Movie industry struck by case of déjà vu

By Katlyn Moncada, A&E Editor

From “Footloose” to “Conan the Barbarian,” movie classics are getting a second run with the new movie trend of remakes.

Did Arnold Schwarzenegger not give a good enough performance the first time around, or is the rumor that Hollywood filmmakers have run out of original ideas turning into reality?

John Bucher, film professor at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center, argues the notion. Being a resident of the entertainment capital of the world, Bucher said new scripts are constantly formed.

“(Hollywood) is a town that is motivated by fear,” Bucher added.   “Everyone is intensely serious  about trying to hold    onto their jobs.  People are scared to risk money on new ideas.”

Instead of putting forth their creative ideas, it may seem easier or safer for filmmakers to go with a subject that already has a known audience.

Leslie Roberts, junior marketing major, studied at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center last spring. Since the plots of older classics have already sold, she said audiences might be interested in how the newer version will be received.

“I understand where studios are coming from when they do remakes,” Roberts said. “(A production studio’s) main goal is to make money and not necessarily provide creative outlets.”

Opening weekend for remakes proved to be on the lower side of the box office for some of the recent releases. “Conan the Barbarian” cost $90 million to make and only ended up with a $16 million opening weekend.

“It’s frustrating in some ways that if a film is not successful on its opening weekend (it) is doomed to failure,” Bucher said. “It speaks to our short attention span as a culture, that we’ll give something one quick chance and then move on to something else.”

Just because some movie remakes did not break any opening-weekend records does not mean they will not eventually find an audience. There may be hope for these so-called recent failures. According to  Bucher, a  movie’s success based off of opening weekend at the box office is still “a fairly new phenomenon” in Hollywood.  Films such as “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “A Wonderful Life” failed miserably at the box office and later became classics due to   television replay or     home video.

In recent years, there still may be a few too many remakes.

Bucher acknowledged movies are plot-driven and need to captivate the audience with the story. He also said films he considered classics, such as “Back to the Future” or “The Goonies,” should stay the same.

“Those films are great and can stand on their own merit,” Bucher said. “They don’t necessarily need to be reinterpreted for a modern audience.”

Although the remakes may be for business and will compete with the originals, Roberts is frustrated because she has to “seek out independent films to find new stories.”

Whether the film is an original or remake, it is ultimately up to the audience to make newer versions successful.

Movie remakes such as “Footloose” and “The Three Musketeers” will debut this fall. However, the list of remakes will continue to grow over the next few years. Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, “The Birds,” will be retold starring Naomi Watts. Carey Mulligan will play a new version of  Audrey Hepburn’s Eliza in “My Fair Lady.” Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe is rumored to go to war in the remake of th Oscar-winning  war story “All Quiet on the Western Front.”

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.