Nostalgia in Hollywood

By: Cal Parsons

There seems to be a lot of movies coming out lately that are remakes of older movies and TV shows from a couple decades ago. Right now, the three films leading the box office are Beauty and the Beast, Power Rangers, and Kong: Skull Island. All three films are remakes of media that have been produced over the past couple decades, and these types of films are doing really well. Why?

Nostalgia is one of the biggest trends we’ve seen across all media these past few years. Disney has started their run of live-action remakes of their classic animated films, Power Rangers got a gritty remake of the campy TV show, The Incredibles is getting a sequel 15 years later, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles got two gritty live-action films, and so on. Hollywood has noticed that the movies that appeal to your nostalgia are making money, regardless of the criticisms that may adorn them.

People like what they’re familiar with, and it seems that they’ll only buy movie tickets if they know who the characters are in the movies they’re seeing. Frankly, this has always been a trend, remakes and retellings have been around Hollywood, and the entire film industry, for as long as movies have existed. But this seems especially applicable to what’s going on in Hollywood right now. Actors are revisiting characters that haven’t been on the big screen in decades, studios are making sequels decades after their predecessors, it’s all been a trend in Hollywood recently.

Sometimes, studios completely rely on the nostalgia factor just to get a quick dollar, like Terminator: Genisys, which doesn’t work out too well. Sometimes, writers/directors revisit worlds they created decades ago with a fresh new idea that is universally loved and praised, like George Miller returning to make Mad Max: Fury Road. But more often than not, remakes are made because that’s what gets more funding in Hollywood. They make the money, so Hollywood will gladly produce them.

People love to look back on their childhood memories in a happier light, and many of those memories include watching movies or TV shows over and over again. That’s why studios are making sequels over a decade later when all these kids have grown up and can pay their own money to go see movies. This is why movies like Finding Dory and Jason Bourne get made because they’re familiar and they’re older properties revisited after a long period.

But so what? In a way, it’s a good thing to see some fresh new movies made after “wanting” a sequel or reboot for so long. But there’s always the flipside, where you see studios deciding to not branch out on other new properties and instead sticking to franchises that make money.

Check this out for more on the subject.

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9 Responses to Nostalgia in Hollywood

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I think this is one of the biggest problems in Hollywood right now. Studios are a lot more likely to support a remake or a sequel with a built in fan base than an original idea. Remakes and sequels can be fun, and occasionally like Mad Max: Fury Road can actually be quite good, but it is a shame to see so few original films getting made today.

    -Walker Rise

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I can’t help but admit that the only reason I went to see the new Beauty and the Beast is because I wanted to remember what those feelings were that I felt when I watched the original film as a child. Nostalgia is one of the most powerful feelings I think. Your argument also brings to mind why we tend to watch the same movie over and over again. We love familiarity in our lives, on screen and off.

    -Lydia Geisel

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I actually enjoy the remakes that Disney is doing because they are showing the films in a new light and a unique way. If they are still enjoyable I don’t see anything wrong with the nostalgia effect
    -Jordan Hansgen

  4. mediaphiles says:

    I think this a problem in the industry! My favorite films are typically indie films, but those rarely make it big in the box office. I think it is a shame that a studio may green light a remake that is not half as good as a new, creative script.
    -Katherine Naylor

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I kind of think that it is a great thing that all of these remakes are being made. I have not seen any of the three films that you have mentioned, but i think some of these stories should be retold. I am excited to go see the Power Rangers movie and see what i remember when it is all thrown back at me. Excited to see what other remakes are to come.

  6. mediaphiles says:

    I have a love/hate relationship with this concept. I love the fact that classic childhood films are being brought back and reimagined, but I hate the fact that, sometimes, the intention behind can be based of the fact that a corporation like Disney is capitalizing off of people’s childhood memories. But, I do love Disney. I am just conflicted.

    -Shelby Halliman

  7. mediaphiles says:

    I’m sure you already know my opinion, Cal. But I pretty much hate the remake cycle of Hollywood. Indie films seem to be the only films with new ideas anymore.

    I’ll still see Spiderman: Homecoming though.

    -Russell Lawrence

  8. mediaphiles says:

    Cal, thank you very much for your commentary! I personally loves seeing reboots of films and franchises, as I love to see where actors take the characters and how creative everyone gets! It is a tough task, when something is loved, to bring it back and in a new and creative way that will draw appeal! I personally would love to work on a film such as this, as I feel that it would truly push one’s creativity to the limit!

    Luke Dellorso

  9. mediaphiles says:

    To echo some others, I like how Disney is shedding new light on their classic movies, but I do agree that most remakes/sequels are usually huge disappointments. The Power Rangers movie looks skeptical, but I can’t lie about the fact that I would totally go see it just because its Power Rangers. I don’t know, the nostalgia concept is both good and bad.


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