Hollywood’s Copycat Syndrome

Hollywood’s Copycat Syndrome

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Hollywood has a tendency to be promiscuous, and thus has a weaken immune system. She seems to catch the infamous ‘Copycat Syndrome’ every few years, and on top of that, has a pesky Sequel virus that she can’t seem to shake. But that’s for another day.

At the moment you’ve probably seen the trailer and promo poster for White House Down, and then thinking to yourself ‘I just saw the poster for that movie’. Well, you have. The first film was called, Olympus Has Fallen.

This is at the heart of Hollywood’s Copycat Syndrome and her tendency to make similar films, with similar plots, and release them around the same time. A couple more copycat films you might recognize are:

Armageddon Vs. Deep Impact (1998)

Friends with Benefits Vs.  No Strings Attached (2011)

Why does this happen? Well, the modern cinema landscape is built on the idea of tent pole films. What is tent pole film? Simply put, it is a film that holds up the ‘tent’ or the ‘studio’ and thus, allows the company to cash on in a simple pitch. The reason is because film studios buy ideas, not stories. For example if you were to be given the pitch for the most recent copycat cold for White House Down & Olympus Has Fallen, it would be:oHosueHou

 Die Hard at the White House

Such a simple, to the point, exciting idea. And this is how Hollywood gets herself sick constantly. Film execs have to make money, or their job is on the line, thus, they focus on creating films that will sell. Why do you think Steven Spielberg produced the Transformers Series? Or wait you didn’t know that? Well check out his IMDb page, he served as executive producer for the franchise thus far. And here you thought he only made Oscar Award Winning Films (Cough, Schindler’s List) So, even though film brats may look down on ‘blockbusters,’ those films allow film companies to continue making ‘films,’ in the artsy sense.

Studios are in the film industry because it’s a high risk, but high reward game. You gamble over three hundred million (150 film budget + 150 Marketing Budget), but you could have the next Avatar film in your hands, which boasted a billion dollar profit.  Though, since the game is a high-risk situation, execs are playing the safe bet and trying to choose films that will sell to a mass audience. Explosions, guns, violence, hot guys, and America are the quintessential elements of a summer blockbuster. And thus we see the infamous Hollywood Copycat Syndrome. People make mistakes, even if they cost three hundred million.

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