It took 41 years but we may have finally killed originality
July 22nd, 2013
01:34 PM ET

It took 41 years but we may have finally killed originality

Let's say you've written a terrific movie script.

It's an original story that's unlike anything that's ever been produced.

What do you do next?


Because, according to the numbers, original ideas just don’t sell.

Of the ten highest grossing films of the year (so far), 8 of them are sequels or remakes and one – “World War Z” – is based on a book.

That leaves the animated film “The Croods” as the only truly original movie that cracked the top ten this year.

And it's been like that for a long time.

In the past few decades the majority (by a large margin) of the highest grossing films have been sequels, prequels or remakes with series like “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” “Shrek” and “The Dark Knight” dominating at the box office.

In fact, we looked it up, and you have to go all the way back to 1972 to find the last year where there wasn't a single remake or sequel included in the ten highest grossing films of the year.

Yes, sequels and remakes have been a major part of our move-going life for the past 41 years, which is an interesting number because, coincidentally, $41 million is the amount of money "The Conjuring" earned at the box office this weekend.

It's a new horror movie that managed to scare up a monster amount of money (and debut at number one) despite the fact it's not based on a previous film or a book.

So much money, in fact, New Line – the studio behind the film – has already announced plans for a sequel.

We want to know what you think... Is originality dead in Hollywood? Does it matter? What were your favorite films of the past ten years? What’s your favorite sequel or prequel or remake?

Posted by
Filed under: Entertainment • OutFront Extra • OutFront Staff
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Joey at Purdue Univ

    "Memento" by Christopher Nolan was pretty good. Not a lot of stories told in that non-linear structure, let alone movies. Only one I can think of is Oedipus Tyrannus by Sophocles, where the audience is presented w. the beginning & end of the story, and the protagonist has to work his way towards a big reveal at the center.

    July 23, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Reply
  2. Tom

    The Godfather 2 and The Dark Knight were the 2 best # 2's if all time

    July 22, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  3. theacheandthetonic

    It's easy to blame executives, so I will. Executives have no guts when it comes to throwing their support behind original properties – apparently they even tried to talk Chris Nolan out of making Inception. But in their defense, just to play devil's advocate for a minute, they look at the numbers are surely as any insurance actuary, and the numbers are telling them sequels and remakes are what people want. If audiences put their money into original properties, execs will start backing them.

    July 22, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.