Summer is finally here. Time to work on that farmer’s tan, throw another shrimp on the barbie, and escape the blistering heat by retreating to the confines of your local air conditioned cineplex. There’s always been something inherently nostalgic about the summer movie season. Maybe it’s because every major Hollywood studio rolls out their most awe-inspiring visual spectacles, hoping to cash in on your minds being blown. It’s no secret that the summer is the time of year that every major Hollywood studio banks on. It’s the time of year that pays for studio executives’ summer homes in Santa Barbara and their Aston-Martin convertibles to drive there in. I have no objection to the studios wanting to make money. It’s like any other business, and we live an inherently capitalis society. But if you check the marquee at your local cineplex, you will be hard pressed to find original, groundbreaking summer fare like Jurassic Park, Independence Day, or Jaws. No, we now live in the age of the remake and sequel, leaving many theater goers left wondering, “are there no original movie ideas left in the world?”
Let me assure you concerned movie watcher, there are original movie ideas left in the world, you just have to search a lot harder to find them than you should have to. Between May and August, there will be 12 movies released by major Hollywood studios that are either remakes or sequels, and that’s not including the films that are adaptations of either a video game or a comic book. That number to me is staggering, and it paints a pretty clear picture: Hollywood has stopped taking risks. Rather than take a gamble on a new, fresh, creative script, it’s much easier to greenlight Shrek 4 because it’s a tried-and-tested franchise that the studio knows will do gangbusters at the box office. That being said, there are films like Inception and Splice that manage to sneak through the iron curtain of banality that is the 2010 summer movie season. Even Splice (2,450 screens = $7 million opening weekend), an indie film distributed by a major studio, never got anywhere near the exposure of say The Karate Kid remake (5,400 screens = $56 opening weekend.)
As much as I’d like to blame the studios for catering to the lowest common denominator, it’s ultimately our fault that Hollywood keeps churning out the same recycled product year after year. We have no one to blame but ourselves for continuing to fork over $12 to see Sex in the City 2: Electric Boogaloo. So when you need sanctuary from the dog days of this summer, make the extra effort to bypass the remakes/sequels and keep searching for something truly unique and creative. After all, the arts were always intended to be the constant pursuit of original creativity, but somewhere along the way that notion has fallen by the wayside. If we don’t put our collective movie-watching feet down, next summer we will be plagued with Titanic 2, “Jenga” the Movie, and the remake of Howard the Duck, and trust me… nobody wants that.
Check out these sites to further your pursuit of true creativity in the entertainment industry:
http://trailers.apple.com/ (Where the good, bad, and the ugly of movie trailers are posted.)