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I recently witnessed the unthinkable at a Redbox. Standing behind me was a teen couple, and the scene went down like this:

Guy
Oh, hey, they have Footloose! You know, that one with Kevin Bacon?
Girl
What!? No, it has Julianne Hough, and it's not even out of theaters yet.
Guy
No, this is the original with that Kevin Bacon dude. It's supposed to be good.
Girl
Who's Kevin Bacon? That old one probably sucks. Let's just see it in theaters with Julianne Hough.
Me
(
facepalm)

In case you haven't noticed, big box-office Hollywood hasn't been consistently original in about nine years. Since 2003, sequels, prequels and spinoffs have been spiraling out of control. That year set the record at 24 released, and 2011 will outdo it with 27. And we're not even counting movie remakes yet: King Kong (2005), Poseidon (2006), Halloween (2007), Prom Night (2008), Fame (2009), Clash of the Titans (2010), Fright Night (2011). I understand that Hollywood is out to make money, like any industry, but when quantity surpasses quality we have a problem. Hollywood's subpar list of recent remakes suggests Tinseltown might have an agenda: revamp the classics with recycled scripts and fresh faces, call it "an appeal to a new audience," and milk the younger generations for all they're worth. However, there might be a problem with this logic. While some pan out, others fail miserably. Here are some recent examples:

  • Alice in Wonderland. Thanks to director Tim Burton, this reimagining of Disney's creepy 1951 cartoon acid trip just got a whole lot creepier--and profitable. Budget: $200 million. Domestic Gross: $334 million. 
  • The Karate Kid. Who can forget Ralph Macchio's crane-kick in the 1984 classic? Apparently a lot of people, because now the role belongs to Will Smith's kid. Budget: $40 million. Domestic Gross: $176 million.
  • The Wolfman: 1941's original The Wolf Man, starring Lon Chaney Jr., began moviegoers' obsession with werewolves. The 2010 remake nearly killed it. Budget: $150 million. Domestic Gross: $61million.
  • Let Me In. While a great movie, this 2011 remake of the Norwegian Let the Right One In  (2008) is a remake in every sense. No, really, it's like exactly the same. Budget: $20 million. Domestic Gross: $12 million.

Don't even get me started on series reboots. (Spider-Man and Superman are both being rebooted despite being previously rebooted within the last 10 years, and the Spider-Man trilogy actually did well!) Is Hollywood out of ideas, looking for cash, or are they really appealing to new audiences? 

Well, we're this "new audience." So would you rather watch an original movie or see it remade with current actors and fresh settings?

And if you're as frustrated as I am with today's movie lineup, check out the following classics. It's probably not long before they're remade with Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus in the starring roles.

Photo taken from this photostream and used with permission of a Creative Commons license.