Reboots, Restarts and Franchise Fatigue in Hollywood

Spiderman

Opening this weekend is the second reboot of the Spiderman franchise with Spiderman-Homecoming starring the relative newcomer Tom Holland. This time though, Sony, the company that owns the film rights to the character of Spiderman has partnered with Marvel Studios, who is owned by The Walt Disney Corporation. Marvel Studios has had a ton of success financially and critically with the Marvel Cinematic Universe which started in 2008 with the release of Iron Man. It is because of this that both Sony and Marvel made an agreement that would restart the Spiderman franchise for a third time since 2002 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It must be an easy decision for a company such as Sony to restart a film franchise because of the amount of interest by the public in the character. Unfortunately as a film fan there is a little bit of what has been called “franchise fatigue” which can be “characterize(d) (as) specific properties that have withered.” This idea can be applied to Spiderman especially because of continuing reboots of the famous web slinger.

 

Listen, I get that companies such as Sony want to have a guaranteed money maker since they are in the business of making money in an industry that involves a lot of risks. These big risks sometimes cause these companies to go back to the well and to remake, restart or “reboot” a franchise. Sometimes it works really well, an example of this would be the 2006 film Casino Royale, a reboot for the title character of the James Bond franchise which has been hailed as possibly the best of the series, or it can be disastrous like the Ghostbusters reboot, which got a lot of bad press before the film came out and subsequently the series got the can afterward.

I am not saying that Spiderman: Homecoming will be bad at all, especially with a fantastic rating on imdb.com, but the fact that studios such as Sony are seeming to rely on their most profitable flagship franchise to make money in their business while not really going with original movies that challenge the audience. I realize that Sony did just release the well-reviewed and somewhat low budgeted film Baby Driver directed by the very talented Edgar Wright but the problem is that these studios like Sony-Disney, Warner Brothers, and even Lionsgate are now relying on the idea of sequels and franchise revivals more and more.

I would argue that the general population does not want to see franchise movies more and more, audiences want original stories. These stories like Rogue One: A Star Wars story are sometimes set in the same universe that have been established beforehand. Movies such as the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie and the FIFTH Transformers movie, are set to fail because the audience has largely seen the world that the filmmakers have created before. There is nothing to separate these current releases from their predecessors. I also argue that audiences are smarter than film studios give them credit for. As an audience, we want movies that are different because it costs so damn much to go see a movie every week, that is why we go to Rottentomatoes.com or Metacritic.com to see what the critics say about movies that we want to see. It is just too easy to bypass movies on the big screen so instead, we go to Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu to see movies or tv shows. Film studios must come to the realization that they cannot mine a film franchise until it flops big time in theaters. There needs to be an ending to everything and if the film industry has not realized that, then they need to find another job soon.

As much as I want to see another King Arthur movie, which also tanked at the box office when released two months ago, I want to see a good balance of original content versus franchise movies. The audience will be surprised and will love it when they see something new. It seems that when movies make a strong opening the studios, such as Sony, jump at the idea of a sequel, even with Baby Driver that was released LAST WEEK! An example of what I would like to see from the film studios would be Universal, who have released the Jurassic Park films along with the numerous Fast and Furious films but have released a number of films from Blumhouse Productions headed by the produce Jason Blum, who specialize in horror/suspense films, although not exclusively, that have “insanely low budgets”. Although these films have a lot of sequels, also produced by Blumhouse, the people at this studio are thinking smarter by having budgets that not ridiculously high.

 

What ever happened to the idea of the hero going on into the sunset? In the Hollywood system that created this concept there seems to a lack of empathy toward the characters that they have created. With film studios draining the last of a film franchise a lot of the time, resulting in a franchise having a disappointing ending to the hardcore fans, there is a need from the outside to have these characters have a fitting ending that would not cause the audience to groan in agony. This can be seen with the ending of the 2017 X-Men film Logan, which felt not like a comic book adaptation but something of the last rites of a character that we have fallen in love with. I will not spoil the ending of the film but suffice it to say that Hollywood needs to be thinking about doing these type of films which will end a film series on a high note.

 

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2 thoughts on “Reboots, Restarts and Franchise Fatigue in Hollywood

  1. Jay Hancock

    I’ve been seeing more and more talk about how nostalgia is hurting the entertainment industry lately, but I generally enjoy new takes on old ideas. I can see why people would think the number of film and game remakes is getting a little ridiculous, though.

    Like

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