Hollywood is far from running out of original ideas, however the movies that make the most at the box office are often remakes, sequels, or films based on something else. The film industry is a business above anything else. Success is measured more on how much money the film makes instead of how well-received it is. Taking a look at recent trends in the last few years, have we all become content with familiarity?
The top grossing film of 2013 thus far has been Iron Man 3, taking in over $400 million. Second is another sequel, Despicable Me 2 with over $350 million. Not until Gravity which rests in eighth place do we have a completely original idea. Other top grossing films on this list include ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Oz the Great and Powerful.’ While these two films are not direct sequels or remakes, they are still stories based from other ideas. With sequels to ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘Anchorman’, and ‘The Hobbit’ yet to be released and set to hit big box office numbers, do not be surprised if the original film ideas slide further down the list of box office success.
Last year things were no different. The top two grossing films were based on comic books (‘The Avengers’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’), the third on a book (‘The Hunger Games’), and the fourth was another James Bond film (‘Skyfall’). The film not based on anything else to gross the most was Pixar’s ‘Brave’ which finished eighth, right behind another comic book film, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man.’
Egregiously, 2011 pushed the highest grossing completely original idea film down even further down to number 14 with ‘Bridesmaids.’ This year saw the conclusion to the ‘Harry Potter Series’ score the top position followed up with more sequels in the numbers 2-8 position.
Top Grossing Films 2000-2010
Rather than going year by year, let’s take a quick look at the top grossing films from each year and whether or not they were based on something else.
2010: Toy Story 3 – Sequel
2009: Avatar – Original Idea
2008: The Dark Knight – Sequel, Based on a Comic Book
2007: Spider-Man 3 – Sequel, Based on a Comic Book
2006: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – Sequel, Based on an Amusement Park Ride
2005: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith – Sequel, Based on a Book
2004: Shrek 2 – Sequel
2003: The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King – Sequel, Based on a Book
2002: Spider-Man – Based on a Comic Book
2001: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Based on a Book
2000: How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Based on a Book, Based on a Short Cartoon
Since 2000, only one film has earned the top box office spot while not being based on anything else, ‘Avatar.’
The 1990s Trend
The 1990s were a little different than this century. In the 1990s, we also liked to watch movies based on historical events.
1998: Saving Private Ryan
The 1990s had only two films that fit the current trend we are living through.
1999: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace – Based on a Book, Prequel
1991: Terminator 2: Judgment Day – Sequel
One could almost consider ‘Aladdin’ (1992) to be based on the folk tales from yesteryear. Since the tale Disney told in their film was quite different it was not included above.
So are we content with seeing familiar ideas refurbished and made into another film? By the looks of it, many of us are.
All Box Office information taken from Box Office Mojo