Complaining about how all we see at the movie theater are remakes of movies that were popular a few decades ago has become part of the status quo. However, the problem may be worse than we think: with the number of movies based off of books, set up as sequels to other films and otherwise based off of intellectual property already in play, it’s very rare for something truly new to make it into theaters.
It’s not that there aren’t incredible original ideas out there — you only need to take a tour of a few video-sharing sites to know otherwise. Rather, big movie makers are less willing to take risks on film projects and are waiting to see what ideas can show that they are already a success.
This approach has already proven useful in book publishing: when a self-published book becomes popular, a publishing house can assume that it will sell even more copies if some proper marketing is applied to the situation. Consider “Shades of Grey” which found plenty of buyers (an estimated 250,000) when the author self-published it, but sold 90 million copies after Random House publisher snapped it up. For the big publishers, whether of books or movies, that sort of huge win needs to be relatively commonplace, just to keep the wheels in motion.
Looking for projects that have already proven themselves mitigates risk for those big publishers. The biggest companies have no option but to take advantage of those opportunities. More and more, we’re going to see self-publishing turn into a proving ground. Producers’ assistants won’t sort through piles of scripts; they’re watch YouTube every spare minute they have, hoping to bring their bosses a webisode series with an established audience of 10 million viewers — that’s what major film companies will start bringing to the big screen (and likely to smaller screens as well).
And it can’t happen soon enough for me. I disapprove of certain reboots — “Murder She Wrote” does not need to be remade, especially since “Castle” fills the nosy-author-solving-crimes niche quite nicely. But, more than anything, I’m interested in seeing new stories and ideas.