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An open letter to major movie studios

Studios often rely on remakes and reboots to boost ticket sales.
Illustration: April Kinney · The Sentry

Dear major movie studios, moviegoers are fed up with what they’re getting.

Where to start with the mistakes? It seems as though all studios care about these days is money. It’s easy to understand why; the more money these easy cash-grab films make means there’s more money that can be spent on other projects. At least, moviegoers hope that’s where the money is going and not just back into the chasm-like pockets of these studios’ CEOs.

But the money made off of these needless remakes and sequels is not being spent how it should be. Sure, people are willing to pay for a live-action remake of a beloved childhood cartoon. They might seem to be fine with watching a sequel to a franchise they are attached to. But take a second to stop and think about why they are making this choice? Could it be because they have been given no other option? By choosing to release another sequel, remake, or reboot, the general population is being told that it’s okay to remain within their own comfort zone.

Whatever happened to wanting to challenge audience members? It does seem as though these studios are all taking the easy way out these days because it’s what makes the most money. But even that isn’t working out a lot of the time. Why on earth did any executive think that anyone would want to see Cats?

Throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at a wall and hoping that something sticks does not have to be the only strategy. Instead, be a bit more careful with where the money goes. Be more calculated. Don’t simply give a previously existing franchise 100 million dollars to make another bland installment in the series. Instead, give a couple of original films 10-20 million dollars.

Don’t think this is a profitable strategy? It worked for Jordan Peele with Get Out. The film had a modest budget of 4.5 million dollars and it grossed over 250 million worldwide. Rian Johnson got 40 million dollars to make Knives Out and the film grossed over 200 million dollars.

The films that A24 releases like Hereditary, Midsommar, and Uncut Gems were all moderately successful.

But the worth of these films should be measured beyond how much money they make. The above mentioned films will likely remain in our consciousness in the decades to come. There’s a reason Get Out and Hereditary were so successful. Audiences have always loved horror, but studio horror films for the past decade have been poorly made and formulaic. So when these films came out and were praised for how thought-provoking and original they were, everyone wanted to see it to be a part of that conversation. 10 years from now, nobody is going to be talking about how thought-provoking the live-action The Lion King was.

Hear us out, please. Consumers want to be challenged. They need their horizons broadened. These things can be achieved while also making a profit. Although, it would be nice if studios cared more about its audience than the money that they bring in.

Sincerely,
Worn out film-watchers.

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