As The Dark Knight is poised to become the highest grossing movie of the year, it is interesting to note that 1998 was the last year that the highest grossing movie in the U.S. was an original script.
Not a sequel, prequel, based on a comic, based on a book or anything else. An original screenplay. Since then, we’ve had two Star Wars, a Grinch, a Potter, two Spider-Men, a returning King, a green ogre, the chest of a dead pirate, and now a dark knight.
Of note, also, is that prior to Star Wars in ’99 we had four straight years of original screenplays- Toy Story, Independence Day, Titanic and Saving Private Ryan.
I’m not saying I don’t like the movies we’ve gotten in the last ten years- I can’t, I am a confessed Star Wars addict and have shed tears for a few fallen wizards- but this does tell you why big studios pump millions in to a steady diet of sequels, super heroes and wizards. We’ve voted with our dollars.