I’m a fan of original ideas. I’d be even more a fan of them if they happened more often. Lately movies and video games are slacking with originality.
This might be the first time I use actual data to back up my post, but hey whatever gets the point across.
Let’s start this off with the top 10 grossing movies of 2014 (as of today, December 10th, 2014).
screenshot from boxofficemojo
None of these movies are original. Guardians and Cap are both based off of comics and even written with their storylines (slightly modified, which could be argued to be original, but the overall story isn’t). Hunger Games is a book series so basically the same as Guardians and Cap. The Lego Movie could be the most original of them all but with the ample amount of games dedicated to Legos and the characters in the movie having personalities that people already kind of knew (see: Batman), this wasn’t that original. I can understand the argument if you present it though. Transformers isn’t and I’m sure by now you know why.
Moving past the top 5 you’ll see similar traits. Maleficent: re-telling of a story. X-Men: comic book. Planet of the Apes: re-telling. Spider-man: comic book. Godzilla: re-telling of a story. Actually, you have to get to number 16 on the top grossing movies to find original, which is Interstellar.
Unfortunately I can’t find a nice grid like the previous example so I’ll just list them according to cnbc.com
- Lego Marvel Super Heroes
- inFAMOUS Second Son
- Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
- Grand Theft Auto V
- The LEGO Movie Videogame
- NBA 2K14
- Call Of Duty: Ghosts
Now I believe this list is a little out-dated so forgive me, but 2 games on that list stand out as original and one of them wasn’t even released this year so I am omitting it (since this is supposed to talk about the games released this year.) The game is Titanfall and some would argue it is hardly original. I’d be inclined to believe them, too, except I’ve never played it so I can’t argue. All I know is that it was original.
As for the others? Lego games are self-explanatory as to why they’re not original if you’ve read this far. inFAMOUS is a sequel so that’s not too original. Same for Assassin’s Creed, GTA, Battlefield, and CoD. NBA is an annual sports game so nope. Which leaves Minecraft, a game not from this year.
Is there a point?
I’m not going to sit here and say these games and movies are terrible for being sequels or re-telling of stories or something similar. I’m trying to point out that they are just not original. I enjoyed every Marvel movie this year (besides Spider-man) but I don’t like that they weren’t very original but that has to deal with comic book fans not wanting the story to deviate too far from canon (which is a whole ‘nother rage-filled post that may come in the future).
I’m sure you could point out that there are plenty of original indie games that were released this year, and that I’m being picky or something similar, but the top selling games are what everyone is playing. Look at the amount of players playing Call of Duty games daily (not just the latest). It’s a huge chunk of online play, which leaves the rest to the other games that everyone bought (those big sellers listed previously), which means those smaller indie games are harder to play online. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’m just saying you’re gonna have a smaller group of people. I like a variety of opponents to face, not the same 30 people.
But what about the movies? Well Hollywood has figured out that if you can make nostalgia into a movie, then you’ve struck gold. Don’t believe me? Look at those top 10 movies again. Three older Marvel characters, Legos, and a Disney re-hash of an old story? Don’t forget about Transformers and TMNT.
I hope the numbers speak for themselves. It’s all about where the money is, and it’s currently in FPS games, comic book movies and sequels to successful movies, and nostalgia. And that will be the trend for the next 5 or 10 years until we all start getting sick of it, which based off of Marvel’s movie schedule, the trend won’t die until 2030. So sit tight, enjoy the popcorn, and bring a shovel if you want to find a unique and original game or movie since you’ll need to dig deep.