Hollywood, Tell OUR Stories

When every major movie is a remake, young people's stories disappear

6 mins read

In recent years, Hollywood has been churning out more remakes than ever before. From Disney’s live-action versions of classic animated films, to reboots of beloved franchises like “Ghostbusters” and “Jurassic Park,” it seems that every other movie in theaters or on streaming services is a rewrite of a story we’ve seen before, or a book our parents read when they were young. It’s time for Hollywood to recognize that young audiences are hungry for newer, more diverse stories that reflect the world we live in today.

Bel-Air, A League of Their Own, Interview with the Vampire, Let the Right One In, Vampire Academy, Resident Evil, The Time Traveler’s Wife, How I Met Your Father, Goosebumps–these are just some of the reboots that were picked up in 2022. In 2023, many more remakes are already on the way: Velma, True Lies, Fatal Attraction, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Tomb Raider, That 90s Show, House Party, The Little Mermaid, The Flash, Haunted Mansion, Wonka, and The Color Purple. 

Illustration credit: Tim Harrington

You may have noticed the remake epidemic and may be asking: Why is this happening in the first place? There’s a straightforward answer, and it’s mostly dollar signs. In Hollywood, studios and production companies are the ones in control of what movies and shows are being made because they fund the productions. Most of these companies are run by wealthy older men who have been in the business for decades, and whose main goal is to generate as much money as possible for their corporations. Funding projects that center around old, tried-and-true stories means taking the safe route: They know that these narratives are already well-loved, so it’s likely they’ll be successful at the box office. And oftentimes, they think it’s what young audiences want to see.

Many remakes are guilty of perpetuating the same tired stereotypes and lack of diversity that have long plagued Hollywood. The majority of these movies are led by white, male actors, with little representation for women, people of color, or members of the LGBTQ+ community. This not only limits the stories that are being told, but also sends a harmful message to audiences about who deserves to be in the spotlight. Additionally, since many writers and producers in Hollywood are so out of touch with younger generations of Americans, storylines attempting to be modern come off as forced or even cringe-worthy. For example, they add one LGBT character to fulfill a perceived diversity quota, but it’s laughably obvious this character was written by an older person who doesn’t understand teen dynamics.

Meanwhile, 50,000 students graduated from film school in 2022, yet they aren’t getting opportunities to tell their stories because nobody will take a chance and buy them. The constant remakes and sequels mean that the same people are getting to tell stories over and over, meaning young voices are being drowned out. Every time a remake is funded it means that another new story falls through the cracks.

Because big corporations are only funding remakes, it is important to support independent films. Indy films are made independently of major studios, as their name suggests. They take a lot more work to produce because it is harder to raise money to make them, and they have a much smaller budget. But they are important now more than ever, because they are the place where filmmakers are getting to tell new and exciting stories. Instead of going to the big chain theater that has fifteen different locations in your state, seek out your small independent theater and see what they have to offer. Oftentimes these small, indy theaters are the place to find more diverse stories being told. It’s important to support these theaters and films because they rely on your dollar to keep going, unlike AMC or Regal or Cineplex. While this won’t solve the “remake crisis,” every little bit of support we can give to new, young voices in the film industry counts.

There are countless talented writers, directors, and actors from diverse backgrounds who are eager to bring new stories to the big screen. Hollywood should be doing everything in its power to support and amplify these voices, rather than relying on tired old formulas that are far past their expiration date. But as we can see–that’s not in their plan. It is time for young people to speak up and demand that new stories be told. We must rise, we must make our own films, write our own stories, and let Hollywood know that it’s time to catch up.

Gidgie Bass

Gidgie is a member of Kidizenship's Editorial and Social Media teams. She attends University School of Nashville in Nashville, Tennessee, and is an avid writer and skateboarder.

Cierra Lockett

Cierra Lockett is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Loyola Marymount University with an MFA in Writing & Producing for Television. Raised in Memphis, she currently works in Los Angeles as a Production Coordinator in the MTV Entertainment Group at ViacomCBS, where she supports TV movies and series from prep to premiere. She loves culture, food, and trivia and board games. (She/her)

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