Now, it's true that my movie choices contribute to this trend. The movie I was there to see was a story in the Star Wars universe. We like to watch narratives in worlds and with characters we're familiar with, provided they're done well. It saves us having to learn new lore and backgrounds. Such stories can even add intrigue by building on the established foundations in unexpected ways.
However, this phenomenon should be acknowledge for what it is: companies opting to financially support stories that they know will sell. Even if the remake of Beauty and the Beast is disappointing, it will more than likely make-up its budget by simply attracting those who loved the original and want to see what it's like. I can understand this desire for safe investments yet there's no denying that different stories need to be told to progress our cultural cannon.
Diversification is the optimal way of handling these competing interests. Utilise the rights a company has to tell the stories that will be popular, but also ensure that a portion of the films being produced tell unique narratives. These are the ones that are going to garner the largest acclaim and may give birth to new franchises. One of the best examples from this past year is Zootopia.
While its themes and methods are familiar, its narrative illustrated tensions faced by our current society. Tolerance, acceptance of difference, gender/racial equality are all topics subtly addressed in this movie that, at first, looks like the simple tale of a bunny that wants to be a cop. The story is told in an attractive and interesting setting where the talent and creativity are visible in every scene. Getting to know Judy and Nick as they work off each other is as exciting as the animal-centric environment around them. Zootopia is consumable by a general audience with enough substance to make it deeper than a standard buddy-cop movie staring anthropomorphic critters.
Fostering a reality where such films are invested in is critical to artistic advancement. Still, having pointed out its positive aspects, I admit Zootopia is still a fairly safe bet where financial investment is concerned. Adult-themed movies are generally riskier, particularly as they begin to illustrate specific circumstances and groups. Yet these must be told. They provide awareness of current events and perspectives. Such works make us aware of ourselves in this space of time and this reflection enables us to shape the future we desire.
So, if you're an artist of any kind continue pursuing your unique vision. These are what drive our culture forward and must be seen as valuable, although they may not be as financially lucrative as a retelling. In addition to pursuing your own creations, make a point of seeing one unique film this year. Without support, these stories will continue being de-prioritised.