1) Black Panther – adaptation of a comic.
2) Avengers: Infinity War – sequel to an adaptation of a comic.
3) Incredibles 2 – sequel to an original movie.
4) Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – sequel to an adaptation of a novel.
5) Deadpool 2 – sequel to an adaptation of a comic.
6) Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch– adaptation of a children’s book.
7) Mission: Impossible – Fallout – sequel to an adaptation of a TV series
8) Ant-Man and the Wasp – sequel to an adaptation of a comic
9) Solo: A Star Wars Story – sequel/prequel to an original movie.
10) Venom – adaptation of a comic
The first original film on Box Office Mojo’s list is A Quiet Place, coming in at twelfth place. The first remake, A Star Is Born, comes in at eleventh. If people are getting tired of reboots, remakes, and adaptations, the box office isn’t reflecting it. Audiences are still turning out for the adaptations. The breakdown of the top ten includes seven sequels, up from five last year, and five that can trace back to a comic book, down from six last year. The past year was slightly more literary, with two movies that can trace back to books, up from one in 2016.
The takeaway – superheroes aren’t going anywhere yet. Black Panther tapped into an audience overlooked in the past and succeeded, opening the door for more works not featuring white male leads, much as Wonder Woman did last year. This may a signal that Marvel’s Captain Marvel and Valiant’s Faith will find their own audiences and give Marvel Studios the room to go ahead with films featuring characters like the Falcon and Spectrum.
It can be helpful to take a look at the bottom ten movies, again from Box Office Mojo:
10) Henchmen – adaptation of a short film, “Henchmen: Ill Suited” (short film)), released December 7.
9) Half Brothers – very little info found, but may be original.
8) Invisible Hands – documentary.
7) Gangsterdam – French-made original movie.
6) The Breadwinner – original movie, released through Theatrical On Demand.
5) TVTV: Video Revolutionaries – documentary.
4) That Way Madness Lies – documentary, released December 14.
3) Higher Power – original.
2) The Legend of Hallowaiian – original.
1) Realms – original.
The catch with these films is that they were all in limited release, which constrained how much they could earn. The Legend of the Hallowaiian was released to the most theatres, 20, and just for one day as a way to promote its DVD release. Documentaries are usually of limited interest, as are foreign films. The Breadwinner had an unusual means of release, relying on the audience to do the work of getting the film into a theatre. Quality may not be the issue with where the movies fell in the yearly standing. However, there is only just one adaptation. Of the rest, there are three documentaries, five original works, and one that’s unknown but probably original. Adaptations tend to have initial costs, mainly licensing, that are needed up front that a larger studio can front that a smaller one might not. The one adaptation, Henchman, was based on the director’s own original short film, cutting out the middlemen.
Adaptations aren’t going away anytime soon. The audience is still there for them. Studios will bank on that. Superheroes are also popular. There is the possibility that an original superhero movie could be a breakout hit, but it’d have to follow the Marvel method of being a superhero movies crossed with another genre. Otherwise, original works will have to bring something new to theatres, something that an adaptation can’t.