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Hollywood Triples Down on Sequels, Remakes and Reboots

Expect much more of the same following crush of film announcements

There’s a good reason movie studios can’t stop making sequels to popular films.

Return on Investment.

Or, at the very least, they’re less risky than original stories. Just ask the minds behind 2023’s well-regarded thriller “The Creator” how that works.

That explains the flood of new movie projects announced this week.

Sequels. Prequels. Reboots.

It’s actually more like a cinematic tsunami. The news comes courtesy of this week’s CinemaCon, a star-studded event meant to showcase the titles coming to theaters over the next few years.

Let’s start with the least necessary of them all.

The “Scary Movie” franchise cranked out five installments before audiences tired of its shtick. The films mocked horror movie tropes in the grand “Airplane!” style, but the series wasn’t meant to last forever.

The saga featured two comic visionaries – the Wayans family and “Airplane!” alum David Zucker – behind the scenes.

Now, it’s back.

Scary Movie (2000) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

There’s no word about the creators behind the sixth installment, just rough start and release dates. Who needs a vision when there’s a franchise to reboot?

This news comes weeks after Liam Neeson signed on to a “Naked Gun” reboot, another saga tied to Zucker. It’s unclear if Zucker will have a hand in either reboot.

He should.

“It” actor Glen Powell, coming off both “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Anyone But You,” will headline a remake of the Arnold Schwarzenegger thriller “The Running Man.” The original, based on a Stephen King story, featured Richard Dawson as a scene-stealing game show host in a dystopian future.

“The Blair Witch Project,” the 1999 smash that opened the floodgates on Found Footage horror, is coming back courtesy of uber-producer Jason Blum.

None of the past “Blair Witch” films caught fire with the public, but that won’t stop Hollywood from reviving the saga.

Nor did Blum learn his lesson from his disastrous attempt to bring “The Exorcist” into the 21st century last year.

The Exorcist: Believer | Official Trailer

The CinemaCon event also featured trailers for sequels and prequels coming our way this year, including “Gladiator 2,” “Transformers One” and “A Quiet Place: Day One.”

The animated landscape will be chock full of familiar faces.

We’ll see a trio of animated films based on “The Last Airbender” saga. Dave Bautista’s pipes will flesh out the saga’s villain.

We’re also getting more “Smurfs” than we ever needed. “The Smurfs Movie” will feature Rihanna among others in a tale Variety teases will answer the immortal question, “What is a Smurf?

Doesn’t seem Sphinx-like in its nature, to be honest.

Other announced films include “Paw Patrol 3,” The SpongeBob Movie: Search for Squarepants” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem 2.”

Need more TMNT? We’ll also see a live-action, R-rated take of the saga. “Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles: The Last Ronin” takes its cues from a dark part of the comic book property’s lore.

The CinemaCon updates came after we learned about a live-action “Popeye” feature. The first version, starring Robin Williams as the squinty-eyed sailor, proved an epic dud in the early 1980s.

There’s a huge red flag waving in front of these news nuggets.

Audiences sent Hollywood a stern message in 2023. We won’t always show up for any ol’ franchise. The diminished returns for “The Marvels,” “Haunted Mansion,” “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” “Fast X” and “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” should have given industry bean counters pause.

Even a quasi-original like “The Flash” flopped with fans. More recently, the new “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” will struggle to break the $100 million mark stateside.

Did Hollywood learn any lessons from that grab bag of failures and disappointments?

Hardly.

Then again, the recent “Road House” reboot scored with viewers, showing there’s still some interest in beloved properties.

The trick is to find titles that still have a cultural hold over us.

The poor box office showing for “The First Omen” wasn’t a shock. That franchise is as old as mix tapes and parachute pants. Today’s teens have little connection to the series, let alone the 1976 original.

The “TMNT,” by comparison, have never fallen out of style.

Hollywood doesn’t seem to differentiate between enduring IPs and ones with a definitive expiration date.

They may learn the very hard way.

10 Comments

  1. My personal favorite remakes of all time were Peter Jackson’s 2005 version of “King Kong”, the Coen brothers 2010 retelling of “True Grit”, Timur Bekmanbetov’s 2016 remake of “Ben-Hur” and Jon Favreau’s 2016 and 2019 remakes of “The Jungle Book” and “The Lion King”.

  2. Generally speaking, no one has that much of a problem with sequels prequels and so forth as they continue story lines people have been interested in and would like to see more of the story.

    The problem is that it is not a tired audience, but society supposedly and Hollywood most assuredly has changed since they last made those movies and not for the better in general, and that change is exceptionally bad for creating entertainment.

    LGBTQ+^eleventygodzillion is force fed into every narrative, every race except whites have to be represented in every show and we have to be told how much better these imposters are who have taken over the roles that were written for white males, women are converted into gods who are all powerful, all knowing, and omnipresent, there is no room for humor as humor almost always has a ‘victim’ unless it is attacking a straight white man at least, and let us be honest, there really is only so much comedy in straight white men which means it becomes rote and old quickly.

  3. Fine with me. I rarely watch anything new and have an extensive collection of movies/TV shows from the past that will keep me entertained for decades. Hollywood can burn as far as I’m concerned.

  4. I’m content keeping my money in my pocket or at least spending it on my other hobbies and interests. Going to the theater hasn’t been enjoyable in quite a while anyway. They’d ruin the drive in if there were more than a handful left. Maybe AI will accidentally come up with something interesting while they’re on tick Tok complaining.

  5. I’m surprised nobody’s taken another stab at Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers yet. Two sci-fi properties with a built=in audience of nerds like me.
    Mayne one day.

    1. Be careful for what you wish…

      If Hollywood does a remake of either, they will probably make those characters gay, and partner them with a super powerful woman who does all of the work.

  6. Remember the 4 fantastic horror remakes of the 80’s? The Thing, The Fly, The Blob, American Werewolf in London. No remakes have been near as good as those 4.

      1. Kind of. John Landis was paying tribute to Werewolf of London (1935). I always add it, because it fits in well with the others.

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