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?


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    A.R.M. (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 8:47am

    So in other words...

    ....Netflix is ahead of its time with those lackluster titles in its streaming catalog, all awaiting their remake to be released.

    I wonder if they'll CGI Gene Autry or get a new actor.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:39am

      Re: So in other words...

      There's no money in writing new stuff because of piracy, so of course you're going to get remakes.

      You made the bed, now you get to sleep in it.

       

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        Mike42 (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:49am

        Re: Re: So in other words...

        Yeah, I saw how Harry Potter and Twilight failed at the box office because of piracy. Damn shame.

        Good thing they have this old, free material lying around to use. Otherwise, they'd have to just record peoples everyday lives.

        OK, maybe using the old material isn't so bad...

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 12:12pm

          Re: Re: Re: So in other words...

          The point is that it's venture capital; if the risk is higher that you won't make money, you don't take the risk because you no longer have a cushion to be risky with. You go with the safe bet. That's just smart business. But of course innovation suffers because of it.

           

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            The eejit (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 12:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: So in other words...

            ...and again, that's a business model failure, not a Venture failure.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 5:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So in other words...

              It's got nothing to do with any business model problem. It's a law enforcement issue.

              Businesses have the right to expect a legal, fair playing field. Commerce wouldn't function without that.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 7:39pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So in other words...

                Remember when you could type any song into Napster and listen to it?

                Remember when you could type any song into YouTube and listen to it?

                Ain't progress grand?

                 

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                  PaulT (profile), Aug 4th, 2011 @ 12:50am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So in other words...

                  Remember when you could type any song into iTunes/Amazon and buy anything you wanted?

                  Oops... I guess someone's business model is screwed...

                   

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                greg.fenton (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:23pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So in other words...

                So get the government out of the way and let all players have at the marketplace. The market will pick those who serve their interests best. And as many a study have shown, that often is not the "free" option (see iTunes, Netflix, cable TV, ...)

                 

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                Richard (profile), Aug 4th, 2011 @ 2:12am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So in other words...

                It's got nothing to do with any business model problem. It's a law enforcement issue.

                When your business model depnds on a law that can no longer be enforced without unacceptable collateral damage then it's a business model problem.

                 

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            Jose_X, Aug 4th, 2011 @ 4:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: So in other words...

            >> The point is that it's venture capital; if the risk is higher that you won't make money, you don't take the risk because you no longer have a cushion to be risky with. You go with the safe bet. That's just smart business. But of course innovation suffers because of it.

            What I see is that they make money despite the piracy. You didn't answer why that is. What you are saying is that the industry wants to get highest revenues at minimum risk. What I see is that if they couldn't get the same returns, then this would drive the cost of the staff (eg, the actors, producers, writers, etc) down, perhaps even sending some of the actors towards independents doing more interesting and challenging work. Studies and common sense indicate that if you get paid less than a yearly salary of millions, you will likely still be willing to work just as hard and creatively if not more.

            Here are some more questions.

            If the remixes are not very original (don't "promote the progress") and if these are low risk ventures with an increased chance of being reworked and pulling money away from efforts at more original material, then copyright is failing by encouraging this lack of progress.

            If the remixes are original, but copyright is giving monopoly control to a single entity, then how can this be promoting the progress since we have just thrown obstacles in the path of creativity?

             

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          Chargone (profile), Aug 4th, 2011 @ 11:38pm

          Re: Re: Re: So in other words...

          to be fair, it seems neither of them were terribly original either...

           

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        JEDIDIAH, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 2:18pm

        Re: Re: So in other words...

        ...except the remakes are only skimping on a very small portion of the overall production costs.

        What's an original script going to add to the production cost of a big budget extravaganza with expensive stars and excessive special effects?

        This isn't about piracy. This is about studios being run by risk averse bean counters that are afraid of real art.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 8:31pm

          Re: Re: Re: So in other words...

          This is why we have the Oscars. They throw out that rare art piece at the end of the year to score some Oscars, so their studio has enough respect to get funding to produce the brain-dead summer blockbuster rehash of other famous works.

           

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            greg.fenton (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: So in other words...

            Are you suggesting that Hollywood should stop making blockbusters?? You have a strange view of how businesses tend to operate.

             

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    btr1701 (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:38am

    Avengers

    When was the previous 'Avengers' movie?

    Everything I've read about it says this is the first time such an ambitious franchise-crossing feature film has ever been attmepted.

     

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      blaktron (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:47am

      Re: Avengers

      The Avengers has been in print since the early 70s... calling it new by any stretch is like calling George Bush Sr. 'young at heart'.

