I was filled with a new level of dread about the state of popular cinema today on a visit to the perfectly benign looking Box Office Mojo.com. First I saw this weekend's top 5 grossing films:
3 sequels, two of which are in 3D, and Red, based on a comic book, leaving Clint Eastwood's Hereafter the only original film in the bunch. I thought, good god, this sequel/franchise and 3D mania has really gotten out of hand, so I took a look at the top ten grossing films of 2010 so far:
7 mostly 3D sequels and/or remakes, one 3D based on a book, and one 3D with an original story (and by original, I simply mean not a derivative work; I'm making no judgments about the actual story of Despicable Me). Only Inception is both completely original and 2D, and its all the way down at number 5. 3D aside, the mere sight of so many franchise films at the top of the financial heap is distressing. But this must be a recent trend, right? Surely Hollywood must be going through a phase. So I went to look at the top grossing films for each year of the past decade or so:
Damn it! We have to go all the way back to Saving Private Ryan in 1998 to find a film that is not a sequel, prequel, book adaption, or Avatar. Okay, maybe its just a millennial thing. What about the 20 some odd years previous to that?
Better, but nearly half are still based on existing books and movies. Will the trend continue? Won't Hollywood eventually run out of original ideas to sequelize? Surely even the cynical, tasteless hacks that run major movie studios will be loath to green light Saw 26: the Ultimately Finally Final Chapter: in 3D and Smell-o-Vision. Maybe this desperate 3D sequel and remake explosion is really just Hollywood's death rattle.