Stories

Hollywood cashes in on old ideas

Data: Box Office Mojo; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

There's a lot of grumbling about the dearth of originality in Hollywood today, and it can't be denied that established properties own the box office. A look at the top 25 grossers of 2017 thus far shows that only four are completely original concepts. The rest — including the top six films — are all sequels, reboots, or adaptations.

The reasoning: Hollywood's obsession with established franchises is based on one key factor: marketability. And these numbers prove it. On paper, it's much easier to get audiences to trek to the eighth Fast and the Furious flick than a horror movie like Get Out that's equal parts Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and The Stepford Wives.

  • The four originals: Get Out (#7), Split (#11), Snatched (#24), and The Great Wall (#25). You could make the argument that Split — spoiler alert — is a part of M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable universe, but that fact wasn't clear from its marketing.
  • Don't expect a change: Some of the biggest films expected later this year include Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Blade Runner 2049, and Justice League, DC's answer to Marvel's The Avengers. Even Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth is getting a sequel later this month.
  • Bucking the trend: Christopher Nolan's original war epic Dunkirk is coming soon — and keep an eye out for the Clooney-directed, Coen Brothers-written Suburbicon in November.