       

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        specialized (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:55am

        Re: Re: Avengers

        George Bush Sr. went sky diving on his 85th birthday. Just sayin... :P

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

          Re: Re: Re: Avengers

          George Bush Sr. went sky diving on his 85th birthday. Just sayin... :P

          Strapped to another person, that is. A corpse could go sky diving strapped to a person. Just sayin...

           

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        wallow-T, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:13am

        Re: Re: Avengers

        Some commenters on the "Avengers" title appear to be only aware of one or the other common use of the title.

        In superhero-land, The Avengers was a team of Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Captain America. Now that all of these funny-suited guys have made solo movies, there's going to be a team-up movie soon. One could regard the "Avengers" movie as a sequel to all of the preceding solo movies.

        In the land of people without superpowers, The Avengers was a British TV series about a pair of secret agents starring Patrick MacNee and a series of actresses, most notably Diana Rigg as "Emma Peel". This concept was remade as a film with Uma Thurman in the late 1990s.

         

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          mike allen (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:11am

          Re: Re: Re: Avengers

          Why was I thinking of the British tv series of the same name.

           

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          Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 5:52pm

          Re: Avengers vs Avengers

          Does the “Moron In A Hurry” argument apply here?

           

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          Marcel de Jong (profile), Aug 4th, 2011 @ 7:06am

          Re: Re: Re: Avengers

          Emma Peel.. mmm :) *dreamy look*

          Sorry, what? Oh right, yeah to me "The Avengers" is the British 60s-70s tv-series.

          Never really went for comics myself. And the US comic books never really caught on in Europe for some reason.

           

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        btr1701 (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 1:05pm

        Re: Re: Avengers

        > The Avengers has been in print since the early 70s

        Print, yes. But the claim was these are remakes of previous films. As far as I know, there's never been another Avnegers film.

        Merely making a film from an existing story is hardly a remake or some sign of a recent dearth of creativity.

        Hell, some of Hollywood's greatest films, considered all-time classics, are based on books and other non-film source material. "Gone With the Wind", "A Few Good Men", "Casablanca", "Silence of the Lambs", the list goes on-- all were books and plays before being filmed. "The Avengers" would seem to fall into that category as well.

         

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          Alien Bard, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 1:24pm

          Re: Re: Re: Avengers

          He doesn't specify that they are remakes 'of' films, simply the the remakes 'are' films.

          "some of Hollywood's greatest films, considered all-time classics, are based on books and other non-film source material"

          I rather think that makes the very point being discussed - none of those films were original stories. If copyright laws had been as strict back then as they are now, most of those films would never have gotten off the ground. The industry 'gatekeeper' are presenting us with a two-faced standard, and the trolls are trying to keep us from speaking up too loudly.

           

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            btr1701 (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 7:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Avengers

            > I rather think that makes the very point being discussed - none
            > of those films were original stories. If copyright laws had been
            > as strict back then as they are now, most of those films would
            > never have gotten off the ground.

            I disagree. The exhaustive list of remakes the article listed shows that studios are having no problem making movies from previously copyrighted works.

            Best-selling authors are being paid handsome sums for the film rights to their books just as often today as they were in 1950 or 1970.

            I don't see a 'Silence of the Lambs' not being able to find its way to the screen in 2011 because of copyright law.

             

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 1:48pm

        Re: Re: Avengers

        The comic book Avengers debuted in 1963, long before the 1970s.

         

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      TDR, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:55am

      Re: Avengers

      There was the version with Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman, if memory serves.

       

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        btr1701 (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 1:07pm

        Re: Re: Avengers

        > There was the version with Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman, if memory serves.

        Yes, but that has nothing to do with "The Avengers" coming out next summer. Just two unrelated stories that share the same title.

         

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      crade (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:27am

      Re: Avengers

      In my opinion, remaking every comic book into a movie is hardly more original than remaking every movie into another movie, but I'm not sure if that is the intent.

       

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    Michael Wall, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:41am

    Can we also include TV shows remade for the US from overseas? The Office, Skins, Top Gear, Being Human to name a few.

     

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      Vic, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:02am

      Re:

      In that case the foreign movies remade for the US market as well, such as French comedies with Pierre Richard and probably quite a few more.

       

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        IronM@sk, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 5:05pm

        Re: Re:

        Hollywood takes many Hong-Kong and Japanese films and remakes them. The Departed and The Ring immediately come to mind.

         

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      Someantimalwareguy, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:24am

      Re: bring it on lol

      Wonder when Benny Hill and Red Dwarf will be resurrected. If they are going to rehash the oldies, can't forget these...

       

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    Nick Dynice (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:41am

    Hollywood sez: when we do it, it is creative. When others do it, it is ripping off. Licensing = creative licence.

    The irony is that this is not creative. The sad truth is that executives are afraid to go out on a limb with something new. They don't want to get fired by taking on a new concept that fails. If the remake fails they can always blame someone else because in the past the concept was a hit. There is less risk in their mind on repurposing a known brand. "Let the struggling fiction authors take on that risk," they might think since they have less to lose.

