Monday, March 7, 2011

2011: The Year of the Remake/Sequel

Apparently, the Chinese got it wrong: it's not the Year of the Rabbit, but the Year of the Remake/Sequel. Admittedly, their calendar is very old and might not have an animal to cover "remakes." Hmmm... maybe the Year of the Donkey counts?

The people at The AV Club put out a nice recap of 2011's coming remakes and sequels. But The AVC did more than just point to the Box Office Mojo article on the topic. They also used /Film's own article to put together the list. The tally is pretty staggering.

30 movie sequels and remakes is the conservative estimate. As it stands, 2011 will break records for the most #4 or #5 entries in a series in one year. A lot of these pictures seem like "blockbusters," whether or not they deserve the term.

I mean, "Harry Potter 7b" is one thing, but really, "Johnny English Reborn?" Rowan Atkinson is great, but the first film (from 2003!?) was critically reviled. Still, it made $160M, and that's really all that matters.

Frankly, the foreign, rental, and dvd markets mean that even utter garbage can clear $100M. This does not encourage quality. On the other hand, Futurama is back for 2 more seasons after Fox effectively crippled (then killed) it.

The closing snark from The AV Club article covers it nicely. But if I had to add my own two cents, it' s this: no creativity is likely to spring up from a world where major motion pictures are greenlit on the same principle that created "From Dusk til Dawn," numbers 2 and 3.

No one could find a good word to say about those straight-to-DVD/cable disasters. I've seen "B" and "C" movies that try hard, but the 2nd picture was lifeless (I know, I know...). Yet vampires are popular, and the flix were cheap to make, and really, getting back $15k on a $12k investment is still a profit. Even if you need to bathe thoroughly after.

I had too much respect for my time to watch the 3rd movie. Considering how much movie production has shot up in the last spell - at least over the dvd market - I think it's fine to judge things I haven't seen. Especially if I've checked out a few reviews. Take a stroll through Netflix' horror selection.

Hell, I've seen Waxwork and Lifeforce; those might've been (and were) films. But Transylmania? I don't care if it's homo-erotic. No. Just no. And I say the same to Zombie StrippersQueen of the Damned,  and Leprechaun 5: In the Hood. Let's switch genres...

While Autumn in New York might not be a movie I want to watch, I should be reserved in my opinions about it. It just isn't the same with movies like Anger Management, or The Bounty Hunter, or Robin Williams' career implosion. I won't blame you for trusting reviews on Porky's II: The Next Day. Maybe you're curing cancer or caring for a sick relative...

You expect studios to protect their financial standing. You expect them to seek out profits, and to make decisions that will benefit their balance sheets, if nothing else. Still, Hollywood puts a lot of effort into garbage. But they also try so hard to appeal to the child-like dreams of its audience - to a desire to be entertained, or see the impossible, or briefly escape their real-world problems.

If you're going to appeal to my sense of nostalgia (or boredom), then you have to do a lot better than "Fast Five," "Final Destination 5," and "Rise Of The Apes." The only good thing I've heard about the "Fast Furious" series is a joke DJ and I share. The first "FD" was fantastic, but I didn't bother with the 3rd entry; the 2nd one killed it for me completely. And Tim Burton's atrocious "Apes" reboot should haunt him forever.

No we don't get "movie magic," not even some mild satisfaction for the viewer, just an insulting game of 1+1=$... On a practical level, I don't care if there's a 3rd Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. I just hate seeing the standards lowered for future movie-goers.

I also despise shoddy, cheap grabs at money. Parents should have something better to enjoy with their children than "Cars 2." While Pixar is magnificent movie production house, the first "Cars" was not up to the standards of their other work. So I can't imagine being optimistic for its sequel.

This post was supposed to go up 3 weeks ago, really, but I found more pressing stuff to cover. In the end, I preferred being 1st to post about Streaming changes at Netflix, and then 1st again about Amazon Instant Video; it's better than being the 7th (or 90th) writer to address this news piece. Funny thing, tho - even AICN didn't discuss 2011's remake orgy until Saturday the 20th - and they only mentioned it in passing.

That's all for now. I'll have something for you in two.


  1. You're right, 2011 is going to be a very unoriginal year for Hollywood... I have a feeling I won't be seeing many films in the cinema's this year. What with all the superhero films (which I dislike) and the alien invasion ones (which I also dislike) and all the remakes/sequels not to mention prequels, such as The Think prequel. Not a very promising year.
    Great post, very well written!

  2. Thanks a lot, Jack! I appreciate it.

    I have enjoyed superhero and alien invasion films, but I skip ones without "serious" directors/writers - Proyas, Nolan, Singer... They give the best odds for a rewarding movie.

    I'm pretty unimpressed by the buzz for 2011, too. I predict this will be a good year for me to watch new foreign films and catch up on classics I've missed. I'm watching Jean-Luc Godard's "Contempt" this week...

  3. I'm on two minds on the subject of remakes/sequels. The first mind agrees with you, or at least wants to (hell, I saw Terminator: Salvation in theaters, so who am I to talk?).

    The second mind says this: money talks. Now, you might be exempt from this, but a lot of the people I hear bitching about remake/sequelitis are the same people that see said films. Take me, for example - you won't hear me bitching too much about them because I'm guilty at times, as well. But until we all stop supporting the nonsense, it will surely continue.

  4. Actually, I haven't been watching any of the remakes, reboots, or sequels - not unless I specifically mention it. No John Rambo, Rocky 12, or Terminator Salvation. I just wait for the reviews and figure out if they sound like something I want to watch.

    The answer is almost always a big fat "could spend your time better," and I try to go with that.

    Still you're right, money talks, and movies are usually (and of necessity) about making $.

    Thanks for the comment!


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