2015 is shaping up to be a big year for movies.
But in terms of originality, 2015 is severely lacking and is starting to look like the year of sequels, spinoffs, and reboots.
While there currently aren’t any films announced for January and February, the first big film announced for 2015 is Josh Trank’s The Fantastic Four. Set for a March 6 release, The Fantastic Four is a reboot of the 2005 Fantastic Four and its sequel, 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. While the first film made back almost three and a half times its original budget, and the sequel made back more than twice its budget, both films received generally negative and unfavorable reviews. The original currently holds a 40 out of 100 and 26 percent rating on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, respectively. Silver Surfer did slightly better than its predecessor, holding a 45 out of 100 and 37 percent rating.
Next, we have Cinderella, a live-action reimagining of the classic fairytale. Starring Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, and Helena Bonham-Carter, the Kenneth Branagh-directed version is set for a March 13 release.
Following Cinderella is The Penguins of Madagascar, a spinoff of the 2005 DreamWorks film Madagascar. The film is actually the second time the penguins have gotten their own lead, with Nickelodeon picking up The Penguins of Madagascar series in 2009 (a pilot episode aired in November 2008, but the series became a regular series four months later.)
Starting to see a pattern here?
Adding to the list of sequels, spinoffs, reboots are:
The Avengers 2 (May 1, sequel)
Terminator 5 (June 26, sequel and beginning of a rebooted standalone trilogy)
Pirates of the Caribbean 5 (July 10, sequel)
The Smurfs 3 (July 24, sequel)
Hotel Transylvania 2(September 25, sequel)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2(November 20, sequel)
Finding Dory(November 25, spinoff)
Alvin and the Chipmunks 4 (December 11, sequel)
Kung Fu Panda 3 (December 19, sequel)
Also confirmed for 2015 is the film adaptation of UbiSoft’sAssassin’s Creed video game series starring Michael Fassbender and Disney/Pixar’s The Inside Out on June 19, and Ant-Man and Peanuts on November 6. Ant-Man poses an interesting case, as he was supposed to be introduced in The Avengers, but didn’t fit into the chronology. Director Edgar Wright, who wrote the script with Joe Cornish, wanted the film to be an origin story.
Those are just the confirmed movies. When you take a look at the list of rumored films for 2015, a disturbing trend starts to emerge. If industry reports are to be believed, we’ll also be seeing:
Star Wars: Episode VII
Pitch Perfect 2
Mission: Impossible 5
Snow White and the Huntsman 2
The Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun
After Earth 2
Untitled Jason Bourne Sequel
Ratchet and Clank
All of those movies, with the exception of Ratchet and Clank, are sequels. And Ratchet and Clank, like Assassin’s Creed, is an adaptation of a video game series. The Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun is also an adaptation of the comics, and Snow White and the Huntsman 2 is yet another adaptation of the fairy tale.
Can Hollywood really be out of original film ideas?
In 2012, eight of the ten highest-grossing films of the year were either sequels or reboots. The Avengers, the highest-grossing film of the year, however, was the sixth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which included: Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk(2008), Iron Man 2 (2010) Thor (2011), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), and Iron Man 3(2013). All of those films are also adaptations of the Marvel comic books.
The ninth highest-grossing film of the year was The Hunger Games, an adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ book series of the same name.
2012 was also a big year for movies because it had the greatest number of films earning over $1 billion: The Avengers(adaptation), Skyfall (sequel), The Dark Knight Rises(sequel and adaptation), and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey(spinoff! And the beginning of a new trilogy! And an adaptation!)
Looking again at the list of confirmed films for 2015, we have DreamWorks’ Trolls on June 5 (Do I really have to go there? It’s an adaptation of troll dolls), The Inside Out, B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations on September 25 and Peanuts on November 6 (an adaptation of the comics.)
The only two original movies on that list are an animated film and a comedy. Are we really being led to believe that there are no original ideas left in other genres? Certainly, action/adventure and science-fiction films make up a good portion of the confirmed and rumored films for 2015 (although we also have to consider The Smurfs 3, Kung Fu Panda 3, and The Penguins of Madagascar, which are animated comedies and sequels or spinoffs.)
Is this the future of movies? An endless stream of unoriginal films made solely to milk moviegoers for everything they’ve got? And then we have to consider the filmmakers themselves, who are being told that originality is bad and ripping off ideas from previously established properties is good. Hollywood loves predictability — that’s why big blockbuster movies are released in the summer, because there is a pattern of those types of films, or previous entries in a franchise, performing well in the box office. Originality and those who want to take a chance on a idea are stifled — it’s either fall in line, or your movie won’t get made.
While we may still see a handful of original films released in 2015 and beyond, we also shouldn’t be surprised if the majority of the highest-grossing films of the year are numbered like Saw films or the Fast and the Furious franchise.
What do you think of the confirmed and rumored films of 2015?