     

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      AC, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:09am

      Re:

      I think you hit it, it's all about risk vs. reward.

      It' hard to create a hit and most new stuff might be viewed as boring and fail.

      Yet, appealing to nostalgia might be a safer bet. Afterall, what worked for one generation might surely work for the next generation. History is full of examples where this has worked.

      The viewing audience is fickle and quite varied so digging up past hits probably stands a better chance of success than an unknown product.

       

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        Derek Kerton (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:31am

        Re: Re:

        "a better chance of success"

        Absolutely. But I think the general consensus here is that remakes, prequels, TV-to-film, and sequels ARE creative works.

        The may re-use known characters, common story lines, proven successes, but in any case, they are re-worked. New scripts are written, and the result is absolutely derivative and new.

        Just as an example, people produce the plays of Shaw and Shakespeare all the time. They normally quote exactly the same script. The storyline is the same. Yet, despite this, every theater company, director, actor, stage designer, costumer designer, etc is taking some poetic license with their interpretation, and is adding their creativity on top of the base layer of Elizabethan quartets.

        Art is derivative, has intrinsic value, and has no need to be wholly original. We know it. We just want Hollywood to admit it's true.

         

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          crade (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Remakes can be very creative, but I'm not sure this is a great example. The reason Hollywood makes so many remakes is 4 parts business and .1 parts art. Usually the most creative they get is "do whatever the stats show will make us the most money".

           

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            Jay (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 5:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Remember how they updated the Romeo and Juliet story to be in Los Angeles? Leo Dicaprio starred in that one.

            Then there was the spin off with Jet Li, where Romeo was a kung fu badass. "Romeo must Die"

            Hollywood can continue to remake, they just don't have the monopoly on ideas.

             

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    Noah McMurray (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:42am

    Obviously copyright isn't strong enough yet

    Isn't it obvious? The studio's are forced to focus on remakes because copyright isn't yet strong enough to provide the necessary incentive for new/original works to be created. Once copyright laws are strengthened appropriately, we're sure to see a whole string of amazing new/original content come streaming out, right?

     

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      egghead (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:49am

      Re: Obviously copyright isn't strong enough yet

      I swear, if I see a little light-bulb show up next to his title, I might just pull all my hair out, run around buck naked and recite the lyrics of every emo/pop song there is!

       

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      Alien Bard, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 2:01pm

      Re: Obviously copyright isn't strong enough yet

      The sad thing is that this really is the reasoning we are being sold and which our politicians appear to be buying.

       

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      The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 3:17pm

      Re: Obviously copyright isn't strong enough yet

      Why not take it to its ultimate conclusion? Strengthen copyrights so much that even the author of the works isn't allowed to build on his own works when creating new ones.

      That will provide an incentive for them to make every new work from scratch without any influence whatsoever and thus be truly original!

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 1:34pm

      Re: Obviously copyright isn't strong enough yet

      Yep, what we need is the death penalty for even thinking about copyright infringement. Then maybe Hollywood can finally "get creative". It's a matter of economic survival for the whole country!

       

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    Frost (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:47am

    Movies, music, same thing

    Music used to be unique too. There used to be new artists doing new music (well... new-sounding, since you can only string so many sounds together in so many ways until you run out) - and that stuff got played by mostly independent DJ's on mostly independent radio stations, which allowed for a great deal of diversity. The big record companies had to at least try to innovate (or at the very least, allow new acts to grow). Then came radio deregulation, Clear channel, and suddenly there was basially one big radio station covering the continental US, and payola was institutionalized in the form of "independent promotors" - and it sure wasn't cheap anymore to get anything on radio.

    So the big record labels in their nutty quest for fantasy profits decided that they didn't want to take any more risks, to get their money back after the payola payments and so on, everything had to sell - and since people are hardwired to equate "familiar" with "good", hellooo fifteen trillion remakes and remixes and re-recordings of old hits. That's basically all we get out of the big labels these days, any innovation happens on the Internet or independently.

    So why this long discussion about the horrors of radio deregulation? Because the same mechanisms are in place for the movies, I think. Familiar = good, remember? In the incessant quest for more money, going with something that has once been a hit and mildly massaging it and doing it again, the studios hope for a surefire moneymaker, and innovation and art etc don't even register on anyone's radar.

    Copyright schmopyright, this is all completely anchored in the profit motive. To these people, music, movies or TV are just a cash machine with the output being a side product, not the goal.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 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.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 9:59am

      Re:

      That explains why District 9 failed so heavily. Dastardly pirates!

