Hollywood always seems to have a shotgun approach when making movies. Produce as many of the same type of movies as you can, for a window of time, to appeal to the peak of a core audience’s interest and then see what breaks box office records and what will inevitably be abject failures.
We saw it in teen angst, war epics, disaster films — natural and unnatural, slasher flicks, comic book adaptations and action movies. Usually, these trends stem from specific genres, having had an initial successful standard bearer and everyone else trying to catch the new wave. This time around, Hollywood decided to focus on a specific time period, one that had every genre listed above. The plan is to update them, stylize them for a new time, and hopefully cash in on the nostalgia.
In the upcoming months, for those of you reminiscing about the good old 80s when big hair and bigger shoulder pads took the world by storm, we find ourselves in the midst of reliving this decade. Most notably in the box office as this summer season and the next one to follow, ushers in remakes and updates that will most likely resemble little of the 80s at all.
Re-imaginings of Clash of the Titans, the A-Team, Karate Kid, Nightmare on Elm Street and Tron are set to be released this year as directors are encouraged (if not eager) to work on the same projects that they grew up watching only a few decades ago.
And these are only remakes. There are further examples of an homage to 80s filmmaking, as popular action stars from the decade (eg. Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren) team up for an old-style action movie called the Expendables. Michael Douglas has a new prodigy when he comes back as Gordon Gekko in a sequel to Wall Street. And finally, a new team is being hunted in Predators – which screenwriter and producer Robert Rodriguez stipulates is only a sequel to the first Predator released in 1987, ignoring the rest in the franchise.
This growing trend isn’t losing steam as remakes to Commando, Red Dawn, The Evil Dead, Conan the Barbarian, along with many more, continue to move into preproduction as part of the production schedule for the upcoming years.
So, as the summer comes and goes and moviegoers flock to their local multi-plexes, they’ll most likely be an accurate barometer that will determine the longevity and sustainability of this 80’s trend.