Is Hollywood Out Of Ideas?

Brandon Schroh, Reporter

The selection of films and the amount of money they made created an interesting pattern for 2017. The ten highest grossing films of 2017, according to IMDb, were: War of the Planet of the Apes, Spider-Man Homecoming, Justice League, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Transformers: the Last Knight, The Fate of the Furious, Despicable Me 3, Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and the highest grossing film of the year was Star Wars The Last Jedi which made $1.2 billion at the box office. What do all these films have in common? They are all sequels, franchise movies or reboots. What’s more is, these are only the top grossing franchise or reboot movies that have come out this year. There was also Logan, Thor Ragnarok and Ghost in the Shell. With such an immense amount of reboots and a little amount of original movies this begs the question, is Hollywood out of ideas?

This question is a difficult one to answer. For the record there were a lot of original movies in 2017. Movies such as Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, and Baby Driver garnered much success in addition to being completely original. However, these movies were only possible due to the credibility of those behind them. The three films were directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Dark Knight, Inception), Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pacific Rim) and Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) respectively. If it hadn’t been for previous cinematic gems, who’s to say that any distributing companies would have agreed to these flicks?

Nevertheless, there are movies that have none of these seem to be going for them. The 2017 movie Lady Bird had almost no recognizable celebrities, and was the directorial debut of director Greta Gerwig. However it made a decent amount of many and received five oscar nominations (including best picture). So isn’t this a prime example that Hollywood is alive and well? Also, it is very rare that an independent movie get as much acclaim as Lady Bird.

So the problem with Hollywood is not that it’s out of ideas, but that it only wants previously established ideas. Imagine that you are at the movies and have a choice. One is a movie that looks interesting and has one or two actors you recognize, the other is the new Star Wars movie. Which do you see? Unless you are an avid hater of Star Wars, chances are you would rather watch the big-budget science fiction movie based on a movie you grew up with. Hollywood executives like to play it safe because they know that a recognizable brand name is guaranteed to sell tickets to fans of sed brand. A new idea is a risk that may or may not work out in the end.