Why are there fewer original films being released?

By Max Gruber
Published: September 20, 2022 (Last updated: May 22, 2023)

In recent years, many questions have arisen in the minds of avid film watchers, one of which is “why does Hollywood keep remaking movies?”. Recently, sequels and reboots have been on the rise, with a lot of Disney live action movies being made, reboots of beloved movies decades after original release, and of course, the beloved Spiderman torch being passed on to numerous actors. 

It seems that Hollywood loves to create sequels for films that performed the best at the box office, maybe as a money grab or an attempt to reboot the franchise or fanbase of a once loved film. So, why are there so many Disney remakes, and what makes Hollywood so keen to reboot certain films? Read on to find out. 

Why are there so many movie sequels and reboots?

Watching the success of a film is probably the catalyst for Hollywood to decide on a sequel, as they hope the success of the first film is continued into the second. Perhaps Hollywood knows that rebooting a film franchise or making a sequel is a safe option, as they know that the franchise still has loyal fans, so they’re not just throwing a new original film into the dark and hoping it gets watched. 

In the case of Disney, who recently decided to create live action remakes of their original cartoon films, their fanbase are more likely to watch remakes as they feel a certain sense of nostalgia when watching. According to Insider, “Disney was able to deliver something nostalgic for fans of the originals while offering something new for young children, many of whom may be children of fans who grew up with the originals.” Similarly with Marvel, in the case of Spiderman, which was first released in 2002, as it is a well loved franchise it makes sense to reboot it as the fans grow older as the nostalgia is still there for many. 

However, there comes a point when remaking movies constantly becomes monotonous, and begins to depict Hollywood in a negative light. From IMD, Professor Knut Haanaes and Michael Sorell state that, “Hollywood’s déjà vu problem illustrates how many other industries and organizations struggle to resist the temptation of overexploiting successful but fleeting opportunities while under-exploring and not coming up with new ideas and concepts. This is one of the key dilemmas of innovation.” 

The appeal of prequels

If a film is especially popular, a prequel may be necessary to explain certain character backstories or how they came to be where they are in the original film. However, when does a prequel stop becoming a chance to explain more aspects of the film, and turn into more of a cash grab or exploitative tool by Hollywood?

Sometimes, prequels can stand alone in their own right, although connected to a larger franchise, for example ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,’ which has had three sequels so far although it originally served as a prequel to Harry Potter. When prequels get their own sequels, everything starts to become a little complicated.

Originals vs remakes

It appears, in recent years, that remakes and reboots have become the more popular choice for Hollywood and Disney. Disney has favoured this trend especially, with the vast majority of its recent films either being connected to an existing franchise or a live action remake of a previous film. 

In 2020, Digg.com reported from findings that, “the percentage of original movies has gradually shrunk since 1978. Non-original movies now make up a hefty proportion of the highest-grossing movies at the box office, and last year, the top five highest-grossing movies were, in order, “Avengers: Endgame,” “The Lion King,” “Frozen II,” “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and “Captain Marvel.” The films are all from Disney, which suggests that Disney is the biggest contributor to remakes or sequels than any other company. 

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