As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to see how the year went in terms of adaptations. The History of Adaptations showed that adaptations are normal in Hollywood, not the exception, at least for popular films. And 2015 had adaptations, both successful and not.
Starting with the unsuccessful, we have Jem and the Holograms. The movie failed to get an audience and was pulled after two weeks. However, Universal Studios’ loss on the film, around $3 million, was a drop in the bucket for them. Universal had an amazing year at the box office, with movies such as Jurassic World, Furious 7, Fifty Shades of Grey, Pitch Perfect 2, and Minions. Jem‘s low budget, under $6 million, was a mere ripple on the profit of any one of the movies mentioned. Pulling Jem early protects the property; no one saw the film, so no one will remember what happened in it. The 2015 Fantastic Four, aka Fant4stic, also ran into problems at the box office. While it did make a profit, at least on paper, the word of mouth wasn’t good. Fant4stic had problems with characterization, particularly with Doom, while going to the desaturated colours seen in the Warner Bros. DC Comics adaptations.
With Jem and Fant4stic, the problem came from a poor adaptations. Jem had a generic plot when fans of the original series was expecting more. Fant4stic ran into characterization problems, turning a megalomaniacal would-be world conqueror into a real-world annoyance. Both films failed to take into account the existing works, dashing fan expectations. Jem had the added “bonus” of having almost no advertising. Fant4stic changed the name of Doom back to “Victor von Doom” after fan backlash.
With the successful films, Universal leads the way with Jurassic World, a sequel to an adaptation, and Fifty Shades of Grey, an adaptation. Disney’s new properties, Marvel and Star Wars, have performed well, to say the least. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is still bringing in people and, well, The Force Awakens is a force to be reckoned with. On television, Supergirl has an audience on CBS, joining Arrow and The Flash on the DC Television Universe. The Muppets got a full season ordered. Adaptations are alive and well and superheroes are still around.
There are adaptations being made even now. including the gender-flipped Ghostbusters. We may be reaching the peak of the current cycle, with adaptations being a large percentage of popular movies now. Audiences are getting antsy for something new, so expect the ratio to change in a few years. Universal is leading the way, at least for now, having had fewer blockbuster adaptations than competitors. In the meantime, though, superheroes will dominate.