Looking back at the films released this year, I can in all honesty say that â€“ well, besides â€œStar Trekâ€ â€“ the most successful of the bunch werenâ€™t necessarily the most entertaining.
In fact, many â€“ like the dreadful â€œTransformers : Revenge of the Fallenâ€, the mind-numbing â€œG.I Joeâ€, and “Saw VI” â€“ went off like a wet firecracker.
Problem is, the studioâ€™s have come to the realization that itâ€™s much easier to not only make, but make a buck out of something that offers name recognition â€“ like the abovementioned robot-humps-Megan-Foxâ€™s-leg-movie, one of thoseâ€ now 100% kiddie-friendlyâ€ horror remakes, or something based on a video game that was in a bargain bin a month after it shelves – so theyâ€™re less and less interested in original material. Heck, a couple of studios will laugh at you, crumble your script up and use it as a spit-ball, and offer up their best Bill Mechanic-impersonation if you even try to pitch them something original.
For my money, the best films of the past twelve months include such titles as â€œAdventurelandâ€, â€œThe Brotherâ€™s Bloomâ€, â€œFanboysâ€, â€œThe Boat That Rockedâ€ and â€œâ€ but chances are, only a small portion of you out there have seen those flicks â€“ why? For the simple fuck-fact that you never had the opportunity. When sure-things like â€œTransformersâ€ and â€œSaw 6â€ are hogging most of the screens at the multiplex, thereâ€™s just no room for the smaller (but arguably better) film, like say, Greg Mottolaâ€™s â€œAdventurelandâ€ which disappeared from theatres quicker than a restroom streaker.
A number of filmmakers, producers and studio execs themselves have told me this year that the majority of films getting up at the moment are sequels and remakes â€“ and pretty soon, thatâ€™s about all theyâ€™ll be making. â€œYa see, they â€“ the flicks with brand recognition – make money; the â€˜good stuffâ€™ doesnâ€™t (thereâ€™s probably another argument here to make â€“ something along the lines of â€˜if the studios pushed the smaller, better film more â€“ as Sony did with â€œDistrict 9â€ and Paramount did with â€œParanormal Activityâ€ â€“ mightnâ€™t that turn things around?), thus itâ€™s franchise, franchise, franchise and rehash, rehash, rehash all the wayâ€, says one filmmaker.
And what youâ€™ll find over the next couple of years is that youâ€™ll be seeing more and more â€˜nameâ€™ brands getting the movie treatment â€“ heck, even Hasbro board games like â€œMonopolyâ€ and â€œRiskâ€ are getting the movie treatment (even sadder that big name directors like Ridley Scott are bringing them to the screen, but I guess if nobodyâ€™s prepared to make their original material â€“ they gotta get their meal ticket somewhere else). â€˜The suits donâ€™t care where the name originates fromâ€¦ so long as you can build a movie around it. In-and-Out-Burger : The Movie canâ€™t be too far awayâ€, says a writer who, despite a few good credits on his IMDB, canâ€™t sell his latest piece â€“ because itâ€™s â€œtoo differentâ€.
Despite most of them sucking worse than a clogged hoover, there will be dozens more horror remakes (â€œA Nightmare on Elm Streetâ€, â€œPoltergeistâ€, â€œThe Birdsâ€, â€œMotherâ€™s Dayâ€, â€œI Spit On Your Graveâ€); hordes of sequels (Rambo will be back, Indiana Jones, Michael Myers, even Shrek!); a bunch of films based on musicals (â€œNineâ€, â€œRock of Agesâ€, â€œWickedâ€),a slew of direct-to-DVD sequels (Universal Soldier 3 got you excited? What about Death Race 2?), a trunk full of video-game flicks (â€œPrince of Persiaâ€, â€œTekkenâ€), remakes of films that shouldnâ€™t be (â€œButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kidâ€, â€œLess than Zeroâ€, â€œDeath Wishâ€, â€œTotal Recallâ€, â€œFright Nightâ€, â€œThe Clash of the Titansâ€), and, of course, oodles and oodles of films based on comic-book properties â€“ â€œThe Flashâ€, â€œThorâ€, â€œCaptain Americaâ€ – heck, even the inked offerings that have already spawned films, like â€œFantastic Fourâ€ and â€œDaredevilâ€, are being rebooted. Soderbergh couldnâ€™t get â€œMoneyballâ€ up, Duncan Jones is struggling to find the finance for his â€œMoonâ€ follow-up â€œMuteâ€, and that all-star sequel to â€œThe Last Detailâ€ doesnâ€™t look like itâ€™ll ever happen find a backer, and yet thereâ€™s script-less junk being greenlit based on the name value embossed on the A4 top sheet. Sadder than a dickless man in the playboy mansion, hey?
