Are We Living in the Past?

The entertainment industry utilizes nostalgia in the reboot-industrial complex of cinema. Films, classic sitcoms and animations remodeled in live-action formats are predominantly undergoing a resurgence in media.

Reboots premiering in theatres this year include “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Bullet Train,” “The Munsters,” “Pinocchio” and “Ice Age: Adventures of Buck Wild.” According to IMDb, “Avatar” is the highest-grossing movie of all time at the global box office with $2.84 billion, while “Bullet Train” is a foreign classic in Japan. “The Munsters,” “Pinocchio” and “Ice Age” are childhood nostalgia films.

According to Prof. Bindig Yousman of the Department of Communication, Media and the Arts, a “reboot’s success in Hollywood concerns the existing property that the creative works have already done, with the addition of built-in fans and a name of recognition in the industry.”

Nostalgia-driven blockbusters resurrecting older material financials have had some success in franchises, such as Disney rebooting movies. According to Box Office Mojo by IMDb Pro, the “Beauty and the Beast” remake brought in $910,827,783 million globally.

“Nostalgia connects with fans because it reminds them of a time in their past that they may have forgotten about – a memory of a moment in their life that made them happy at the time,” said sophomore Brianna Maher.

Production costs in Hollywood in the coming years have become more expensive. According to Investopedia, the typical movie budget from major film companies in 2022 is between $65 million and $100 million, making film companies more cautious of what project they invest in.

According to Prof. James Todd Barnes of the Department of Communication, Media and the Arts, “They are chasing the money, as they have always done. Right now, they must think the safest bet is to build on earlier properties.”

Film studio Warner Bros., a prominent cooperation in Hollywood, has been in debt and has set cost-cutting measures. One of the shelved films from the Warner Bros. financial-saving decision is “Batgirl,” while “Batman” still premiered in theaters.

“Nostalgia sells. I saw the new ‘Batman’ movie due to watching the previous film with my dad, but I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to see ‘Batgirl’,” said sophomore Grace Thudium.

In the world of entertainment, the idea of nostalgia and revivals is not original. Musicals have been recreated in the film industry, from “Bye Bye Birdie” in the 1960s to “Grease” in the late 1970s.

Shows from the 1990s have a new beginning on the small screen. The insurgence of reboots in series stems from streaming services offering exclusive content. According to Forbes, there are around 50 services presented by companies like Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Now, Netflix and others in North America.

One of the earliest streaming services, Netflix, launched its brand in 2007 and created its first original content with “House of Cards,” a remake of a British miniseries, in 2013. The 1990 “House of Cards” ranked 84th out of the top 100 greatest British television shows, according to the British Film Institute.

The success of the series “House of Cards” helped to establish Netflix’s legitimacy and sparked the practice of streaming providers creating their exclusive material. Paramount+ last year reproduced Nickelodeon shows like “Rugrats” and “All That” as exclusive content for subscribers.

According to Barnes, “Films and TV shows that wouldn’t have been made years ago are now finding funding and distribution” from these streaming services.

The top film in the United States this year was the remake “Top Gun: Maverick,” which earned $712,092,161 million at the domestic box office and $748,408,524 million at the International Box Office, according to IMDb.

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