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Remaking movies is a classic Hollywood practice

BY MARY SIRING
OU News Bureau

Hollywood in recent years has created a Reboot Empire with sequels and remakes.

Just the past two years has fostered reboots and dupes such as “Jurassic World,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “It,” and a continuing series of novel adaptations and Disney live action reworks.

Recycling movies is nothing new.

“It’s a very long trend that has been happening for 80 years,” said Kyle Edwards, an associate professor of cinema at Oakland University. “Film studios have been adapting, remaking and rebooting film and film franchise for many, many years.”

Beginning as early as 1900, rebooting was becoming a film trend.

Nathan Koob

“Right from the jump in silent cinema, there have been thoughts of recreating scenes from famous novels or from famous plays,” said Nathan Koob, a special lecturer of cinema at Oakland University. “As films got longer and longer, doing entire plays and famous novels became a more popular practice.”

Hollywood studios in the ’30s and ’40s would often recreate films because they would already have had invested money in writing a screenplay for a movie and developing characters. Those costs are often lower, too, in terms of story development.

The ’80s and ’90s fostered the sequel era.

“When you look back and you see action movies, you see endless ‘Rambos’ and ‘Lethal Weapons’ and ‘Die Hards,’ ” Koob said. “We still have that, but we have more remakes than we’ve had before and we have this conception of the reboot.”

The remake today

Contemporary films don’t quite rely on sequels, but rather on buildable franchises that foster not just the release of another movie, but also the release of a whole range of supporting products and marketing options.

Kyle Edwards

“Now film studios are so large and part of these large conglomerates,” Edwards said. “Where if you release the new ‘Spiderman’ film, you aren’t just releasing a new film for people to see but also launching or relaunching a bunch of different products that often times make just as much if not more money for the studio.”

Around the time of the new “Spiderman” release, Target will market wrapping paper, toys and DVDs. The film is a piece of the puzzle to promote the expanse of products, and the products a piece that promotes the film.

The next building block of contemporary film is the growing sequel network, especially considering the film narrative that has been developing.

“Today, when you’re watching a super hero film, you know that the big obstacle that the hero faces in the film, they often achieve their goal. They defeat the villain,” Edwards said. “But then there is something at the end of the movie. Another villain pops up or another problem emerges. It’s because of the sequel.”

This formula isn’t even necessarily for the sequel, but for the spin-off show, the side character films.            

For a company like Disney, which is banking on Marvel, specifically, as an addition to its arsenal, this is a key component to any of its films.

It isn’t just an “Avengers” film. It’s multiple Avengers films, and each character has an entire series of their own, plus products that could include Halloween costumes, figures, T-shirts and anything that can be branded.

Movie posters, from left: “Kingsman: Golden Circle,” a sequel; “It,” a 1987 remake; and “LEGO Ninjago Movie,” a piece of a growing franchise. PHOTO/MARY SIRING

The same can be said for modern novel adaptations. It’s a story retold in a different medium. Often times, those film adaptations are drawn out to allow for the most marketing.

“The Hobbit” a book of about 300 pages, became three movies, each longer than two hours. “The Hunger Games,” “Lord Of The Rings” and “Harry Potter” all created a multi-movie ending in the final installment, based on a single book.

Even “Twilight,” known for lacking substance, stretched the final installment into two separate films.

The future of film

The future of film lies in adapting games and phone apps.

“The Emoji Movie,” the “Angry Birds” movie and the upcoming Fruit Ninja movie are the first signs of this new brand.

“Their argument is that 50 million people have downloaded this app so we have that built in audience. People are already aware of fruit ninja or the emojis,” Edwards said. “They’ve already marketed the product and just want to make something that gets decent reviews and maybe have the opportunity to write and make a sequel to it.”

This app adaptation trend bridges global gaps, as well. A game playable on a phone is source material that isn’t based in a specific language or culture. It can be broadcast to a global audience without those former barriers.

A global audience also helps ensure success of films.

“It becomes easier, more flexible, to adapt Fruit Ninja or Candy Crush into something that will play globally,” Edwards said. “If it’s terrible here, maybe in Asia it makes $400 million or in Europe it makes a couple hundred million. I think it might get bigger before it get smaller.”

 

 

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Posted by on Oct 15 2017. Filed under Featured article, Oakland County. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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