The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

Hollywood is Allergic to New Ideas

Photographer//Marianna Amill
Photographer//Marianna Amill

Look at a movie theater marquee and see that there is at least one option that is a remake, sequel, prequel, or a biopic. Major Hollywood studios have started to place an emphasis on funding reimagined versions of pre-existing movies, creating spinoffs, and recounting the lives of pop culture figures with the hopes of attracting audiences. 

2024 isn’t immune to Hollywood’s desire for a pre-loved story. This year, films like “Twisters,” “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga,” “A Quiet Place Day One,” “Wicked,” “Gladiator 2,” “Ghostbusters,” and “Nosferatu” are releasing–all of which feature stories or characters already known to filmgoers. 

There is no inherent problem with a remake, as some renditions even receive a better public reception or praise than their predecessor. 

The 2021 remake of “West Side Story” was met with widely positive reception due to the casting of Puerto Rican and Latine people to play the roles of Puerto Rican and Latine people, something that was not done in the 1961 production. The 2019 adaptation of “Little Women” was the sixth telling of the March sisters and garnered six Academy Award nominations, winning one. The 2021 and 2024 adaptations of “Dune” were praised more than its 1984 predecessor, due to the story being split into two films to better convey the novel’s massive storyline and complex relationships. 

The resurgence of prequels and sequels reflects some audience demand for additions to their favorite fictional worlds. 

The 2023 “Hunger Games” prequel, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” expanded the beloved “Hunger Games” universe by looking into the origin story of the trilogy’s corrupt president. “Top Gun: Maverick” was able to one-up its iconic predecessor by creating a deeper storyline whilst maintaining the action and iconic bromances of the original. “Maverick” was even able to break the action-movie Oscar curse and garner numerous nominations in the 2023 award show circuit.

Biopics became prevalent in the mid-2000s with films like “Ray” and “Walk the Line” in 2004 and 2005, and, more recently, they returned to the forefront with flicks like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Rocketman” in 2018 and 2019.Biopics can show the dark side of the world’s idols, serve as a cautionary tale, or a dramatic historical recount.

For example, two Elvis-related films were released one year apart: Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” in 2022 and Sofia Coppolla’s “Priscilla” in 2023. The different interpretations of the life of an American symbol reflect how different creatives interpret celebrities chronicled in biopics. In Luhrmann’s “Elvis,” the star is the victim of a predatory talent agent, and in Coppolla’s “Priscilla,” he an aggressive, more powerful, older husband to a young, naive wife. 

Beyond “Priscilla,” 2023 also saw the release of biopics like “Oppenheimer,” “Napoleon,” “Ferrari,” and “Maestro.” Already in 2024, “Bob Marley: One Love” has been released, and an upcoming Amy Winehouse biopic titled “Back to Black” is set to release this spring. 

Seeing blockbusters that are reiterations of previous storylines can be lighthearted, entertaining fun, but they can bore audiences uninterested in the well-known topic presented in the storyline. Blockbuster recreations of films will create an influx of profit for major studios, and could even be considered a “shortcut” for filmmakers. They’re given less creative freedom from studios, and often lack original subject matter. 

Art is not a linear process: it must always move forward. When every movie begins to be an iteration of one another, the process of art becomes cyclical, eliminating the creative diversity in storytelling. New stories are needed to progress the filmic art form, and a lack of such stories can affect the purpose of films to serve as an alternative perception and interpretation of the world around us. 

However, there is hope for the future of Hollywood when considering filmmakers and production companies who work to bring originality and creative diversity back to Hollywood.

Art is not a linear process: it must always move forward. When every movie begins to be an iteration of one another, the process of art becomes cyclical, eliminating the creative diversity in storytelling.

The growing studio A24 puts out films that vary greatly in genre, are artistically unique, and place an emphasis on art over profit and skipped-over creatives. Many of their films have achieved critical and commercial success, and have become considered recent cult-classics, like award winning “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” Further, A24’s recent releases like “Aftersun” and “The Iron Claw” have become popular amongst young-adults and on the social media app for movie lovers, Letterboxd.

Meanwhile, there are many filmmakers who are able to create vastly different films that fall under the same theme. 

Greta Gerwig, writer and director of “Little Women” and “Lady Bird,” explores the topics of coming-of-age and familial relationships in her films. Writer and director Sofia Coppola explores girlhood, isolation, and status in her films; “Priscilla” and “Marie Antoinette,” all explore the period of mourning for girlhood suddenly lost, isolation from their peers, and the price of achieving status. Damien Chazelle, writer and director of “La La Land” and “Whiplash,” focuses his work on obsessive ambition and professional drive. Though these three filmmakers have created big-budget films, and work often with major studios, they retain their individuality within their films that make them popular amongst cinephiles.

It’s possible to re-energize the film industry with the help of creativity-focused production companies, visionary filmmakers, and the support of movie lovers. Not every movie that can be reimagined needs to be reimagined, but rather more imagination can be infused into the creation of new projects to grow the film industry. 

About the Contributor
Maddie Willinger
Maddie Willinger, Staff Writer
Maddie Willinger is a senior, and a first year at the "Bulldog Tribune". She is an officer in Girl Up, EdRising, SBHS’s chapter of The Launch Project, and a Cappies Critic. Maddie loves to keep up with pop culture, and can be found reading Taylor Jenkins Reid books, watching new movies to log on her Letterboxd, or listening to Taylor Swift way too often.