So if thatâ€™s how itâ€™s going to be, thatâ€™s how itâ€™s going to beâ€¦. My fellow producers, filmmakers, writersâ€¦ hereâ€™s a few ideas that might get you through the front door. Throw that brilliantly-written, original piece to the side, and write a treatment for something thatâ€™ll sell toys, look pretty on placemats, and catch the young oneâ€™s eye when it hits the newspaper!
Fancy a remake?
â€œMannequinâ€ â€“ hey, remember that little beautie? Didnâ€™t make a dime at the box office first-time around (The theme song did better), but who caresâ€¦ the story is there for the taking. Robert Pattinson would make a terrific Jonathan Switcher, and Kristen Stewart would make a really cutie Mannequin! The kids would camp out for weeks to see it! And when it comes to â€˜Hollywoodâ€™, it ainâ€™t gonna get any better than big-time â€˜celebrityâ€™ Perez Hilton! Sign the boy up now!
â€œWeekend at Berniesâ€ â€“ Was a surprise hit when it was released at the tail-end of the 80s. Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman were fun, sure, but imagine how great this could be if it were The Jones Brothers dragging around a corpse! And Renee Zellweger is so expressionless these days she could probably play â€˜Bernieâ€™ â€“ the late female executive who invited the two to her beach house for fun and frolicking only to sniff a little too much skunk off the mirror! Brilliant!
â€œCrossroadsâ€ â€“ Since heâ€™s already remaking â€œThe Karate Kidâ€, and thatâ€™s bound to be a smash, it probably wonâ€™t take much to entice young Jaden Smith into redoing another Ralph Macchio â€˜classicâ€™. Instead of the bluesâ€¦ maybe he could be a talented pre-teen rapper?!
â€œTango & Cashâ€ â€“ The Rock and Seann William Scott are bunking together these days, right? Theyâ€™d probably be happy to work together again – - and tell me theyâ€™re not going to have a hoot wearing womenâ€™s clothing and mocking their larger-than-life personas? (â€œWrestlers are pussies!â€, says Johnson as he fires a round into the guts of the oil rig).
Hell, and just to please The Rock â€“ and his diaper-wearing fans â€“ they could switch the central location from a jail to a juvenile detention centreâ€¦. Where Tango & Cash are forced to go because the jails are full! The kids will love it!
â€œThe Running Manâ€ â€“ With Adrien Brody set to go fist-to-glove with the â€˜Predatorâ€™ next year, in turn somewhat taking the place of the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger, itâ€™s evident the boyâ€™s about to become a bonafide action star. And what better a vehicle for Brody to follow â€œPredatorsâ€ up with then another Schwarzenegger classic, â€œThe Running Manâ€?! Attach him now thoughâ€¦. Before they get him from that long-gestating â€œEscape from New Yorkâ€ remake!
Fancy bringing a TV hit to the big screen?
â€œBookerâ€ â€“ Make sure Richard Grieco doesnâ€™t hear about it, otherwise your phone will never stop ringing, but if you can entice Cannell to produce a feature-film version of the popular â€˜â€™21 Jump Streetâ€™â€™ spin-off you could be yachting in the Bahamas before the 71-page-script is even in coloured pages form. And since theyâ€™re making a â€œ21 Jump Streetâ€ film, you could have â€˜Bookerâ€™ cameo in it, thus setting up the vehicle thatâ€™ll be released the following Summer. Vince Vaughnâ€™s name should be atop of your wish list to play Booker.
â€œDifferent Strokesâ€ â€“ Now this is something Wil Smith is bound to want to get involved with! â€“ Fuck, itâ€™s the perfect opportunity for him and young Jaden to work together again! See where Iâ€™m going with this!? Yep, Will as Willis, Jaden as Arnold. And how cool would the theme song be if Will laid down his vocals on it!!? Bring a hairdryer with you to the pitch meeting, because youâ€™re gonna need to dry some execsâ€™ trousers!
â€œFawlty Towersâ€ â€“ When it comes to classic British comedy, you know thereâ€™s only one man that can possibly do a film version justiceâ€¦. Yep, Steve Carell! I can see the TV spots already! â€˜Manuel!!!!â€™
â€œCharles in Chargeâ€ â€“ Imagine this : Taylor Lautner, one of the hottest new stars in the world, is suddenly forced to accept a job as a live-in nanny to bunch of screaming vampire-movie loving girls! Let the bids begin!
â€œFang-Faceâ€ â€“ The classic Saturday morning cartoon finally gets the big-screen treatment! Bill Murray was Garfield, Dan Aykroydâ€™s set to play Yogi Bearâ€¦ surely Jack Nicholson wants in on the fun!? Heck, if Nicholson plays hardball just tell him youâ€™ve got a letter of intent from Adam Sandler to play his sidekick Fangpussy! Fuck, Iâ€™d buy shares in this bitch now!
â€¦. End of Part One.
To Be Continued.