I’m following several horror fan pages in Facebook, and one of the many questions that pop up in there (besides the “Where are you from?” and “Who’s single here?” ones) is “Why are there so many movie remakes being done? Is there no longer any imagination?”
Well, considering that practically every major horror franchise I grew up with during the 80’s is being rebooted and made into a new film (the genre has been recently plagued with remakes of Nightmare in Elm Street, Friday the 14th and The Evil Dead; for Heaven’s Sake, they even made one of Fright Night, my second best favorite upbeat vampire movie! Quick! Somebody shoot me before they remake The Lost Boys with Shia LeBeef in it!), this is a fair simple question with an even simpler answer.
The Hollywood guys don’t have the guts to try something new.
You see, making a movie is certainly a risk. When you’re a Hollywood executive, the fate of several hundred million bucks lays in your hands when the time to greenlight a project comes. Film business sounds like fun, but in reality is a nightmare of colossal proportions. You have to deal with the terrible decisions someone else made, last-minute script rewrites, explosive tantrum-throwing diva stars, production problems, a special effect department that didn’t comply with a deadline schedule. Film business is a land where Murphy’s Law reigns supreme. (Sounds a bit like my home country, doesn’t it?)
One of the major problems a movie mogul faces is the possibility that the whole thing may be a turkey or, even if the final product is a real excellent and good movie, that the idiotic masses don’t even cast a glance of acknowledgement in its direction, dying at the box office. Now, don’t feel bad for these guys; they always recoup losses in the international market, TV cable rights and the after-market DVD sales (I suspect that the secret wet dream of some of these guys is to make a cult classic that will keep reaping benefits decades after the majority of people out there has forgot them).
Therefore, movie executives would like to minimize risks to the barest minimum, so they resort to doing a reboot of a formerly successful franchise instead of taking a risk on a completely unknown Intellectual Property (IP from now on; I’m too lazy to type that out every time I need to refer to it 😉 ). They are in the hope that an easily recognizable franchise will draw enough of an audience to pay for the venture and, why not, even make enough money to get some profits to their personal benefit. They expect that by making a new version of, let’s say Nightmare on Elm Street, would bring in the now mature fans along with their teenaged kids, plus a massive gaggle of bored people who hadn’t been yet born at the time when the original film was made. It seems an easy cash cow.
So these days, chances are one in a thousandth that a movie executive will take the risk with a complete unknown in the talent department, with the potential of becoming a major hit if it’s managed properly. Yes, it’s exactly the same as when you overlook my books, not desiring to risk $10 in one of my paperbacks … Now… if you’re not willing to risk $10 (or $2.99 per e-book, for that matter)… why would a Hollywood mogul risk 100 million bucks on a brand new, original potentially franchise-generating movie?
So we’re stuck with remakes of old successful movies. Horror and no-horror ones.
BTW… most of these glorious movie reboots were phenomenally great risks at their time.
That’s what made them so great the first time around. Just food for thought, folks.