When I worked in publishing, the first question we asked before taking on any new project was, “Can we sell it to our current market?” That was the primary consideration. There were other factors, like subject matter (I once nixed a project that purported to teach people how to commit murder with a knife, for example); originality of the topic; quality of the manuscript/author presentation; etc. But it was always about how many copies we could sell.
But for politically-motivated agitprop projects that consistently fail, Hollywood is no different. It exists to make money, not art. As an adult, you know this.
With that in mind, all the “Dear Hollywood: Stop making reboots/remakes” letters and think pieces and podcasts have got to end. They’re a gigantic waste of time. These reboots make Hollywood money, so it’s crazy to ask an exec to make do with a smaller paycheck because you want more originality in your video entertainment. The execs look at sales figures and make their production decisions based on how much green they can rake in. As a heartless, malignant uber-capitalist, I applaud them. They’ve got a working business model.
So, like it or not, the Era of Remakes is upon us, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Wait. Actually, there is.
It’s not enough to refuse to watch the remakes, the reboots, the reimaginings. They’re uniformly terrible anyway. If you really want the Hollywood panjandrums to offer original material, you’re also going to have to eschew the gigantic franchises: Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel superheroes, DC superheroes. Not only are these franchises way past their sell-by date, but they suck all the air out of the room for anything else. There is nothing less imaginative or original than another Avengers movie or Star Wars prequel, most of which were written to entertain children (or adults trying to regain that elusive sense of childhood wonder in their middle years).
Hollywood’s doing nothing wrong. They’re giving you what you want. What you have to do is tell them that you want something different. The problem isn’t Hollywood: the problem is you. You, as the paying customer, have to make a specific and deliberate change in your entertainment choices if you want something other than Captain America movies. And that’s to stop seeing Captain America movies.
What I can’t believe is the number of content creators who spoon up the big franchise pablum themselves, not considering the idea that in doing so they’re pushing themselves out of the marketplace. People don’t go indie because they love working with tiny budgets and minimal distribution: they go indie, in part, because the bigger studios want franchise pieces that will guarantee a larger return. Makes sense, right? Why should Hollywood go out on a limb producing your unproven stuff when the viewing public will watch anything as long as Iron Man’s in it?
People like what they like and that’s fine. Nobody’s policing your entertainment choices. But you can’t complain about lack of imagination/originality when you’re supporting the very system that produces unimaginative, unoriginal pap. Particularly if you’re trying to get your own name out there.
This is your culture. Take the reins and steer it someplace else.