Take a look at this year’s box office standings. The top ten highest earning films, as of right now, stands as: 1. Black Panther 2. Avengers: Infinity Wars 3. The Incredibles 2 4. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom 5. Deadpool 2 6. Solo: A Star Wars Story 7. Ant-Man and the Wasp 8. A Quiet Place 9. Ocean’s 8 10. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation. Nine of the ten films are either sequels or Marvel movies. The non-cynical side of me says, “most of these are fine movies, so who cares,” but I do ask myself, and I’ve heard many people say it, “where is the originality?” And it’s been like this for years now. Last year’s final results: 1. Star War: The Last Jedi 2. Beauty and the Beast 3. Wonder Woman 4. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 5. Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2 6. Spider-Man: Homecoming 7. It 8. Thor: Ragnarok 9. Despicable Me 3 10. Justice League. Compare that to twenty years ago: 1. Saving Private Ryan 2. Armageddon 3. There’s Something About Mary 4. A Bug’s Life 5. The Waterboy 6. Doctor Doolittle 7. Rush Hour 8. Deep Impact 9. Godzilla 10. Patch Adams. The only two non-original films in that bunch are Godzilla and a very loose remake of Doctor Doolittle. I hear the complaints all the time. It’s all super hero movies and sequels and remakes that no one asked for. That’s clearly true to an extent. Studios aren’t rolling the dice anymore. The only unique films coming out recently seem to be in the horror genre.
Looking back at this year’s top ten, you’ll notice A Quiet Place. Directed by John Krasinski and starring Krasinski and his wife, Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place imagines an apocalyptic future over run by creatures that hunt by sound, forcing the small town Abbot family to live their lives noiselessly or be killed. This was a fresh idea and it hit big in April when it was released. Last year, we had Get Out, a film so wildly original and fresh that it was a contender for Oscars and has seen some of its ideas become part of today’s lexicon (“the sunken place”). It made over $250 million on a $4 million budget. Original movies clearly can still make money, but they don’t guarantee returns like super heroes and sequels. The reason all of the originality has moved to Horror, is that the genre is able to produce movies at such a small budget that producers are willing to take chances. My feeling is that mainstream blockbusters will only get worse in terms of originality, while Horror films and television gets all of the new ideas.