       

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      crade (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:08am

      Re:

      lol, "piracy (arr!)" isn't taking away any "cream money", they just figured out that risks are not worthwhile overall. It's completely simple and obvious, (hmm.. would you like to trade your guarenteed profit for whats behind door number 2?) no need to throw in a completely unsubtantiated claims about it being somehow linked to copyright infringment or eyepatches.

      Also, I hope you are joking about the remakes being quality because some random jerkoff who ended up with the rights gets to tell me I can only make a remake if I give him 80%. You might consult the creator to make your remake better, but definately not the copyright holder. You only do that to give them money. Not that it matters since we can easily ignore any extra bad movies made anyway.

       

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      Ninja (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      Oh yeah, movie tickets are so falling that I can't even find tickets on indie cinemas in a Saturday night where I live. Citation on your figures please.

      Imax is usually quite empty exactly because of price. After the initial hype of 3D ppl are thinking again. I get headaches depending on the movie so I kinda quit the 3D thing. And.. Dude, glasses? Citations boy, I don't see the revenue of Hollywood as a whole falling. Unless they are altering the financial data they release. Citation, please.

      "If someone else wants to come up with their own secret agent doing wild things and call it "Agent Incredible" nobody will worry." Tell that to the MAFIAA and the lawsuits on parodies and similar attempts. Oh wait, parodies are not creative works even though they get you a good laugh and sometimes are more worthy of your time than the original movie. Derp.

      Hollywood IS FAILING and it has nothing to do with "pirates". And even FAILING tI'm amazed how they can setill do shitloads of money.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:11am

      Re:

      "Now, where copyright does come in is controlling who gets to do the remake, and to avoid diluting the "brand". "

      You can try to dilute oil by adding all the water you want: it won't. Same concept applies to "intellectual property". Unless you are ready to admit that what Hollywood and most artists are putting out isn't so too resistant to dilution (i.e. it is a piece of S***)?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:16am

      Re:

      Piracy isn't hurting Hollywood. Hollywood is hurting itself by making pathetic movies.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:42am

        Re: Re:

        So pathetic that you're addicted to ripping them off.

        Real strong argument you have there, Sparky.

         

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          The eejit (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 12:54pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You know that last movie I "ripped off"?

          Rango

          Do you know how many copies I bought? Two. How many worked? Neither.

          So you tell me, why the fuck would I want to pay for something that doesn't work?

           

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          JEDIDIAH, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 2:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          > So pathetic that you're addicted to ripping them off.

          I don't need to "rip them off". I can just wait for Netflix or Cable.

          Hollywood's content has always been freeware.

           

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 5:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Real strong argument you have there, Sparky.

          People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

          I very seldom watch movies. When I do, they're classics like The Body Snatcher or The Mask of Dimitrios. I'd never watch one of the glorified CGI demos churned out by Hollywood this century; just seeing the commercials for them sickens me.

          Next time, come up with a counterargument more detailed than "omg u must be a pirat lolnoob". This isn't 4chan, you know.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2011 @ 10:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So pathetic that you're addicted to ripping them off.

          Yet still they made record after record at the box office, in a recession no less. Go figure.

           

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      Richard (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:18am

      Re:

      where copyright does come in is controlling who gets to do the remake,

      Usually this means we get a "safe" version - and the really creative people who might make soemthing new and worth watching don't get a look in. If this system had been in place in the 16th century then that upstart Shakespeare might never have been able to remake Romeo and Juliet because Arthur Brooke and or William Painter who had both published versions a few years earlier.

      What you mean of course is that we're guaranteed a version made with high production values and star names at great expense - not necessarily synonomous with good.

      If you want a good remake you have to throw the field open and let the best man win.

       

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:18am

      Re:

      "a dozen examples in a slate of 1000 or so movies this year"

      OK, name some. I know of no movies that are coming out that aren't just remakes. Hell Avatar and District 9 (the two most unique movies in the past few years) were just taken from indie films several years before.

      Movie ticket sales are down due to the fact that it costs $10 just for one ticket in 2D non-IMAX. And when you get there, the video quality is crappy, the loud noises are too loud, the quiet is too quiet, the floors are sticky, the place stinks. Yeah, I don't go to the theaters any more.

      If Hollywood is failing so hard, maybe they should start looking at themselves first. They don't need to make $200 million to $500 million movies. They don't need to pay one actor $20 million. They don't need 90 writers working on something less complex then a book one person wrote by themselves. Maybe they should start making smart business decisions instead of spending money like the US government.

       

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      lastTry (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:36am

      Re:

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

      I will happily give them 10 dollars if they would just try and fail one last time.

       

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      ComputerAddict (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:46am

      Re:

      "The movies are still very desired (and heavily pirated), but fewer people are paying for the product."

      So What your saying is.... There is a high demand for a product and they can't figure out how to market and monetize that demand?

      Sounds like a Business Model Issue...

