Jul 9, 2017

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.

Go deeper

"The Rise of Skywalker" rakes in $175.5 million on opening weekend

The cast of "The Rise of Skywalker" with director J.J. Abrams, producer Kathleen Kennedy and Stephen Colbert, April 12. Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Disney

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” pulled in an estimated $175.5 million in the U.S. and Canada over the weekend and received mixed fan and critic reactions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: Despite high expectations that "Skywalker" would debut with more than $200 million, the film's opening weekend was the lowest in the Walt Disney trilogy — 29% less than 2015's “The Force Awakens” and 20% below 2017's “The Last Jedi." After five Star Wars films in four years, this will be the franchise's last movie until 2022.

Go deeper: Disney breaks $10 billion box office record for 2019

Keep ReadingArrowDec 22, 2019

Female filmmakers' record-setting year

Writer-director Greta Gerwig (left) and Meryl Streep on set of "Little Women.” Photo: Wilson Webb/Sony Pictures via AP

Women directed 12 of 2019’s top 100-grossing films — the most ever recorded, AP reports.

Why it matters: The previous high in USC’s annual study was 8%, in 2008. In 2018, only 4.5% of the year’s top films were directed by women.

Go deeperArrowJan 2, 2020

Apple bets big on Tinseltown's top talent

Richard Plepler Photo: Gary Gershoff/FilmMagic, Oprah Winfrey Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage, Reese Witherspoon: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Apple's new streaming service is only beginning to take shape, but already the tech giant has signaled that it's willing to spend big to lure Hollywood's top talent to be a part of it.

Why it matters: Analysts have for years predicted that Apple, with lots of free cash flow, would one day buy a content company like Netflix or HBO to fulfill its streaming ambitions. But Apple's recent investments in individual producers, actors and directors suggest the Silicon Valley titan is heading in a different direction.

Go deeperArrowJan 3, 2020