Sequels. Or prequels. Or remakes. Whichever you prefer.
The upcoming movie trends for 2011 and 2012 almost certainly seem like the death of the original idea. There are some rebels in the crowd that are sharpening their swords and charging into battle against this notion, but they are few and far between.
Christopher Nolan recently threw 'Inception' into the game, a critic and audience favorite alike, earning a high 82% rating on rottentomatoes.com and cashing in $292 million in local box office receipts. Yet, just two years prior, his smash hit, "The Dark Knight," had a 94% average rating and garnered $533 million domestically. Even the fighters for unique content throw their hats into the ring with the current upcoming movie trends. Nolan's, "The Dark Knight Rises," has just as much potential to strike gold, the third in his trilogy.
J.J. Abrams, the creator of Lost, is an A-list proponent of unique and original ideas. The said television show is a standout that can never be repeated. His upcoming film, "Super 8," draws upon his inner Spielberg (who is also producing the film) for an original creature flick that hasn't been truly showcased since the 80's. And yet he got his start with Mission Impossible: III. Not even II. Just jumped right into III. And of course there is the "Star Trek" remake, a critical and financial success. The sequel to that remake is also on the horizon.
For every genuine new idea, there are at least three prequel/sequel/remakes being created. Let's take a look at the rest of the summer for 2011:
X-Men: First Class, Super 8, Green Lantern, Mr. Popper's Penguins, Cars 2, Bad Teacher, Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, Larry Crowne, Horrible Bosses, Zookeeper, Harry Potter 7 part 2, Winnie the Pooh, Captain America, Cowboys and Aliens, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Smurfs, Final Destination 5, Conan the Barbarian.
It's a startling list. Twelve of the eighteen movies listed are either sequels, prequels, or remakes from comic books, literary works, or television shows. That's a 66% domination that the upcoming movie trends for 2011 and 2012 hold over Hollywood and its film production. Frankly, that's devastating news for screenwriters attempting to get into the field. You're of course welcome to write your own sequel, but 9 times out of 10, that distinction will be awarded to either the previous writer or someone established in the industry. So to write a sequel, you need to write the original work. To write the original work, you need to squeeze into the 33% of unique ideas that are being produced in the upcoming years. It's a rough cycle.
It's not all bad news though. Sequels prove box office hits, rejuvenating the industry and allowing them to take more risks with original ideas. As Hollywood has been in a slump for the past few years, it's obvious why so much dependence is placed on sequels. It's a proven way to make money, even if the film is a critical punching bag. So for the upcoming movie trends of 2011 and 2012, expect a boat load of sequels and prequels. 2013 though, with the money that studios attain from the remakes, Hollywood will be able to take risks once again. I wouldn't be surprised to find more and more original ideas picking their heads out of the sand and truly proving their worth.