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:27am

        Re: Re:

        Nope, what I am saying it that there is high demand to pirate the stuff, but nobody wants to pay a penny for it. Nobody feels any need to actually pay for content anymore, it's like they have a mental disconnect between the idea of paying and the idea of how this stuff gets made. Without money, it won't happen.

        Then you can all sit around and watch Sita Sings The Blues over and over again and try to remember when you last saw a decent movie.

         

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          Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:44am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hasn't it been shown (a few times) already that the so called pirates are more likely to pay for things then the non-pirates?

          Hasn't it also been shown that the movie industry isn't run like a business, but a government agency; spending asinine amounts of money for the sake of spending money.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 12:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          How is this any different than any other product? People don't pay because they don't think the product is worth the price.

          It doesn't mean they don't desire the product.

           

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          JMT (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 2:14pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "...there is high demand to pirate the stuff, but nobody wants to pay a penny for it."

          Bullshit.

          "Nobody feels any need to actually pay for content anymore..."

          Bullshit.

          "...it's like they have a mental disconnect between the idea of paying and the idea of how this stuff gets made."

          Bullshit.

          Anybody who believes these statements is doomed to fail in any business. If your opinion of your customers is that low, you're unlikely to do the sorts of things that would make them want to support you financially. Like providing content when and how the technology allows for example.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 2:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Perhaps people realize that it doesn't really cost a Bazillion dollars to create a movie, and that perhaps the 'actors' who are being paid 100x most people's yearly salary for a couple months 'work' aren't really as 'hard up' as the industry would like to make us think they are....

          Of course with industry accounting, the Bazillion dollars is split something like this:
          Actors: 1.000% (if the film makes 'net' revenue)
          Crew: 0.001%
          Middlemen: 98.999% (of this 5% goes to advertising, 5% to production costs, 20% to hookers and blow, 30% to political marketing (bribes, lobbying, and related graft), and the rest goes in their pocket so they can make that vacation home payment).

           

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    TDR, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:05am

    Anyway, just goes to show that the MAFIAA recycles more trash than the garbage collectors.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:05am

    There is a legend of a man who visited Universal's secret headquarters and saw the master whiteboard of movie franchises planned out to 2045 including several reboots of the same story on schedule every 15 years or so. This man lived to tell the tale. Or so they say.

     

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    Sean Dougherty, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:08am

    The Avengers?

    This Avengers isn't a remake of either the British TV series "The Avengers" from the 1960s or of 1950s radio show "The Avenger," which was about a pulp character and was a blatant knock-off of "The Shadow."

    That's actually a new movie about characters who have appeared in other movies but not together.

     

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    Rich Kulawiec, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:10am

    People want drivel...

    ...so Big Content gives them drivel.

    For every one of these intelligence-insulting feature movies, there are 10 low-budget films that blow it away. For every insanely vapid TV show, there's 10 more interesting things online. For every shallow untalented hack of a pop star, there are 10 wonderful musicians playing in your town or posting their work online.

    The trick is to wean yourself from mass-produced "culture" and seek out the individual efforts: the visions and craft and creativity of people who are making things not because they think they'll make $500M, but because they're artists and THAT'S WHAT THEY DO. Thanks to them, there are small bits of genius to be found almost everywhere -- and once in a while, a masterpiece.

    Hollywood is obsolete. The TV networks are obsolete. The record companies are obsolete. We don't need them any more.

    (And of course this is why they're frightened out of their minds: they KNOW this is true.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:14am

    A few remakes get made, and you think that invalidates the theory behind copyright. Classic FUD, Mike.

     

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      Richard (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:26am

      Re:

      A few remakes get made, and you think that invalidates the theory behind copyright. Classic FUD,

      Not necessary - the so called theory behind copyright is blown away by the last 300 years of experience. It was never about incentivising production and always about protecting the incomes of a favoured few publishers.

      What the article says in the headline is the truth however - you just read it the wrong way. Copyright certainly incentivises re-makes because the rightsholders for the originals wish to refresh their franchise and make a bit more money for nothing. Without copyright, production would centre around things that artists were inspired to make (that could include re-makes, but only if the artist felt he had something new to add).

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:31am

      Re:

      Wait?!?

      It's a theory now? I thought it was a law but if it's a theory, that changes everything!

      Like a scientific theory, right? Where facts and observable phenomena need to be taken into account?

      I call this progress.

       

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      crade (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:33am

      Re:

      lol, if this article was intended to invalidate copyright on it's own I think it would have a larger title. I think it's meant to add to the giant pile of evidence. But "a few remakes" is ridiculous, whether it is related to copyright or not, hollywood is *entirely* remakes and sequels now, with exceptions being very few and far between.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:34am

      Re:

      No, it invalidates the idea that remakes are not creative.

