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12/21/2005 - Moviegoers to Hollywood: No more remakes!

King Kong, the Peter Jackson version, is a great movie. The special effects are amazing, Naomi Watts is marvelous, and the three hour running time zips by. There's just one small problem:

No one went.

Well, some people like me did, and a few million others will too before this is all over. But the reason the movie underperformed in its first weekend is simple:

We've already seen King Kong.

We have DVD players and AMC. This is the third installment of Dirty Hairy, fifth if you count the two versions of Kong Jr. called Mighty Joe Young. What about this story needs to be re-stated?

It's the same for turning TV shows like Bewitched and Dukes of Hazzard and Aeon Flux into movies. Sure diehard fans will show up. And yes, with the safety net of the DVD aftermarket in play, studios will make their money back and maybe even turn a profit.

But if 2005 teaches Hollywood anything it's that the remake and the "based on" is getting tired.

We don't want to see them anymore. We can write these movies ourselves. Nothing about them is surprising or intriguing.

So we don't go.

Pity the studio executive. His or her job is to say "no" to screenwriters like you and me. Say "yes" and they risk their jobs. A safe bet, up until this year anyway, was to make something we've already seen. Odds are it will do okay. Odds are they can keep their jobs by pulling the trigger on The Longest Yard... again. But after King Kong and a year filled with "safe bets" that turned out less than satisfactorily, it's time to re-think the business model.

And that's where we come in.

We too recognize the need to hook an audience with an intriguing poster. We know what casting and cost are about. We also have fresh ideas, new twists on the genres Hollywood - and the public - like to see. It's just a matter of the studios taking a chance. But with results like King Kong to look to as a sign that the "safe bet" isn't anymore, maybe it's time to say "yes" to something original?

Don't get me wrong, I think Peter Jackson is a genius. His skills are on high in King Kong. There is heart and amazingly rendered beauty in his tale, it's the best of the three versions in my opinion.

No, it wasn't beauty that killed this beast, just a public that wants something new. It's time for Hollywood to get daring again.

P.S. Starting January 1, my website www.blakesnyder.com will be operational! We will offer FREE! downloads of screenwriting tools and be a clearing house for discussions about your scripts and ideas. Stop by and check us out in 2006! And thanks for a great 2005!


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