Setting the Record Straight on the Term “Original Movie”

Max Landis, the writer of Chronicle and the new film American Ultra, has been very livid on Twitter recently about why Ultra flopped at the box office this weekend and why audiences aren’t going out out to see original movies anymore. This got me thinking because there have been plenty of original movies recently to do extremely well and so many people are confusing what the term “original” really means.

The exact definition of the word “original” is “created directly and personally by a particular artist; not a copy or imitation”. This definition doesn’t say “something that is not connected to anything else and stands on its own”. Originality is more than just being something fresh like American Ultra. A sequel to an original movie, that is not based on anything else, is an original movie. People are always saying that Hollywood is too caught up in making sequels and they should do more original movies, but aren’t sequels to original movies original too?

Jurassic World, the 4th sequel to Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, broke all kinds of records this year and became the 3rd highest grossing movie of all time, only behind Avatar and Titanic. What people who say Hollywood needs more original movies don’t realize is that Jurassic World IS an original movie. It is not based on a book, comic, or 60’s TV show. It is an original story crafted by Colin Trevorrow and a crew of other writers. Even though Jurassic Park is based off of the book, Jurassic World is not based off of anything. Before you say “but it is based off of the original Jurassic Park so it isn’t original”, would you say the same about The Godfather and The Godfather Part II?

So before you say that Hollywood needs “more original movies”, maybe you should specify that what you really mean is not as many superhero movies or young adult movies. Of course there is always going to be your Avengers movies and Divergent movies but there is also always your Ex Machina or It Follows type movies. You can complain about movies based on comics or books all you want but you can’t complain that ORIGINAL movies don’t make money at the box office, because they do.


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