       

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      Derek Kerton (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:36am

      Re:

      No. The community here LIKES remakes. We feel that remixing and re-hashing ARE art, and can add value.

      We just want Hollywood to admit it's true.

      Because if it is true, then by locking up characters under copyright and trademark, the public loses access to all kinds of derivative works that are currently blocked. If so, then the IP laws are not meeting their stated purpose: to provide more art to the public.

      If we judge Hollywood by their actions, based on all the re-hashes that creative community produces, then we conclude that they DO agree that re-hashes are art.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:52am

        Re: Re:

        No. The community here LIKES remakes. We feel that remixing and re-hashing ARE art, and can add value.

        We just want Hollywood to admit it's true.


        Um, don't you think the fact that they're making remakes is because they know it's true that people like them?

        Because if it is true, then by locking up characters under copyright and trademark, the public loses access to all kinds of derivative works that are currently blocked. If so, then the IP laws are not meeting their stated purpose: to provide more art to the public.

        The public got to see the copyrighted work to begin with. That's the public's side of the bargain. And it will enter the public domain when the copyright expires. The other side of the bargain is that the copyright holder gets certain exclusive rights, including the right to make remakes and other derivative works. The public doesn't get those rights by design. Yes, some things are temporarily locked up, but so what? The public gets their end of deal too.

        If we judge Hollywood by their actions, based on all the re-hashes that creative community produces, then we conclude that they DO agree that re-hashes are art.

        Of course they know this. This whole argument is a silly straw man from the get go.

         

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          crade (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:06am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If the publics side of the bargain is that we get to see whatever art is made (which we don't, thats the whole point of copyright) that is a really stupid deal because we get that anyway.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Stupid or not, it's an enumerated power in the Constitution.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:27am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So was slavery.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:31am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Slavery is not an enumerated Article I power. Nonetheless, the 13th Amendment ended that. If you want to end copyright, then by all means, work towards that goal. In the meantime, copyright is fact and it is law. If you don't like it, stop whining. Do something about it.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:44am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  crickets...

                   

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                  Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:50am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  You don't want to keep with the comparison of copyright and slavery. One of the ways we got rid of slavery is by violating the law. Ever hear of the underground railroad?

                   

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                  crade (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 12:11pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "If you don't like it, stop whining. Do something about it."
                  What do you think we are doing?

                   

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                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 12:13pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Absolutely nothing, quite obviously.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 12:15pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Someone ain't paying attention.

                       

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                      The eejit (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 12:57pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Well, this one time, at Band Camp, I downloaded a film and became a terrorist paedophile politician lawyer Naxi Communist.

                      I keep talking, pointing to studies with hard evidence, and a reviewed methodology that isn't, "well, uhh, we asked people."

                       

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                    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 12:27pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    What do you think we are doing?

                    Whining.

                     

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                      crade (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 1:36pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "Whining" is a tone, which you can't tell from the internet, but assuming you have a moderate faith in democracy, sharing your grievences in the current state with as many others as you can and trying to convince them that they are valid is kinda doing something. We are doing things the right way. What else do you want?

                       

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                      Richard (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 3:58pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      What do you think we are doing?

                      Whining.


                      Which has the practical purpose of keeping people like you busy writing comments like the above. Since there are more of us than there are of you this is an effective tactic.

                       

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                      Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2011 @ 9:37am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Whining.

                      In your haste to poste, I think you put an unncessary "h" in that word, and forgot an "n" in that double consonant in the middle.

                       

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                  JEDIDIAH, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 2:35pm

                  Conflating the Constitution and the USC...

                  Copyright in it's current form is not enumerated in the Constitution. It is something that the government is given permission to do.

                  It's like saying that you are allowed to eat the whole gallon of ice cream, rather than saying you must eat the whole gallon of ice cream.

                  That permission is also dependent on some conditions first.

                  That's like being required to run off that gallon of ice cream beforehand. It's not a one sided proposition.

                  Copyright is a highly optional thing that the government is allowed to do only because it's a greater good for society in general. It's not meant as a virtual land grab for individuals.


                  That stuff is extra and is NOT enumerated in the Constitution.

                  What is enumerated in the constitution is that "creative ownership" is not permanent. It is not like property.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Aug 4th, 2011 @ 12:57pm

                    Re: Conflating the Constitution and the USC...

                    Copyright in it's current form is not enumerated in the Constitution. It is something that the government is given permission to do.

                    You're contradicting yourself. The Constitution grants Congress the power to make copyright laws. Congress's copyright laws are created pursuant to that enumerated power. Therefore, copyright in its current form is most definitely enumerated in the Constitution. The Constitution leaves it to Congress to work out the details.

                     

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          Derek Kerton (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "We just want Hollywood to admit it's true.

