STAR Wars creator George Lucas is right: Big studios are their own worst enemies.
“They are just incapable of thinking or doing things differently,” says Lucas in a recent interview. “They will stick to doing the same things like remakes and sequels.”
Lucas, who took considerable risks by making the first Star Wars (1977) before spaceship movies became a trend, warns that Hollywood today is so risk-averse it is courting disaster by repeating itself. Two-thirds of new releases have bombed.
They fail to note that remakes, sequels and franchise films are so predictable they lead to audience fatigue.
Audience fatigue means a drop in ticket sales with each sequel or remake.
This year, ticket sales didn’t just drop, they evaporated.
To disguise a remake, they use a new term: “reboot,” which actually sounds much worse because it is clearly so dishonest.
Even sequels are never a “sure-thing.” Save few exceptions like “Godfather II” and “French Connection II,’ sequels never match their predecessors. (‘Godfather III’ was so bad it ended the franchise, perhaps forever.)
Studios still don’t get it. That explains why 2016 is becoming a horrible year for would-be blockbusters that are fast becoming lame-busters.
Expensive remakes like “Ben Hur,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Ghostbusters” and “Star Trek Beyond” have turned out to be Black Holes for Hollywood.
Comic book super heroes are also no guarantees with “Suicide Squad” and “Batman Vs Superman” receiving awful reviews. Approval ratings for the two are 27 per cent! That’s among the lowest on the charts.
The latest remake of “The Magnificent Seven” with Denzel Washington could face problems too because, like “Ben Hur,’’ it fails to match the quality of the original.
Based on Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai,” the new seven are more like computer game heroes than flesh and blood. And instead of fighting for poor peasants, they defend the middle class town-folk. The entire class struggle is lost in the new “Seven.”
Thailand’s movie fans, like many Asian moviegoers are also voting with their feet. With such poor offerings, it is becoming more uncool to pay money to see factory-made flicks that are shallow in depth and weak on drama.
And after watching so many explosions and car chases, things are getting boring in movie theatres.
Making things worse are bad producers such as those of the new “Ben Hur.”
They shortened the film from the original’s three hours plus to just two hours. In doing so they cut out entire sequences like the Rome scenes with Jack Hawkins’ senatorial character completely written out.
And because it is a “message” film by Christian filmmakers, the kumbaya ending just totally wrecked the climax. The film was pulled from many screens just a week into the release, earning it the possibility of becoming the year’s worst film.
There are also other trends that kill a movie such as extreme feminist approaches. Making “Ghostbusters” an all-woman lead cast may seem cool but audiences didn’t buy it.
To succeed in the movie business, like all things art, studios need to be daring. In that area, Lucas is right, “it’s not in their DNA.”
TOP: The new Ben Hur bites the dust.
INSET: Ghostbusters fail to match Sony’s expectations.
By Cimi Suchontan