BY JACOB TRASK
Each year, the film industry thrives on remakes of classic films and the continuation of franchises in the form of summer blockbusters. This often means summers full of superhero epics, odes to late 20th Century pop culture, and late installments of Pixar movies that sop up all the revenue in Hollywood. Last year, classic films such as Ghostbusters, Independence Day and Ben Hur were all remade. The top two grossing films of the year, Captain America: Civil War and Finding Dory were a franchise installment and a sequel. Other notable remakes and installments included The Jungle Book, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and Star Wars: Rogue One. Hollywood relies heavily on these kinds of films to bring returning audiences to the theater. Many people often aren’t open to seeing a movie they know nothing about, so they will settle for something that they are relatively familiar with. Production companies have recognized this pattern and have been taking full advantage of it.
This year will be full of remakes and installments. It seems that every month will bring new titles that we’ve seen in the past. Upcoming superhero movies include the highly anticipated Logan (X-Men), Guardians of The Galaxy 2 and Marvel’s third attempt at the classic web-slinger, Spider-Man: Homecoming. The summer will also bring us new additions to classic franchises. World War Z 2, Transformers: The Last Knight and Cars 3 will all be released in June. We will also see remakes of some classic movies such as Alien, The Mummy and It. Some remakes and installments are generating talk around Hollywood, and could prove to some of the best films of the year. Here are a few that are expected to turn heads in 2017.
The Beauty and The Beast:
During the summer of 2014, Walt Disney Pictures began developing the plans for a live-action version of The Beauty and The Beast. Bill Condon would be directing the films and Stephen Chbosky, the author of The Perks of Being A Wallflower, would write the screenplay. Early the next year, Emma Watson announced that she would be playing the role of Belle, garnering a large buzz around the movie. Two years later, this film is soon to be released and is one of the most anticipated films of 2017.
Although we will be seeing real faces on the screen, the film will be quite like the original, but will also have elements from the Broadway production. Although Condon planned on only drawing inspiration from the original film, he also included most of the songs from the Broadway side, with the intention of making the film a straight-forward, live-action, large budget movie musical.
The film has a talented secondary cast, made up mostly of English actors including Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellan. Other popular actors such as Stanley Tucci and Josh Gad are also in the film. Watson will definitely bring viewers to the theater. Since her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter series, she’s been one of America’s favorite English actresses. She’s the perfect actress to play Belle, considering her relevance with the generation who fell in love the the cartoon classic.
The film is set to release on Mar 17. Early tracking predicts it will make $100 million in its opening weekend, and some publications predict it will make as much as $120 million.
War for the Planet of the Apes:
This year, we will see the third installment of the Planet of The Apes series. After it began development in 2005, the reboot series finally began with its release of Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011. The film received positive reviews and served as a promising first movie for the new series. Three years later, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was released. Its extreme action and realistic feeling combat between ape and man left fans wanting more, and with a cliffhanger that suggested even more battle, fans should be incredibly excited about the third film.
With director Mark Reeves and screenwriter Mark Bomback returning, we will likely see much of what we saw in the previous film. In this chapter, we could see the fall of the ape race, as our hero Caesar will take on the Human forces for what seems to a battle with high stakes. “I did not start this war. I offered you peace. I showed you mercy. But now you are here to finish us off for good,” Caesar’s voice is heard saying in the movie’s official trailer.
“The trailer looks pretty intense. Looks like there’s gonna be some serious warfare going on,” said junior marketing major Ross Dressler. “It’s a good series. They’re definitely different than the old ones. I like what they’ve done with it.”
Andy Serkis will be returning in his role as Caesar, and he will be accompanied by a strong antagonist in Woody Harrelson, who plays an angry military officer who is out with a vengeance to kill the apes. The film will be released on Jul 14, and could be one of the highest grossing films of the summer.
Blade Runner 2049:
After 16 years of development, the sequel for the 1982 classic Blade Runner was finally confirmed in February 2015. It will be released in the fall, giving it one the largest gaps between sequels in film history. Arrival director Denis Villeneuve was hired to direct the film and the original writer, Hampton Fancher, was hired to write the screenplay. The film will be titled Blade Runner 2049. It will take place in Los Angeles and is aiming for an R-rating.
Harrison Ford will be returning in his role of Rick Deckard, and Ryan Gosling will co-star. The supporting cast is full of well established actors including Ana De Armas, Robin Wright, Lennie James, Barkhad Abdi and Jared Leto.
A trailer for the movie was released in December. In the trailer, it is clearly established that Ryan Gosling’s character has taken Ford’s place as the protagonist cop, and could be mentored by Ford’s character. The trailer is dark and mysterious much like Villeneuve’s previous work. Arrival is currently nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, and this will be his first film since. Fans of the original should be extremely excited about his partnership with the original writer to continue the story. The film will appeal to just about everyone, from Generation X to millennials.
“It’s gonna be a nostalgia trip for hardcore fans. Jared Leto, Harrison Ford, and Ryan Gosling in one movie. It’s gonna be sick,” said senior advertising and public relations major Tyler Okkonen.
Among other remakes and franchise installments coming in 2017 are Kong: Skull Island, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and Friday the 13th. Like most years, movies like these will prove to be the meat of the market come summer-time, when school is out and movie theaters across the country are packed. But this year, they are looking quite promising. All three of the films listed above could be Oscar contenders in the beginning of 2018, which only says good things about how this year could play out in Hollywood.
Jacob Trask can be reached at email@example.com