3/29/2017 0 Comments
What with the new Ghostbusters being released this week and confirmation that a new Indiana Jones film is going ahead, one that I have only very slightly touched upon. The question "Why do we get reboots, relaunches and unnecessary sequels?" has been b
Especially when my brain follows it with, "Why would you not re-release the original film again in the cinemas?", because I know I'd go see that. Or would I? I'd like to say that I would but hand on heart, I know that I haven't in the past. When a local cinema has decided to celebrate a film by showcasing it again, I've opted out and chose to watch it at home. It's much cheaper to do so and I may not have an IMAX screen to watch it, however don't we all have 32 inch plasma monitors that come with remotes to control both the TV and the sharks in the pool with lasers attached to their heads? You always got a good deal from that BEST BUY in Aintree, while it was there anyway.
I'm not saying no one goes to these re-releases but they don't happen that often. And when they do it's normally with the promise of viewing a new film attached in some way. Cinemas all around my area show all the Marvel movies related to the latest upcoming release in the hours prior. They must sell because they do it with nearly every one, yet if AGE OF ULTRON wasn't on the menu at the end, would anyone of gone last year? Why do we live in an age of reboots and sequels?
Then the 90's happened and we all started going the cinema again. I'm not sure why. Maybe it was for the explosions, scantily clad women and the promise of Will Smith. Or maybe it was the introduction of 500 Multiplex Cinemas across the country, no more screenings selling out. Now you could go in one of the many screens showing the same film. The Americans went the movies even more than they had before. And across the big pond from them, in 1994, Warner Bros.’ The Fugitive' became the first Hollywood film allowed to be shown in China, on a revenue-sharing basis. In fact China said they would allow 20 American films to be shown every year in their country, as long as they met their censorship requirements. There was the universal censorship of grotesque violence and language and then there was the communist censorship of not making China look bad in a film or deviating away from the "chinese dream and ideals", AND they must also not include wronged spirits, violent ghosts, monsters, demons, other inhuman portrayals...oh, and time travel. A bit of a bland palette to be working with isn't it?
Then jump to the early noughties and we all stopped going again. Right? Well...no, actually. I (and I would think a lot of other people) are under the impression we didn't go the cinema as much last decade. That was the impression we got off of TV and news wasn't it? Piracy was rife! Remember those adverts asking you "would you steal a car"? They weren't working! People were stealing cars! And films!! Everyone was stealing films and watching them illegally! Those people that didn't? They had Premium SKY/Cable deals so they could just wait a few months before watching it on TV at home and don't forget that ticket prices were higher than ever! Amazingly, all things considered, we were still going the cinema. In fact, we all went more than we had in the 90's. The British hadn't visited the cinema that much since 1971 and you know what else? It cost as much then too.
122 remakes were released between 2003 to 2012. The average score of all these films on Rotten Tomatoes was 46%, whereas the original films had an average score of 78%. But who gives an artistic flying fuck? The total box office gross of all these remakes was $12 billion! So don't worry about the quality of the film, it's a safe bet it will get greenlit by the execs anyway. The product you're presenting has a pre-existing history, vision and success to build off of. The shareholders will love it! It's hard to say who really is the vampire out of the two parties; the cinema-goers for wanting more and more of the same, or the fat-cats lining their pockets from it without a care for the artistic integrity that followed. I mean take Minions for example. The third in a series of kids films, solely based around the first 2 films minor, speechless side characters. It was clearly going to be the 'JOEY' of cinema and we all went. We bought all the merchandise and memorabilia, we practically filled our Primark's with the stuff. It's not just that though, it's DC and Marvel. It's Star Wars and Alvin and the Chipmunks. We are just ingesting whatever they spew out regardless of its lack of originality or quality and I'm not sure why. There is a massive surge in original cinematic releases too, yet I just never hear anyone talking about going to see these films; Ex Machina, Sing Street, Nice Guys, Sicario, Spotlight etc. It's like we're afraid of an original idea. So if we're all buying the tickets to these films, why is the general consensus amongst our culture that there is too many reboots/sequels? It's like Nickelback, if no one likes them, who the fuck is buying their albums and gig tickets? Whereas us British are still going the cinema in droves, the Americans aren't. 2014 had the lowest amount of cinema tickets sold since 1995 in America and that's a problem, as they're the majority that Hollywood needs to fill its cinema seats right? Wrong.
Remember China? Well back in 2007, the USA moved to have more than just 20 films shown in China every year. This meant that Hollywood began greenlighting movies and shaping them for the bigger audience that was yet to come, and in 2012 it came. China agreed to show 32 films a year. 32 films that had to meet that bland palette I mentioned earlier. Now I want to make this very clear, in no way am I saying Chinese cinema itself is bland, far from it. They're stories and films are extremely imaginative, full of original ideas and visualisations. Yet I would like you to remember that a chinese film has no problem conveying its story to its chinese audience as there are no cultural or linguistic boundaries holding it back. Director and viewer are on the same wavelength so a much broader artistic approach can be undertaken when directing and filming their movies. However, Hollywood in China is like a Brummy in the south of Spain trying to order a fish supper in a local restaurant. They don't know the lingo, they're out their depth and they need to go about the simplest forms of communication to get what they want. Because of this it's much easier for Hollywood to just play it safe. Safe sequels and franchises are as easy to push as vodka to Paul Gascoigne but unlike him, they will definitely meet the censorship requirements.
You know what else sells well in China? Remakes. Remember, China didn't see anything until 1994 so they have missed out on decades of cinematic gold. However, they don't want to watch the originals. The quality of the footage is dated and remember those censorship requirements I mentioned? Do you think they meet them? The profit margin is a lot larger if they remake a film rather than re-release it as well remember. In fact Hollywood and China are working together more than ever before. Early in Transformers 4, for example, Mark Wahlberg sends a drone to retrieve money from an ATM in Texas. The debit card in the scene is from the Chinese Construction Bank and Chinese audiences would have seen that. But the image flies by so quickly that non-Chinese audiences may not have even noticed there are Chinese characters on the card! And it's no wonder this is all happening. China is expected to become the world's largest film market next year. They are selling more movie tickets than the U.S. and the U.S. have 5 times as many cinemas per capita than them In 2015 they were building on average 22 new cinema screens a day. They have over 250 IMAX cinemas and the Chinese love 3D! It's massive over there! It's not just China, Russia are getting in on the action too. That new Ice Age film no one asked for? It's predicted to be HUGE in Russia. The fucking Ruski's love it. Who would have thought that the Russians could relate to an icy cold world, where a sabre toothed squirrel is endlessly trying to hold on to the only asset it owns whilst the world (unbeknownst to it) is constantly in a state of apocalypse?
By Jay Burdett What do you think? Let me know on Facebook/TalkNerdyUK or on Twitter @TalkNerdyUK