Movie biz sinks

Movie biz sinks

by Stephanie Peng, staff writer

No, the movie industry hasn’t run out of ideas. But yes, it does intend to milk as much cash as possible out of an old idea before investing in a new one.

In the past few years, there has been an awfully high number of sequels, remakes, and re-releases of old movies in 3D hitting the theaters. Recent examples include “The Great Gatsby,” “Jurassic Park IV,” the “Lion King 3D,” and “Footloose.”

And the saddest part is, although originality might be in a huge decline, ticket sales aren’t. The movie industry caters to its audience, so the decline in original movies shows a decline in public taste more than anything.

People don’t go to the movies to be enlightened with revolutionary ideas. They go to be distracted and entertained, which is easily fulfilled by a predictable combination of familiar titles, cool special effects, and beautiful actors.

Big movie producers know this, and assume that tickets will sell well enough for a movie idea that has already been established by prior advertising and viewership. Why risk spending the money on something the public might not even like?

Reworking elements of old hits into new movies is a way to ensure success. Don’t get me wrong, original movies do exist, but most eventually die out as an “indie film.” This is because most small, independent producers don’t have enough resources to go mainstream, which then forces fresh new writers to conform to mainstream Hollywood in order to succeed, and on goes the cycle of unoriginal movies.

Presented with such limited choices, most people are guilty of seeing a movie for the sake of familiarity. The tacky sequels of “Pirates of the Caribbean” wouldn’t have stood a chance individually in the box offices, had the public not already been familiar with Captain Jack Sparrow. But the promise of seeing more of Sparrow’s hilarious personality has helped sell four sequels to date.

The recent revival of Disney movies capitalize on a different kind of familiarity. Titanic is also coming to theaters in 3D later this spring, another classic that the movie industry hopes will win the nostalgia, and wallets, of moviegoers.

If you are looking for something fresh and different, consider renting a movie you’ve never heard of in support of the dying breed of producers with integrity.