In Hollywood, it's damned if you do, damned if you don't. Pointing to Steven Spielberg (remaking Harvey), Rob Marshall (considering Pirates of the Caribbean 4), Ridley Scott (prepping an Alien prequel), and others, Anne Thompson suggests: "It's about fear of failure. In today's Hollywood, it takes guts to be original."
A longtime industry observer whose essential Thompson on Hollywood blog is now hosted by indieWIRE, Thompson acknowledges that "books, plays, tv shows, videogames, theme park rides, comics and graphic novels are easier to make than anything original ... But these are Hollywood's best and brightest, the directors who can usually get anything made. But not if the studios don't give them the money. These are what the studios consider to be the most commercial projects ... Every studio is desperately seeking franchises, tentpoles, remakes, reboots, prequels and sequels. Original is a dirty word. It means having to start something from scratch with no safety zone."
Yet even when a studio does make an original or two, it still must have the "clout to wrangle filmmakers into submission" when needed, as she writes in a separate post, analyzing recent troubles at Universal Pictures. She feels that if the execs had exercised greater control over Michael Mann (Public Enemies) and Judd Apatow (Funny People), their films would have been better. So we have a fear of financial failure, coupled with an inability to "wrangle filmmakers into submission." I say the biggest problem is that too few studio executives know what they're doing. Is there any way to "fix" Hollywood? Or are we stuck with what they give us?