A FEW THOUGHTS HERE:
The problem, of course, is that his overall, broad point is correct: Obviously movies not based on other properties are having a much tougher time in Hollywood, as filmmakers with original ideas find themselves either helming soulless tentpole pictures, confined to micro-budget indies, or sitting things out entirely. We’ve written about it. A lot! But that doesn’t mean you can blame that preference, among studios and audiences, when your bad film doesn’t do well. It doesn’t mean there’s not an audience for “original movies” (and again, it stings to slap that label on a piece of mash-up work as shameless as American Ultra); it means they just have to try a little harder, and be a little better, because audiences are just more inclined to go with something familiar. (Though, it should be noted, even those would-be franchises aren’t exactly a safe bet these days.)
But who’re we kidding, the main problem here is the source. Putting aside the fact that there’s something inherently tacky about the son of a legendary director complaining about the new and the unfamiliar not getting a fair shake, we’re also talking about someone who’s so categorically against Hollywood’s endless recycling of preexisting franchises that he’s, um, floated ideas for new Ghostbusters and Lethal Weapon movies. And that strenuous objection to “original ideas” certainly didn’t prevent Landis from the premature screenwriting ejaculation of devising a sequel to American Ultra, back before it turned out no one wanted to see the first American Ultra. Oh, and he also has some ideas for the sequel to his script Chronicle, even though Fox hired someone else to write it. Perhaps it’s worth mentioning that he managed to put aside his artistic objections to brand-driven moviemaking long enough to write a Fantastic Four script?
Anyway, let’s all check back in with Max Landis on the fate of original ideas in Hollywood around Thanksgiving, after the release of his next movie — a new take on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.