Category:  Media Industry

The Reboot Boom

Lately it has seemed as if everything is being revived. If there ever was a show, movie, song, cartoon, comic, or video game you missed, this has been a great time for you. Full House is now on Netflix as Fuller House, Boy Meets World airs on Disney channel through Girl Meets World, and Gilmore Girls is preparing for its small screen return. Has Hollywood run out of ideas, or is there more to the preexisting story?

There is a potential for big money when bringing back a loved franchise. There is already an established fan base, suspicion fills seats, and a “built in storyboard.” Hollywood would not continue to bring back familiar stories if moviegoers did not fill the seats every time. For example, Jurassic Park was first released in 1993, earning $50 million in the box office. When Jurassic World opened in theatres June of 2015, it raked in $208 million.

However, remakes are not always better. On average, originals are rated around 78% by Rotten Tomatoes, while remakes are rated near 46%, though they sometimes earn twice as much revenue. A good example is Terminator Genisys, the Terminator reboot that was released 31 years after the original. The newest Terminator made $89 million, almost $60 million more than the first production. However, it earned a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 26%.

Adults who were children of the Seventies and Eighties are most susceptible to falling into the nostalgia trap. It is popular belief that this age group was forced to grow up too fast. It was expected of them to get jobs early and work full time immediately after high school. Today, they are trying to recapture some of their childhood. Now they have disposable income and are willing to spend it on things that made them happy as children.

When deciding to resurrect a pre-existing storyline, there is a fine line between celebrating and destroying. First, TV shows should never jump to the big screen. It has been proved time and time again that it does not work. A prime example is Veronica Mars. Proven successful comebacks are reuniting on talk shows, or guest starring on shows where a cast mate is a recurring character. Examples are when the cast of Saved by the Bell came together for a skit on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, or when Drake Bell shortly appeared on Josh Peck’s new show, Grandfathered.

In 2005, only one movie out of the top 10 of the year was not based off of a preexisting art piece. “Capitalism thrives because of duplication.” Everything is a copy of something. We ourselves are duplications of our parents. The characteristics and personality traits we form from watching others, taking what we like, and avoiding what we do not. One blogger pointed out how we do not complain when things as simple as light bulbs are duplicated, so why are we so pessimistic about movie duplications?

America often duplicates popular movies and TV shows from overseas: sometimes they work, sometimes they flop. Examples are the Office, the Voice, and Dancing with the Stars. It has been said, “If you can recreate it well, you have access to a gold mine.” With existing sets, fan bases, and story lines, mixed with new distribution methods, repackaging, an inner desire for nostalgia, and a soft spot for what is familiar, it makes sense that so many remakes are being produced.

Why do superheroes seem to be the most widely reproduced? 1) Because they were a favorite of children who grew up in the seventies and eighties. 2) Studios are simply cashing in on proven commodities. 3) Some superhero producers have contracts pressuring them to produce a follow-up movie within a time period, or they are put in jeopardy of losing ownership. 4) It is an attempt to introduce a new generation to something their parents think is great, which can be a bonding opportunity.

The Adam West Batman someone’s parent may relate to is very different from the Ben Affleck Batman children will know now. Sometimes producers are trying to update a franchise, not create an entirely new one. It can be interesting to see a character you know and love as a more modern or grown-up version. Since viewers have grown up, they may wonder how their childhood favorites turned out, too. An example is Star Wars: the Force Awakens. Star Wars nerds across the planet wondered what had happened to Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. Now they know.

On the outside we may say we want something new and that Hollywood has run out of ideas, but deep down what is being produced is exactly what we want. Reboots are our guilty pleasures. For better or worse.

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