The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Film industry needs original content

3 min read



Staff Writer

The first Disney live action remake was the 1994 version of “The Jungle Book.” Since then, the number of remakes have increased from one every couple of years to now three in 2019, and two more projected to be released later this year. The success of these new films has sparked a trend in the movie industry that allows creators to take fewer risks and still make money.

The movies succeed simply because they piggyback off of classics and fan favorites. Originality is put on the back burner for an easy profit. Unique stories are difficult to find in a world riddled with the remains of old movies.

Instead of creating art that inspires its audience in the present culture, the movie industry is dumping recycled stories on a reliable fanbase. This new remake and sequel culture in Hollywood is good for movie makers, but leaves the audience cheated.

It’s no secret that Disney is one of the biggest production companies out there right now. They own many of the major companies including Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar and most recently the Marvel characters previously owned by Fox, including the X-Men and Fantastic Four. Many of the movies we see in theater have been made by Disney, and they have become the icon example of a successful production business that other companies want to imitate or be a part of.

This is scary. Although Disney is financially successful, the product they create is getting lazier and lazier. Movies should be more than mindless entertainment. They are a way to tell unique stories in ways other media isn’t able to, and inspire their audience. Because it has now become profitable to just make the same movies over and over, we have lost this important aspect of film.

Out of the past twelve movies made by Disney, eight of them are sequels or remakes. Three of the remaining twelve are Marvel movies, which also have an ongoing storyline with a reliable audience. Disney is able to do this because of the large number of stories they have to choose from. Everyone knows and loves Disney’s classic films, and wants to relive their childhood memories, even if this means spending $10 to witness a subpar knock off.

A frustrating example of this is the 2019 version of The Lion King. The movie was visually beautiful, but lacked the same heart the original did. The movie received a 52 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a 55 percent on Metacritic. The new movie kept the same storyline, and even included many of the same visuals, for example, the iconic ‘Circle of Life’ scene. Because most of the movie is so similar to one already made, it’s pointless for this movie to exist. Yes, the visuals are beautiful, but the same artwork could be used for a new and unique story.

The only point of this movie is to make more money off of an already amazing story. Even though the consensus was that the film wasn’t as good as the original, the 2019 Lion King grossed $1.6 billion, making it the second highest grossing film in 2019 thus far. The movie didn’t have to be a groundbreakingly good movie to make so much money because people are going to see the movie no matter what. The original Lion King is a classic and Disney knows an audience for this movie is almost a guarantee.

Disney isn’t the only one guilty of taking the easy way out. Looking at the twelve upcoming films showing at Regal Cinemas by the end of November, Ad Astra, Hustlers and Abominable are the only three created from original stories.

Movies are expensive to make, costing several million dollars, so creating original content can be a risk. When creating a story with preexisting sentimental fans, that risk practically disappears.

This is a great discovery for film studios, but a disappointing realization for movie lovers. It’s understandable that money is an important aspect of the film industry, it is a business after all– but the process should prioritize producing art instead of just making money.