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It is a charge frequently lobbed at Hollywood and its various studios, particularly in comments sections after a sequel or prequel opens and disappoints. “There’s no creativity left in Hollywood!” readers will gripe. “Everything’s a sequel or reboot. Where are all of the fresh ideas?” Well, someone sat down and crunched the numbers and realized that there are existing facts that back up this claim. Looking at the Top 10 box office results from 1981-2011, this site showed that the number of original films has drastically decreased while the number of adaptations and sequels has quadrupled.
As you can see, while audiences had yet another Bond sequel and Superman II leading the box office in 1981, audiences in 2011 had to contend with a third Transformers film, a second Hangover, a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean and a fifth Fast & Furious film. That’s mind-blowing.
That stat about Bridesmaids also being the only original film in the Top 15 for 2011 is depressing as hell.
But here’s the thing about these stats: By singling out the box-office leaders, this infographic proves that audiences are coming out to support these sequels with the only “vote” that matters: The almighty dollar. Let’s stick with 2011 for the sake of this argument. Yes, that year produced an imbalanced number of sequels. But Super 8, Horrible Bosses, Crazy Stupid Love, Contagion and The Adjustment Bureau are just a handful of films that came out that year that were fresh, original and deserved a bigger audience. It’s a “chicken or the egg” debate. Do we come to sequels because that’s all Hollywood makes? Or does Hollywood make sequels because it’s all we support? Share your thoughts below.