It's been clear for decades that Hollywood is almost completely out of ideas and nothing is sacred when mining the past for inspiration.
Disney, not content with flogging Marvel's back catalogue until everyone's sick to death of it, has set about rebooting its animated classics in live-action (read: CGI) remakes (I mean, you try making a real lion sing "Hakuna Matata"). First Beauty and the Beast, then Cinderella, Mary Poppins, and now The Lion King and Dumbo.
Kids' flicks aside, despite the fact that so many older films stand out as defining of their time and place, the call of lucre is often too strong – and Joe Public seems to have an insatiable appetite for enjoying films they've already watched hundreds of times before. Studios are all too happy to oblige.
Slasher franchise Halloween and psychedelic '70s Italian horror trip Suspiria were given the reboot treatment this year. The Addams Family, Pet Sematary, Terminator and Godzilla all return from the grave next year, Top Gun in 2020... Even Shrek, whose bed is still warm among many now grown-up children, has been nominated for a wholesale makeover. And that's but the tip of the iceberg. Check out this list to see just how far the rabbit hole goes.
The Hollywood Reporter has just published the results of its recent survey (PDF) into this phenomenon and its findings may worry you.
Of 2,201 US adults quizzed, a whopping 73 per cent said they'd most like to see Back To The Future make its return to the silver screen. That's right, this three-part artefact of late-'80s poptimism, considered already perfect by many, pipped new movies from the Toy Story, Indiana Jones (which is happening) and Jurassic Park (which sadly won't stop) universes.
Of concluded series, 55 per cent wanted more Hunger Games, 54 per cent would sit through a new Matrix instalment, and 53 per cent girded their loins for another three hours of blue cat people in an Avatar title (also definitely happening in 2020).
The findings suggest that the average film-goer simply isn't bothered with much new or daring, which takes a bit effort on their behalf to get invested. Nostalgia and familiarity are the tools studios exploit to get bums on seats again and again. 71 per cent said they'd be more likely to watch a new film in a series because they liked earlier releases, and 63 per cent would if it featured members of the original cast.
That seems terribly unlikely in the case of Back To The Future due to Michael J Fox's (Marty McFly) struggle with Parkinson's disease and Christopher Lloyd's (Doc Brown) ripe age of 80. Unfortunately, if producers have read the report, that means Zac Effron has already been cast as Marty and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doc. Original director Robert Zemeckis has already tried to stop this from happening, but as The Guardian chillingly points out, "what the people want, the people get". ®