Without Copyright, Hollywood Would Never Be Incented To... Make A Bunch Of Remakes?

from the nothing-new-under-the-sun dept

We keep hearing about how the entertainment industry needs strong copyright in order to create incentives for the creation of new and original content, saying that without such things, there would be no new creative works at all. And, at the same time, we have the very same people mocking any cultural attempts to build new content by remixing and mashing up old works into something new. So I'm curious to see how those same people explain the fact that Hollywood's entire focus these days seems to be on taking old works and redoing them, rather than creating new and "unique" stories:
In fact, over the next 12 months, audiences can expect to see a new episode or version of "Planet of the Apes," “The Avengers,” “Spider-Man,” “Fright Night,” “The Great Gatsby,” “When Worlds Collide,” “RoboCop,” “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” “The Thing,” “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” “The Raven,” “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “Red Dawn” and “Footloose.”

Add those to recent updated versions of “Winnie the Pooh,” “Clash of the Titans,” “Karate Kid,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “War of the Worlds,” “Arthur,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “The Tourist” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”

And deja vu happens when you turn the television on too.

This fall ABC are bringing back the 1970s series “Charlie’s Angels,” FOX is awakening “The Flintstones,” MTV has its hands on “Teen Wolf,” and we’ve already been slapped with Aaron Spelling’s “90210” and “Melrose Place” on the CW, while NBC re-imagined “The Bionic Woman” and “Knight Rider.”
But Hollywood is producing all these wonderful "new" and creative works, right? And remixing old works isn't creative at all?

Filed Under: hollywood, movies, remakes, tv shows

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2011 @ 9:52am

    What is really funny is that this has very little to do with copyright, and has a whole lot more to do with giving the people what they want and playing it safe.

    Hollywood puts out plenty of "new story" movies, but they also understand the value of a franchise or a proven concept. Those "retreads" are a very small percentage of the total movies coming out (a dozen examples in a slate of 1000 or so movies this year).

    Now, where copyright does come in is controlling who gets to do the remake, and to avoid diluting the "brand". Instead of having a dozen people all trying to make knock off Mission Impossible movies, we get one "brand" that we can trust. If someone else wants to come up with their own secret agent doing wild things and call it "Agent Incredible" nobody will worry.

    Another issue of course is piracy. One of the problems of piracy is that it taking away a lot of the "cream" money that was used to take risks in the past. Ticket sales for movies are down, revenue is flat and only there because of more expensive 3D / Imax ticket prices, otherwise things would be falling off the charts fast. The movies are still very desired (and heavily pirated), but fewer people are paying for the product. That cuts margins, and cuts the amount of risk the studios will take. The result is re-using proven ideas that they feel confident will sell, rather than taking chances on uncertain productions that may or may not make money.

    Hollywood can't afford to fail anymore, they can't afford risks. Thank the pirates for that.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.