Is Hollywood Relying on Nostalgia Too Much?
Robert Gillings asks… Is Hollywood Relying on Nostalgia Too Much?

With the summer soon approaching, it’s Hollywood’s favorite time to release big movies that can rake in the cash. However, moviegoers may feel like they’re going back in time when they see some of the titles hitting a theater near them soon. In fact, there have been quite a few internet memes already drawing attention to the fact that remakes and spin-offs are clogging up the movie pipeline in the next few years. Does this mean that Hollywood is running out of ideas? This article will look into a trend that Hollywood is relying on and what it might mean for the future of films.


No doubt you have heard of the word nostalgia before. You’ve likely experienced it as well. Perhaps even without realizing it. Nostalgia describes a sensation or feeling that you receive when you reencounter a song or smell or experience that reminds you of a cherished past. For some, a quick whiff of grapes growing in a vineyard might remind them of their childhood home. For others, a favorite television show’s jingle might send them back into a pleasant memory of watching that show when they were a kid and felt at peace and relaxed. 

In terms of Hollywood, nostalgia has really come to the forefront of its strategy for making money. One company, in particular, seems to be the one that is pushing for the money that nostalgia can award them. 

Production Companies’ Growing Problem

When it comes to nostalgia, one company is king. It released a series of great films in the 1990s that many consider being their golden age of movies. Perhaps it’s aware of that because now it’s remaking practically all of those films. However, to make it appear not quite as blatant as a simple copy and paste, they’re putting a live-action twist on it.

Loose definitions aside, a certain company knows how to bring in money. Of course, people are going to see these movies because they loved the originals as kids. It’s a guaranteed paycheck. However, the experience they have in the theater may make them regret purchasing that ticket. The problem when it comes to using nostalgia for monetary gain is that it becomes obvious. Typically nothing new is added to the story. Or, if it something new, it’s nothing overly impactful that makes the story overall fresh and interesting. Some people might like this. Others, however, typically walk away from the movie with a bad taste in their mouth. 

The movie doesn’t quite meet up with the feelings and experience that they received when they saw the original movie. It can often feel cheap. Likely because it is cheap. There is some sense in why the company wants to push forward remakes of their beloved films. It’s been a few decades. They want to bring in a new audience of young children to their favorite franchises. The problem that remakes face is that they often try to do too much.

Not only are they trying to bring in a new audience but they’re also trying to provide fan service to those who have seen the original. This makes the film unable to grow or develop narratively in a way that can satisfy either audience member. This, alone, wouldn’t be such a big problem if it was just a single company doing it. However, Hollywood as a whole seems to be more interested in relying on nostalgia to bring in money than risk doing something original and flopping. There may be a reason behind this. 

Streaming Services

Nowadays, it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t have a streaming service of some kind. As services like Netflix keep pushing forward quality films and TV shows that are fresh and interesting, people are less interested in going to the movies. Hollywood has taken a beating financially and a lot of that is likely due to the rich content that streaming services provide. As a result, Hollywood is stuck in a cycle. Not only are they losing audience members because they keep pushing forward overused content that doesn’t deliver but they also lose out on money because their creative originals don’t bring in audiences.

ROBERT GILLINGS – Actor, Writer, Producer, Director and Hollywood Veteran

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