I’ve been doing this blog for almost a year now, and as such I’ve developed a few bigger opinions on film and cinema in general. And one of the biggest things that has bugged me while doing The Culture Cove is originality.
I would like to think that, in such a digitalized generation, I’m quite a good reader (aka I read books, paper books). It’s the same reason I fell in love with cinema, I love a unique and clever story that makes you ask questions of our world.
Since Marvel became huge, it seems that everything is just a big screen adaptation of someone else’s work. Of course, Marvel is slightly different because Stan Lee loves making his comic books into silver-screen goliaths. However, I can’t help but feel the majority of films now are created with the idea of making a ton of cash off an already successful story, and less about creating something awesome that nobody’s ever seen or thought of.
Of course I can’t say this without any evidence, so I had a look at the stats, using Box Office Mojo and IMDB.
(All research done on 24th August 2015)
Only 4 of 2014’s top 20 films were classed as completely original (using my own made-up method of originality testing, which included no sequels, adaptations, remakes etc.) – these were Interstellar, Big Hero 6, The Lego Movie and Lucy.
Out of the top 20 films so far this year, 6 were based off books, and only 5 of the top 20 films so far are classed as completely original (by me), and only 1 of these is in the top 10! These films are Inside Out, San Andreas, Spy, Trainwreck and Tommorowland.
Maybe this doesn’t sound that bad to you, but compare these figures to ten years ago – 2005
Out of the top 20 box office hits in 2005, I saw 10 of them as original (using the same method as used on 2014/15). These were Wedding Crashers, Madagascar, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Hitch, Longest Yard, Chicken Little, Robots, The Pacifier, The 40 Year Old Virgin and Flightplan.
Of course, the originality of a film is debatable, so if you feel like something should/shouldn’t be in here then don’t hesitate to say!
TEN! That’s half of the biggest films of that year! If half of the films we watched in cinemas this year were completely original then I would be a very happy kid. However, nowadays it feels like everything has been done, or been read, before being seen. This may be strong, but I’ve always seen cinema as the least respectable art form, and it’s figures like this which do not help the situation.
Are we at a stage now where films cost so much to make, where we demand so much from the cinema experience, that it’s impossible to take a risk on a completely original idea? And how do we get more original ideas to the forefront of cinema against the rise of YA novel based films and Marvel’s cinematic dominance? These are questions that people in cinema are probably trying to answer already, as we might get to a point where original films are just not trusted any more.