Adaption. Remake. Sequel. Presently, everything is either an adaptation or a remake of a story. Along with drawn out franchises with more sequels than needed. News spread across the internet last week that J.J Abrams would be taking the helm for a live action adaptation of the successful anime film Your Name, which dominated theatres in Japan as one of the highest grossing anime films of all time. Of course, Japanese and international fans took to the internet to express their concerns about the possibility of a live action American film in the works. We are all aware of what the outcome has been with American adaptations of films based off Anime and video games. While observing these comments and assessing these factors, I couldn’t help but think to myself…is Hollywood running out of film ideas?
Hollywood executives aren’t running out of ideas. They’re afraid of taking risks on new ideas. Fresh, new ideas are coupled with risks and executives are focused on making “smart decisions”. Instead of giving new writers with new ideas a chance, execs find comfort in green-lighting projects based off franchises or books that have an established audience and success. Therefore, we see an influx of book adaptions, comic and video game films. There is this perception that a form of media with an established audience is going to be easier to advertise, bring in movie goers, and make money. While those are some factors to consider, that doesn’t mean the quality of the film is going to be good, receive critical acclaim, or rack in money. Bad directors are often given more work than necessary despite a bad catalog of films they have worked on. Solely for the reason being that it’s safer to take a chance on a director with a few good films than one fresh out of school.
Take M Night Shyamalan for example, He has a catalog of more horrible than successful films, but that has not halted his career despite the fact. It’s Hollywood politics. While unnerving, that’s the way the business works. This leaves a desire for better storytelling, characters, and quality films. To fulfill this desire for what is missing film buffs are turning to the independent film industry. New writers, producers and directors fresh out of film school are taking chances on creating their own production studios and crowdfunding their own films. The independent film industry has created its own successful empire filling the void for what many look for in movies. It shouldn’t be taken lightly considering they are winning Oscars like the big boys. While we are huge nerds and get just as excited that comics and games are getting the spotlight in cinema, one thing is for certain. Hollywood needs to take a new direction.