Hollywood’s originalilty fading away

Chris DiLullo, Sports Editor

Watching a movie is an American pastime. With multiplexes, drive-in theaters and summer blockbusters, we love movies – the money we spend to see them shows it.

However, the days of watching groundbreaking movies with original concepts or otherwise advanced film, like 1977’s Star Wars or 1982’s E.T., seems endangered.

Hollywood studios and others in the industry are increasingly producing films that use existing material, rather than ones with fresh and new concepts. Audiences add to the problem by not supporting original content and instead choosing to spend money on films that use existing material.

This trend towards less originality in film threatens a future where movies that advance innovative ideas will become increasingly rare.

There is a simple solution to this problem: Americans need to vote with their wallets and support original movies to motivate studios to make more of them.

According to Box Office Mojo, there are 24 movies that have made over $100 million at the American box office this year thus far. Among these, only five – Bad Moms, Moana, Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets and Central Intelligence – were not sequels or prequels. That’s just over one-fifth. 2015 was similar, with only one original movie making it into the top 10 highest grossing movies of the year.

Movie release schedules show the lack of support Americans give original movies indirectly. According to Movie Insider, there were 17 movies with wide release in the United States in November and 10 were released in the month of August. Out of these 27 movies, only 11 of them are not based on existing properties or material.

Of course, some original concept films do find success at the box office with American audiences. Both Zootopia and The Secret Life of Pets made over $340 million this year, while Inside Out made $356 million in 2015 (Box Office Mojo).

That put these films in the top 10 in terms of money made in the United States for their respective years, while also being original. It’s clear that audiences are willing to go out to see and support original movies.

In addition to box office success, some months have more original movies than those with existing source material. 14 movies will have wide releases in December, with only three of them being based on or within existing material. 11 of these movies will be original, a number equivalent to the total number of widely-released original movies in August and November combined, per Movie Insider.

Audiences have shown enough support for original movies so that studios are able to release 11 original movies within a single month. However, combining the top 20 movies in terms of money made for both this year and last year shows that only seven out of the 40 movies are original while the other 33 are unoriginal (Box Office Mojo).

Additionally, December is an outlier in terms of data. With 11 original movies, it clearly does not represent the release of movies and whether they are original or not, for May and June saw the release of 19 movies, yet only six were original (Movie Insider). December’s trend for original movies is an outlier in terms of the scope of an entire year of movie releases.

Originality is fading and although it is nice to watch another Captain America and Star Wars movie every year, these movies take up spots for original films that could be superior to the franchises in their own ways. The American public needs to start supporting more creative content.