use to speak out commonly about what was happening to film, and then the studio's started tying political debates to their campaigns to silence anyone who opposes. Take Ghostbusters 3 for example. They're baaaack. Kind of. As in, not at all kind of. But we're trying to make a statement so they're all women now, so it's okay. Anytime I put the idea of a third one down it becomes a battle of the sexes. The original Ghostbuster franchise was something I held very dear to my heart. It was the movie that got me out of cartoons and into the field I now love and prosper in. I have been a fan, literally, all my life. I don't want to see a third one. I never did. Even with the original cast, I'm not into it.
One of the greatest things about the original 2 GB's is that there were only two of them. When you make a third film to a story that was only suppose to be one, you destroy the franchise. This isn't just theory, it is proven time and time again. Terminator 1 & 2? Awesome. The first two Ninja Turtles? Fantastic. Alien was even a more powerful franchise in its first two outings. Then came the third installments and they were just...awful. At least in Alien 3, David Fincher has an actual reason for his turning out the way it did. As a matter of fact, 2 seems to be the number to go with for a film. Short Circuit, Get Shorty, Predator, The Thing and Gremlins are all very strong franchises that settled on a one-two punch. (The Thing sequel is actual a prequel, but it takes place literally the day before the first film. It's genius to do that 34 years later and you should definitely watch them like one big film.)
Ghostbusters already hit 2. And then they stopped. The guys got old and one of them died. It wasn't a good idea to do a third one back then, and it isn't a good idea today. So what do you do when you want to make money off of a franchise who's fans are actually content with the outcome? You do it anyway and attempt to cater to a completely different fan base. You harp on your "all female cast" and try and make it a big deal. It's not. Casting all females isn't a big deal. Unless you think females aren't as deserving as men in which case it's HUGE that it will be all women. Putting a director who is more about himself than his stories isn't a big deal...wait, that last one actually is kind of a big deal.
If you are going to do a re-boot/reimagining you should hand it over to a fan. You don't give to someone who wants to make a statement with it. (That is what spec. scripts are for, reboots are for the fans AND new fans.) Paul Feig should direct GB3 as much as Tina Fey should direct Die Hard 8: Still Kickin'. (I realize there are only 5, but i imagine we will see two more before Miss Fey gets her shot at it.) You give that directing job to a guy like Zack Snyder who, in my opinion, is the only one who could have done Watchmen. He did so flawlessly because he was a fan. It wasn't about him or what he wanted from the franchise. He did it for the fans and he nailed it to the damn wall. Brilliant.
Feig gets the job and the first thing he does is make it about what he wants out of it. When I hear someone go on about how it 'needs' to be done, or chirp in "the original was ALL MALE and no one had a problem with it" I want to find out what they love so I can break their heart too. He's had multiple chances to make his statements with women and was very successful. So why not leave a franchise as loved as dear as the Ghostbusters alone? And why ALL women. Why not three girls and a male? How about a girl, a guy and two actual ghost themselves? That's a great idea, right?
The cast of Sailor Moon is all women. What if a female director turned it into a film and cast all men? Hell, let's take it a step further and make them Pirates. Yeah, that's manly. And instead of the Moon let's use the word Jupiter because it's a bigger planet. Pirate Jupiter. I know what you're thinking, "that sounds like absolute garbage." That's because it is and that is exactly what's happening behind doors in Hollywood. It's more than a little troubling, but Hollywood is so big and powerful how are we to stop them? Especially when they keep giving us everything they think we want? It's simple. We don't pay to see the shit they pump out. If we all band together, we may be able to save some of our favorites.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go write Willow 2 for Peter Dinklage.