Where Are the Original Ideas?

WTF. A recent visit to my local cineplex revealed ten movies on the marquee. Every one of them was a sequel. Or a blatant rip off of something we had seen before. (i.e. Skyscraper) What happened to all the original ideas? Where did they go? Why did they go there? And will they please come back

Movie studios produce what we want to see. Period. It is, after all, show business. Making movies is an expensive proposition. And the investors and shareholders who pour their hard-earned dollar into them would like to get their money back. And ideally a few bucks for their effort. But that’s not easy. There are too many distractions today. Pulling us in too many directions. With a thousand channels on television and a gazillion sites on the internet, how do you get someone off the couch and into the movie theater at all? In the studio’s eyes, it’s by two things. One: A star. That’s why they get paid so much. It’s not for their twelve weeks on set. It’s their name, face, and draw that pulls people in. Two: It’s familiarity. If we saw the first movie, or played the video game, or read the book, or combed the comic, chances are we’ll go see the movie too. It’s not a sure bet for studios. But it’s the closest they get. So they play the odds, hoping they tilt their way. Decisions at studios are made by people, just like you and me. At any one time, there are about a thousand people in line outside the studio waiting to take their job. Since no one wants to lose their job, they play it safe. Time after time. To compound matters, movies must be BIG in the theaters to justify the high cost per ticket. It must be a spectacle. Otherwise, we would just wait for it to come out on Netflix. But big movies cost big money. So movie studios hedge their bets by producing films they know will not only bring in a loyal audience at the theater but generate additional revenue via ancillary streams, such as video games, amusement park ridesand lunchbox covers. It’s a never-ending cycle.

So how do we break it? That’s up to you. Bywhat you see. And what you write. You want something different?Writeit. Sell it. Fight for it. And get it made. And if the movie Gods are on your side, and the winds blow your way, maybe, just maybe, it too will be successful.

And if you’re lucky, you will be asked to write the sequel.