Hollywood became the dominant player in global entertainment because it flooded the world with stories. Stories come from ideas, and now a lot of people are starting to feel that ideas are dead.
Let's look at Hollywood's development slate. First Disney's putting together what they hope will be a movie franchise based on their It's A Small World ride. Meanwhile someone else is putting together a movie/TV franchise based on the Marshmallow Peeps candy, and the most logical sounding of these decisions, but not by much, is that they're rebooting Eli Roth's 11 year old Cabin Fever.
First let's look at Cabin Fever. I'm not as outraged at it being rebooted since it's the nature of the beast for horror films to be sequelized, remade, rebooted, and rehashed until there's no blood left in its rotting stinking corpse. But let's take a look at the facts. The original was made on a $1.5 million budget, and raked in about $30 million at the box office. Not a bad rate of return even after you deduct P&A and the House Nut.
The sequel Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever however, came and went in theatres with barely a notice, and then went to DVD where it clutters up discount bins next to countless other forgotten films. Even its director wants nothing to do with it.
Now I can see the strategy forming in the minds that are behind the reboot idea. They look at the first film and how it made so much money and they're thinking that if they do a bigger version then that will do even bigger at the box office.
But there's a catch.
I'm not a fan of Eli Roth's particular brand of nihilistic gory cinema, but I have noticed a pattern.
The films are not the franchise, he is.
Usually he directs the first film, goes off to do something else, and someone else makes the sequel. The sequels, like Cabin Fever 2, Hostel 2, etc…etc… usually disappear into DVD oblivion. They're usually too violent for most basic cable outlets, so they really have to make their money in theatres and in home video.
Yet what are they, each film is essentially about good looking people dying horribly in ways that are mostly different in each film. A sequel simply tells fans of that genre that they're going to see more good looking people die horribly the same way they saw in the first film.
So why bother.
Now, onto the others.
I know why Disney wants to do It's A Small World as a movie, and it's not just to scare the living crap out of Clive Barker.
Disney knows that the "branding" of a ride doesn't hurt at the box office, and here's a franchise that doesn't involve the overpriced and under-performing star Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski driving up the costs of the franchise into the realm of unprofitability.
However, Pirates was basically just a title tacked onto a fantasy story involving pirates. It's a lot more wide open story-and-idea-wise than a tour of how America sees the world's stereotypes in 1963.
Then again, the movie, like its predecessor will probably have NOTHING to do with the ride. They just want the title because branding is all they want these days.
Now lets talk about making a movie about a mushy candy that people seem to eat a lot of around Easter.
Yep, a Peeps movie.
Now like the others I know why they're making this movie.
They figure if a movie about a toy could make huge bank then a movie about a candy can do the same.
But is that thinking seeing the whole picture?
The Lego Movie wasn't exactly about Lego, or it would have starred a bunch of faceless blocks. Instead it was about a range of characters, all of whom under the aegis of Warner Bros., engaging in a wacky adventure.
It wasn't a movie about a toy, instead the toy was used as a vehicle for a multi-franchise/multi-genre family friendly spoof.
That's why it succeeded.
Do Peeps have characters and story lines ripe for family friendly comedy?
I'm not so sure.