Exploring the Popularity of Adding a
Modern Twist to Classic Entertainment
It has never been easier to access entertainment content, with the sheer level of accessibility creating what is seen as a colossal demand. It has led to platforms investing incredible sums into just about any idea pitched in order to meet the content cravings of users. Along with the increasing levels of content, there’s also a mass of ways to get to it, from Smart TVs to internet browsers and app-enabled cable boxes.
However, while we are experiencing entertainment in various ways, and technology is enabling brand-new ways to create and showcase ideas, there’s a tremendous leaning towards remakes and reboots. Giving a modern twist to existing content is now commonplace, and Hollywood is particularly familiar with the method – so much so that people question creative bankruptcy due to the number of reboots. Yet, customers keep paying for them, so it’s clear that this method is at least popular enough to fund more similar content.
Box office revels in the modern twist
Remakes and reboots are often bundled into one category, and there are many similarities – primarily, the lack of a new creation – as both often utilise the idea of putting a modern twist on something. An initial surge of this remake and reboot trend can be seen as far back as the late 90s, but it has certainly exploded over the last decade. The rise of ‘unoriginal’ films is undeniable, but only exists because it’s financially viable to studios; in many cases, reboots and remakes are considered sure things at the box office due to the recognised IP. That said, 16 of 2018’s top 20 highest-grossing films saw a return to old cinematic titles.
Of course, there is a draw from familiarity with existing IPs. The sheer volume of content pumped out by new major players in streaming makes it difficult to find high-quality content. So, seeing a recognisable logo, returning actors trusted from prior instalments, and even the same characters can help to ease hesitant audiences. Of course, the method’s results can vary greatly in the eyes of the critics, audiences, and ticket sales.
One of the more successful modern twists put on a notorious cinematic – and comic book – character came in Joker. It was a completely fresh take on Batman’s greatest villain, putting him in a modern societal context. Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal is distinct among the many others, where charisma, chuckles, and villainy powered the Joker in takes by Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and Cesar Romero. However, we’ve also seen The Matrix Resurrections attempt to modernise the franchise only to be labelled as an “algorithm of unoriginality.”
Modern twists can take more drastic turns than character angles and better special effects, though, with core stories being played with a bit more. Take Jumanji, for example. The original centred on a board game bringing the jungle into the real world, while the remake took the cast into a video game, forcing them to beat Jumanji rather than test the luck of the roll. Both did spawn their own physical games, though, with the collector’s edition of the Jumanji replica board game still going for a high price, and Jumanji: The Video game, launching for computer and console gaming.
These are just a few examples of the modern reboots and remakes, but each example takes a piece or a whole movie and infuses it with present-day sensibilities or themes to attempt to make it more relevant. Regardless of the aim, there’s a clear draw to these, with Joker getting more than one billion dollars and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle going for $961 million at the worldwide box office.
An entertainment industry that thrives on classics and twists
Just as moving online has allowed over-the-top platforms to host a tremendous range of content titles, it has also allowed another classic form of entertainment to greatly expand its offering. Casino gaming has reached new heights because it moved online and swiftly modernised its offering, with the longstanding prime example of this being video slots. Of course, the machine version has been popular for decades, with three-reel slots or one-armed bandits still seen in the biggest halls of Las Vegas. The modern twists put on these games allow for different special features, more reels, more paylines, and a different overall experience.
If you compare tabletop slot machines akin to classic standing slots with new video slots, there are a fair few differences as the tech allows for it, but the core product remains the same. Now, each online slot is distinct in its themes and the features that it deploys. You can even see a more modern take on the Jurassic Park slot, which itself is the modern spin on the classic slot formula, with the infusion of Link & Win in Jurassic Park. It will escape few that Jurassic Park recently saw a modern reboot with the successful Jurassic World movie, which also has a few video slot games. Still, the platforms also offer video slot versions of classic three-reel games.
In this sense, the entertainment medium offers a very broad appeal through classic renditions and modern twists. At the box office, reboots and remakes look to outdo their predecessors, but at the online casino, the newer games simply build out the offering further. Either way, consumers can play the version they prefer.