"What do you get when you multiply 9 by 6?"

My friends and I invented a little game we play whenever we go to the movie theater. During the movie trailers that precede the feature presentation (did you know the trailers used to be shown after the movie? That’s where they got their name! The More You Know!™), we count how many unoriginal movies are premiered compared to originals. Now, an ambiguous term like “unoriginal” may seem a bit silly to use concerning Hollywood productions these days, but for our purposes this is broken down into three subcategories:

•remakes (movies based directly off of older movies, or foreign films; War of the Worlds, The Amityville Horror, The Ring 1+2)
•sequels (and prequels; Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith, Be Cool, Herbie: Fully Loaded, Batman Begins)
•adaptations (movies based off of other non-movie works, such as books, short stories, and TV shows; Fantastic Four, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Chronicles of Narnia, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, Sin City, Bewitched)

The purpose of this little game is to determine just how little creativity is left in the Hollywood scene. Of course, this doesn’t take into account films that use formulaic plots (like romantic comedies or teen movies of the sexy romp nature), or are just plain bad, but it gives us a useful figure we can work with. Sometimes I see a movie with about 50% unoriginal trailers (this should be considered a good figure in this day and age); other times, it gets as high as 80% (this is a pretty common figure in my experience).

So the next time you go to the movies, see how things add up. Note that results may vary depending on what sort of movie you’re seeing, or what type of theater you’re in (local indie theaters will have much lower figures). If you are welcomed with an Unoriginal Ratio of <30%, you should consider yourself very lucky, but don't count on it. Movies suck hard nowadays. This game isn't intended to be fun, it's intended to make you feel sad about how movies suck so hard nowadays. And on that note, I'm gonna go see the Hitchhiker's Guide movie (adaptation) on opening night. Hopefully it won't suck hard!

6 thoughts on “"What do you get when you multiply 9 by 6?"”

  1. Fun fact: Return of the Jedi was originally called Revenge of the Jedi, but it was changed at some point or other. Kinda funny how that works out . . .

    My memory’s a bit fuzzy, but, looking back on movies I’ve seen, the only trailers that appear to be for original stuff would Be the big 3 CGI movies: Robots, Madagascar, and Cars. Then again, “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” -Albert Einsten(Allegedly. Knowing quote-mongers, Albert Einstein and Mark Twain are about as catch-all as Anonymous . . .)

  2. I’d like to point out that “just” become a movie is an adaptation of a book, it’s not neccessarily a bad thing. Far more (good) movies are adaptations of novels or short stories.

    Just off the top of my head, here are a handful of “good” movies that are in some way based off literature, but you may not have known it:
    One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    Fight Club
    Kill Bill
    A Clockwork Orange
    The Witches of Eastwick

    And many, many more.
    In fact, I have trouble thinking of any large number of movies that aren’t renditions of literary works.

    1. I’m not saying an adaptation can’t also be a good film. I’m just working with the principle of the matter: an adaptation is not an original work, and I’d like to see more original works.

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