Dear Studio Executives:
It’s been a while since we’ve had a heart-to-heart, but I believe now is a good time. This morning, while checking the scifi news updates three announcements caught my attention. One was about yet another Pirates of the Caribbean movie. While I dearly hope the film will be shot on Oahu to keep Hawaii’s thriving film industry going, I can’t help but think, why? Pirates four is a movie I haven’t even bothered watching yet. True, I’d love to see a pirate ship on Kaneohe Bay, but aside from that, it seems pretty meh. Wasn’t the last one practically a straight-to-Blu-Ray affair? Ultimately, does the world need another Jack Sparrow movie?
Then I read Arnold Schwarzenegger would be returning to the Conan franchise. Again, why? Do we need more Conan the Barbarian movies? Was the last effort really so profound you need to squeeze out more money?
Finally, I read a rumour that Zack Snyder is working on a Seven Samurai Star Wars film. After laughing myself silly (I once helped work on an atrocious Star Wars fan film titled Seven Jedi) I found myself very confused. What happened to the new trilogy? Oh, that’s right. Who cares about making three more films for an already bloated franchise when you can make literally dozens of stand-alone movies? Wow.
Which brings me to my point: Do we really need all these sequels? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, reboots, prequels and sequels may be great for lining your pockets, but some of us actually want to see original ideas. Don’t get me wrong, I watched a few sequels this past year, Prometheus and Spider-Man come to mind, but I didn’t much care for either of them. Looper and Cabin in the Woods, on the other hand, were two of my favourite movies from 2012.
It’s not like there’s a shortage of original ideas. Whoever said “every story has already been told” wasn’t trying hard enough. There are plenty of good stories out there, and more importantly, plenty of audiences eager to enter unknown worlds. Don’t believe me? Io9 a leading scifi website actually has an article on what readers can do to get more original scifi. Seriously, check out the article, you’ll find some great ideas like Kickstarter,independent authors and graphic novels. These will give you executives tons of movies to option without the hefty $4 billion price tag some well-known franchises require.
Is it difficult to create a new franchise that will get bums on seats? Perhaps. But that’s the point, isn’t it? George Melies didn’t create A Trip to the Moon because it was easy and would make him rich (so not the case), he did it because it had never been done before, and A Trip to the Moon is still considered one of the top 100 films of the 20th century. Film used to be about creating new worlds, telling new stories, pioneering new technology, not rolling out rehash after rehash with some 3D slapped on in post.
So please, let’s make 2013 about original scifi? Pretty please?