          Um, don't you think the fact that they're making remakes is because they know it's true that people like them?"

          What they DO and what they SAY are not in sync. This is exactly what Masnick (and I) is pointing out. Seems a little thick not to have picked up the key takeaway.

          The media industry (perhaps not exactly the movie industry) has been suing derivative artists like Girl Talk for 'appropriating' their art, and building something new with it. We feel like these derivative works are fair use. The motion picture industry has attacked all sorts of fan fiction in much the same way. Techdirt has dozens of posts where media backers comment how these "remixers are nothing better than thieving punks." So, in these cases, the media industry seems to think that derivative works are NOT creative works of their own.

          Clearly this isn't a "slam dunk" argument we just made.
          We're just pointing out a little more hypocrisy to add to the pile.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 12:18pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Nobody is denying that remixes and remakes are artistic on some level. It's a straw man. A remixer can be a "thief" if he's using a copyrighted work in a way that's not fair use, but he can also be creative at the same time. They aren't mutually exclusive.

             

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              Derek Kerton (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 1:48pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              OK, then.

              But if our societal goal is to end up with more art in the public domain, now we have a force for copyright (offers incentive) and AGAINST copyright (prevents derivatives).

              This makes the arguments for copyright something worthy of debate.

              PS, Regarding "Nobody is denying that remixes and remakes are artistic on some level." Well, you haven't been around the TechDirt comments much, then. We often get industry hacks on here telling us that remixes are not creative. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090327/1611474282.shtml#c376

               

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          John Fenderson (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 12:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes, some things are temporarily locked up, but so what? The public gets their end of deal too.


          If this were true, and the "temporary" term was of a reasonable length, I would have much less of a problem with US copyright.

          But the reality is that it isn't temporary. Yes, technically it may be but in reality, every time Micky Mouse is about to enter the public domain, congress extends the duration of copyright. I see no reason why this trend will change, so the end effect is that the temporary is actually permanent.

          The deal has been reneged on. There is no deal.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 12:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The Constitution only says it has to be for a "limited" time. It is in fact for a limited time. You don't think it's a "reasonable" time. A majority of those who wrote the law disagreed. This is the democratic process. There is a deal, and you just don't like it. That's too bad for you.

             

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              John Fenderson (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 12:52pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You missed my point.

              It's not a limited time in reality, only technically, because every time the "limited time" is about to elapse for Micky, the limit is lengthened. This will continue, unless radical changes (that you seem to be opposed to) are made, forever.

              So the reality is the "limited time" is "infinite."

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 12:56pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                The only way you can make your infinite time argument is by falsely assuming that because it was extended in the past, it will always continue to be extended in the future such that nothing new ever falls into the public domain. Unless you have a time machine, it's just FUD.

                 

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                  crade (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 1:39pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  falsely assuming? How do you know it's false? It seems a perfectly reasonable assumption. It's not quite guarenteed, but juding from history it's highly likely.

                   

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                    JEDIDIAH, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 2:38pm

                    What's a good enough level of certainty?

                    What's a good enough level of certainty?

                    How about we let this industry shill play Russian Roulette with this proposition? Which option would he choose?

                     

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              Alien Bard, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 2:36pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The only way you can make your limited time argument is by falsely assuming that it will not be extended in the future such that original stories will eventually fall into the public domain. Unless you have a time machine, it's just FUD.

               

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:41am

      Re: big vs. small

      i guess the problem here is that the studios are trying to make blockbusters with sequels and remakes. however, where they may be spending billions of dollars to create big movies, there are a larger number of people making smaller, more creative movies. the smaller studios can't afford the royalties required to get the proven themes so they innovate.

      what is troubling with this post is that all movie making is lumped together. in terms of budgets and revenue then what mike has to say may be true, but in terms of quantity i believe that there are more movies made that do not rely on the sequel/remake methodology.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:28am

    This is what the industry's violently protecting? No wonder they bought the government. I hate to pull an "Orwell's Law" (it's hard NOT to do in this day and age), but these rehashes that nobody with a triple digit IQ asked for are no different than those trashy automatically generated novels the proles eat up in 1984.

     

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    Brendan (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:30am

    Adaptations

    Don't forget about adaptation to film of existing material. These days that is most notably coming from comics/graphic novels, but regular novels are getting a decent slice ofaction too.

     

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      crade (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:38am

      Re: Adaptations

      Yes, anything already popular translates to a good investment. People don't have to like the movie, they just have to watch it :)

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:26am

      Re: Adaptations

      These days? It seemed like every movie in the 90s was based on a Grisham or Crichton novel.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:28am

        Re: Re: Adaptations

        Or Anne Rice, or Tom Clancy. Question: has there ever been a time when there wasn't a slew of movies based on books, comics, or other movies?

