Has Hollywood become devoid of creativity? It seems as if every other film released these days is a Hollywood movie remake. The problem is, of course, that while Hollywood peddles in art, moviemaking is first and foremost--and always has been--a business.
No news there.
But while Hollywood used to be run by moguls who were film people first, today's slate of studio chiefs tend to be MBAs, business people who do not originate from the creative side of the industry. Great for the bottom line, perhaps--at least in the stockholders' perspectives--but not for great, innovative, "different" filmmaking. Couple the change in backgrounds of the head honchos with the ever escalating costs of making a Hollywood studio film (mid-budget films have all but disappeared and small budgets are now the domain of independent production companies) and we find an increasingly risk averse executive population on the studio lots. Enter the Hollywood movie remake, the big-budget the sequel, the genre film you have seen umpteen times previously.
With the pressure to turn a profit on each and every eight- or nine-figure investment, the studio head mentality when picking what projects can be broken down into two distinct elements. Firstly, audiences already like this film (or type of film), so give it to them again. And again. And again. Ad infinitum. Secondly, branding, branding, branding. A Hollywood movie remake or sequel is a known quantity. Based on already extant material, audiences know what to expect, what they are buying, what they are consuming. Less is required to sell the film to film goers.
The first, in many ways, is insulting to the movie viewing public. The second is Marketing 101.
Not surprisingly, there are secondary concerns that can factor in the decision to remake a movie. All economic, of course, but different considerations nonetheless. One example is owned properties and remake rights, which may be cheaper than purchasing new material--especially when taking into account the aforementioned recognition factors.
The sad thing is, the head honchos are frequently wrong. Many a Hollywood movie remake bombs, largely since it fails to live up to the original (sequels fare better due to the films furthering the tales of characters with new exploits). Remakes, sequels and repetitive genre films simply do not challenge audiences. Hollywood strives to appeal to everybody, hence making films that can be accessed by the lowest common denominator, but in the process the industry loses track of producing quality product.
As frustrating as this situation is for the movie watchers, it is many times such for the Hollywood creative community. For the most part, the creatives, as much as they may understand and may appreciate the "business of the business", still desire to make art first. But a job is a job and if a remake is all the studio is willing to finance... you get the picture.
So, next time you watch a Hollywood movie remake, do not blame the filmmakers. The money crunchers above them have devolved their craft into repetitive drivel. Misguided it may be, but the actuality of the industry it is.