The Film Industry’s Obsession With Sequels And Remakes is a Harbinger of Decline

The US film industry, long hailed for its global dominance, is facing a critical juncture that raises questions about its future. The year 2017 marked a record-breaking surge in Hollywood’s output of sequels, reboots, and remakes, with a staggering 43 such movies hitting theatres. 

While these films are often seen as reliable money-makers, they have also sparked concerns among industry insiders who warn of potential repercussions as the market becomes oversaturated.

The prevalence of sequels, reboots, and remakes in Hollywood reflects a broader challenge faced by industries worldwide—an overreliance on past successes at the expense of innovation. This “déjà vu” phenomenon highlights the delicate balance between exploiting proven formulas for short-term gains and exploring new ideas for long-term sustainability.

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A Lesson from History: The Risks of Entrenchment and Incrementalism

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Image Courtesy: History Collection

Historical parallels, such as the experience of the US automotive industry in the 1970s, serve as cautionary tales. 

The preference for incremental development over radical innovation contributed to the decline of once-dominant sectors. This reluctance to embrace change can lead to stagnation and missed opportunities for growth.

The Allure of Imitation: Hollywood’s Shift towards Safe Bets

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In the film industry, the surge in sequels, reboots, and remakes reflects a shift towards imitative design, prioritising short-term profits and market stability. 

However, this strategy comes with risks, including audience fatigue, creative stagnation, and a narrowing of artistic diversity.

Navigating Complexity: The Need for Organisational Ambidexterity

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Image Courtesy: The Hollywood Reporter

To thrive in an evolving landscape, industries must balance exploitation (leveraging existing strengths) with exploration (seeking new opportunities). 

Achieving organisational ambidexterity requires cross-functional collaboration and a willingness to embrace both innovation and proven practices.

The Road Ahead: Implosion or Disruption?

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Image Courtesy: TimeOut

As Hollywood grapples with its déjà vu dilemma, the path forward remains uncertain. The relentless pursuit of sequels and remakes, coupled with a lack of genuine innovation, raises concerns about the industry’s resilience. 

Whether it faces implosion or disruption depends on its ability to adapt, innovate, and reconnect with audiences in meaningful ways.

-Sushmita Sarkar