         

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    out_of_the_blue, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:31am

    No conflict, Mike: remixing and mashing up are HACKERY,

    just as re-making movies is.

     

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      crade (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 10:53am

      Re: No conflict, Mike: remixing and mashing up are HACKERY,

      Hackery? is that a verb or an adjective?

      Remaking movies is plain old boring businessy. There is no curiousity required.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:29am

      Re: No conflict, Mike: remixing and mashing up are HACKERY,

      Yeah, like that "hack job" Jimi Hendrix did with "All Along the Watchtower". What a terrible remix artist.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:02am

    ...and “Footloose.”

    WHAT?!

     

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    mike allen (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:17am

    Remakes are rarely as good as the original!!!!!!

     

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      Derek Kerton (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:53am

      Re:

      Interesting claim, and maybe even true. If so, why?

      Probably two factors at play:

      1) Regression towards the Mean. Probably not something I should take the space to explain here, so if you don't know what it is, you should. Try this:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regression_to_the_mean

      2) Business incentives. Producers of sequel films can trade on the success of the prequels, and thus can cut corners in costs and effort of the subsequent film. Even when word gets out that the sequel is bad, the film will still be over-compensated by the market, because fans may have some affinity for the characters - enough to incentivize them to hold their noses just to follow the characters along. (See: "The Phantom Menace")

      IMHO, factor 1 above is the biggest factor at play. It is a powerful statistical reality. Factor 2 assumes a fairly cynical approach by writers and artists to just produce crap that makes money, but I believe that these artists have an inherent desire to create a highly acclaimed product, not a knock-off. The studio 'suits', OTOH, might drive some of factor 2.

       

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    gorehound (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:30am

    Hollywood is a piece of shit.I made up the anocronym YARM years back.you may have seen it being used around the internet.it means Yet Another Remake/Reboot
    YARM is what they do best.KRAP is what they are.
    If I need a MAFIAA film I will buy it used some where or download it.They are never seeing my wallet again.

    Bye Bye Can't Wait to see Ya Die !!!!

     

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    PRMan, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:35am

    But...

    But without eternal copyright OTHER people would be able to make money off these things instead of them!!!

     

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    AW (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 11:58am

    The real tragedy here...

    The real tragedy is that they STILL won't relaunch Firefly, we still haven't gotten another Librarian installment and there isn't any good show with space travel.

    Also when everyone tells me what they've done at Disneyland it still sounds like paying a ton of money to wait in line, why is a company that makes waiting in line something to pay lots of money for called a creative company?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 12:15pm

    But, But, the children

    But making new things is difficult, it's much easier to copy an existing work and claim it as your own 'new and improved' version....

    Wait, am I defending fair use and creative evolution, or the **AA industry..... okay, who tricked me.....

     

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    BigBroccoli, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 1:01pm

    Remaking "Straw Dogs" too. Damn you Hollywood...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 1:25pm

    I have to laugh about all of this, because you know what the Tardian opinion would be if they didn't do remakes:

    "Damn Hollywood locks up stuff and won't reuse it and won't let anyone else use it. They are just hoarding IP and being pricks about it!".

    There is no winning in the Tardian world.

     

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      egghead (profile), Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 3:05pm

      Re:

      There is no winning in the Tardian world.

      Yes, there is! Stop thinking that you've already lost and instead try to figure out what you potential customers want. Trial and error will also help you to determine what will serve them best. Perhaps, the funding for a movie should come from somewhere other than ticket/disc/download sales; that way those items could be priced much lower and the profits are hardly impacted. Imagine a world where recorded entertainment is created alongside the fans, bring them along for the ride as the film is being made, let them have the chance to sculpt the movie with additional ideas and maybe even charge a small fee and open it up for donations with some rewards!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 1:27pm

    Hell, i remember when Avatar came out, everybody acted like it was the most original idea since sliced bread.... they acted like they had never seen Pocahontas before! OMG! It was just BLUE POCAHONTAS! i rofled continuously as people raved about its "revolutionary" "originality".

    here you go: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/04/avatar-pocahontas-in-spac_n_410538.html

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 2:28pm

    the next episode

    Please someone at hollywood make MORE STAR TREK! not just a movie every 3 years, put it on TV damn you!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2011 @ 2:38pm

    I have no interest in seeing remakes. I've already seen the original in most cases so I already know how it is going to end and what the story line is about.

    Bigger explosions and more GFX does not equate to a better movie. If the GFX does not move the plot along then it is wasted money.

    Hollydud has been bankrupt for ideas for some time now. The last big break through they had was movies of comic book heroes. Only that has pretty much come to an end.

    Add this to the depressive box office environment and I come out with zilch to be interested in. Not interested means no money spent for tickets.

    Being risk adverse also means less and less box office draw.

     

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