January 12, 2024

Has the movie industry transformed into a risk-averse machine?

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Justin Sau in Hong Kong, China

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Christopher Nolan's 2005 'Batman Begins', starring Christian Bale, rebooted the Batman film series.

Picture: Theatrical release poster | Warner Bros. Pictures

Imagine a world where the only movies, books, and TV shows are remakes of remakes.

There is no such thing as creativity anymore. Sounds like a cool, original idea, doesn’t it? That’s exactly how you know no movie studio will make a movie about it.

The latest wave of reboot and spinoff announcements, including ‘Wonka’, ‘The Exorcist’, and even ‘Snow White’, has reignited debate surrounding the alarming lack of creativity that has left some people asking where have all the original ideas gone?

Hollywood’s reliance on nostalgia has become an all-too-familiar tactic, and there’s no denying it works. Movies like ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and TV series like ‘Fuller House’ have reinforced the idea that revisiting familiar territory is the ticket to commercial success.

What’s fueling the relentless trend of reboots, however? Is it fear? Have financial pressures transformed the movie industry into a risk-averse machine?

The hesitation to greenlight innovative and untested projects is intertwined with the financial pressures faced by studios.

The fear of investing significant resources in projects that may not resonate with audiences or achieve box office success leads the higher-ups to gravitate towards recycled, familiar formulas.

This risk-averse mindset perpetuates the cycle of reboots and remakes, providing a sense of security in a world rife with financial pitfalls.

The recent Writer’s Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) strikes have placed more strain on this tense financial situation.

Yet instead of emphasising even more safety wariness, the strikes have highlighted the need for a more supportive industry ecosystem that nurtures creativity and encourages the exploration of original ideas. However, the industry’s resistance to taking risks and the prevailing scepticism towards untested projects continue to hinder the development of fresh narratives.

The recent uptick in reboots and franchises isn’t just a trend; it is evidence of creative stagnation. For every ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ and ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’, there’s another ‘Saw X’ and ‘Fast X’. It’s as if imagination is slowly suffocating under the unbearable weight of too many soulless remakes.

Yet, it is precisely the original and daring films that have proven to be the lifeblood of the industry, garnering widespread acclaim from audiences and critics.

These creative ventures, whether they explore new genres, challenge societal norms, or present unheard stories, are essential for the sustainability of film.

It's time for Hollywood to remember that taking risks and nurturing originality are the keys to its longevity.

Yet, perhaps the audience is perpetuating this ‘reboot fever’. Are we complicit in this cycle of unoriginality? For all my complaints, I will probably be one of the first to buy tickets for the next ‘Superman’ movie.

As the tsunami of reboots and remakes continues to threaten to overwhelm us, it’s crucial to recognize the consequences of this trend. While nostalgia can provide moments of joy and familiarity, it should not be a substitute for genuine creativity.

It’s time for cinema to break free from the reboot fever and embrace the power of originality.

Written by:

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Justin Sau

Contributor

Hong Kong, China

Born in 2007, Justin studies in Hong Kong at HKIS. Fluent in English and Mandarin, Justin is interested in journalism, English literature, history, and sports.

For Harbinger’s Magazine, he writes on a range of different topics such as environmental issues and current events.

Edited by:

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Megan Lee

Culture Section Editor

Hong Kong | United Kingdom

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