“Hollywood has run out the ideas.”
People just love saying the sentence noted above whenever a sequel, reboot or remake is announced. And we don’t just say this for movies. The statement applies to television shows and video games, too. Well, not the “Hollywood” part but you get the idea. We all claim we want new and original properties.
But do we really? I mean, the companies that produce them stop if they keep on making money. We say we’re sick and tired of recycled and continuing storylines but the general public continue to patronize them. If we’re so fed up with sequels as we claim, remakes and reboots, why do we always buy them?
We know Hollywood and the video game industry are being lazy by rehashing them. But why should they bother being creative when they can still make tons of money by repeating their previous successes? Because, deep down, we love sequels, reboots and remakes! Well, maybe “love” is too strong a word. Rather, we’re more comfortable with them.
As an example, let’s take a look at the video game side of things. In 2009, two high profile games were released. We got Beyond Good & Evil, a totally new IP (intellectual property) starring Jade, a young photojournalist, who intends to use her martial arts skills and photography skills to expose an alien conspiracy. In the same year, we also got Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (what a mouthful). Once again, you get to play Lara Croft as she… doesn’t explore tombs. Instead, Lara Croft has been framed for the murder of her mentor and tries to clear her name.
Now, Beyond Good & Evil received critical acclaim from a lot of review sites. The Angel of Darkness was critically panned. So, guess which game sold more copies. The game from the Tomb Raider franchise, of course! Comparing the PlayStation 2 versions of the game, The game that almost destroyed a franchise sold 1.25 million copies worldwide while the excellent new property only sold a measly 33,000 copies worldwide! How did the God-awful Angel of Darkness outsell the fantastic Beyond Good & Evil by such a huge margin?
It’s because we already know Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider games. We’re already familiar with the series. And, if you liked the previous games, you’d be more inclined to purchase the latest Tomb Raider game… even with one with such a dubious reputation of almost destroying a well-established franchise!
Whenever we see something familiar, we’re instantly drawn to it. It doesn’t matter if we have good or bad memories about it, as long as we know it, we’ll probably take a look at it. The reason is actually simple: a lot of us don’t like change. Change is scary and the world around us keeps on changing whether we like it or not. So, if something new comes along, we’re a little hesitant to buy into it.
We also have to remember the saying: there’s no such thing as bad press. Take a good look at the live-action Transformers movies. When the first few screenshots of the robots were released, there was a massive outrage from fans as they didn’t resemble the look from the cartoon. And these fans took to the Internet to express their anger. Whether or not this reaction was warranted or not (it was, by they way), people who haven’t ever heard of the Autobots or Decepticons suddenly became aware of the franchise. The anger that spilled onto the Internet pushed the live-action Transformers into the public consciousness!
Also, guess what? These sequels, reboots and remakes are going to be new to some people. Some of them will watch them with wide-eyed innocence and fall in love with these rehashes. They’ll probably think it’s much better than the original. They’d be wrong, of course. But that’s not the point. In the movie, television and video game world, lightning can definitely strike twice. If one thing’s a hit, others will try to duplicate it. This is why we see a lot of movies and televisions shows that are based on comics and why there’s a lot of military first person shooters.
But that doesn’t mean that we’re always going to be stuck in this rut. There are still some new things that are being released everyday. They don’t receive as much mainstream press as the more recognizable products but they are still there. Maybe, just maybe, one of these underground classics will become a big hit and become accepted by the general popular.
Then 10 years later, they’ll decide to make a remake of whatever that is. Hey, you can’t fight “progress.”
What’s your take on sequels, remakes and reboots? Let me know in the comments section below!