Don’t Like Sequels and Reboots in Film and TV?

There’s a lot of hating on sequels and reboots out there. People seem to think that Hollywood (and the others who produce screen entertainment) completely lacks in originality. And they’re right – sort of.

See, those in Hollywood really aren’t very sure of what you want to watch. For example, Disney invested over $200 million in John Carter last year, which flopped pretty hard. But, the year before, The Avengers broke box office records with a $207 million opening weekend. Just three years before that, Avatar became the world’s highest grossing film of all time.

Conclusion? People want more super heroes and 3D.

No kidding; that’s it. That’s how those in charge of your screen entertainment make decisions about what to put their money in. It’s easier to come up with a sequel to something that was a huge hit than to come up with something new.

Then figure out that these films both cost well over $200 million to make. Do you know how much money a film needs to break EVEN with a $200 million production budget? $600 million in grosses from the worldwide box office, DVD sales, on demand purchases, etc, etc. Yep – TRIPLE the budget in grosses to see a dollar in profit.

Conclusion: Making an original film with a $200 million budget is a HUGE risk. Because no one really knows what’s going to hit, and what’s going to flop.

If you are one of those who routinely bitches and moans about lack of originality, take it upon yourself to go and see the quality films in the theater. Don’t wait for them to come out on video. Consider that 12 Years a Slave won best picture, but only grossed $53 million. Matthew McConoughey and Jaret Leto won Oscars for the Dallas Buyers Club – but the film only grossed $26 million. Her? $25 million. Nebraska? $17 million.

If you want original films, you need to demand them by supporting them. So think about that the next time you buy a ticket to something like the next Godzilla movie (which comes out in May, BTW).

My opinion? I’m all about anything of quality. I saw and enjoyed all of the best picture nominees, as you all know. I also throughly enjoy the Marvel movies and the Fast and Furious franchise – which didn’t get really good until the fifth and sixth films. My view – make something of quality, and I’m in. But, like in most areas, most things produced by the screen entertainment industry isn’t quality. Look no farther than the films released so far in 2014 – yuck, for the most part.

But one thing is clear: the screen entertainment industry needs its reboots and sequels, and will mine just about any area it can to get them. Therefore, I humbly offer up the following three areas from which to develop new/rebooted content.

The West Wing
In an episode in Season 3, President Bartlett tells Sam: “Sam, one day you’re going to run for President. Don’t be afraid.” I’d love to see a series where Sam runs for President and (of course) ultimately wins. Rob Lowe just left Parks and Recreation, so he’s available. Richard Schiff (Toby) isn’t locked in anywhere, so he could join up (though he’d have a little bit of treason to answer for). Bradley Whitford (Josh) is being wasted on Trophy Wife, but there’s a good chance he could be in. I also haven’t seen Joshua Malina (Will), Mark McCormack (Kate), Janel Moloney (Donna) or others. So why not?

It’d be massively different at this point. Wash and Shepherd Book are dead, and it’s been almost 10 years since the film came out. Joss Whedon’s career has exploded; he directed a little film called The Avengers – you may have heard of it. Maybe he couldn’t direct, but write it he could. Nathan Fillion (Mal) would be the hardest to get, but you have to figure it could be worked around his Castle schedule. There’s still a very interesting world there and the characters are no less interesting 10 years down the line. And you have to figure the Alliance is still after the Serenity crew.

This was one of the worst cases of network cancellation in history. Jericho was one of the highest-rated shows in the fall of 2006. Then CBS unexpectedly (and unexplainably) pulled it from the schedule for four months. When it came back, it was down 33% and it never recovered. CBS cancelled, then briefly revived it after the fans (yours truly included) mailed cases of peanuts to the network headquarters (you’d have to see the show to understand why). The show was just scratching the surface when the axe fell the second time. Though it doesn’t belong on a broadcast net, Netflix has shown significant interest.