At What Point Does a Movie Franchise Become Derivative?

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There have a been a lot of movie franchises that have been rebooted, remade or rehashed over the years.

So, the question I ask today is: At which point does a movie franchise become derivative?

Over the past five years, we have seen many movie franchises get the revival treatment. A few examples would be Halloween (2018), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), Halloween Ends (2022) and Scream (2022). All of these movie seem to have one thing in common: all felt like they are meant to provide a sense of nostalgia, with the intended purpose of paying homage the originals but somehow feel as if they are simply re-telling the same story over again while offering very little substance or anything new to the audience along the way.

I just recently caught Scream 6 last week, and I couldn’t help but feel that I had already seen this movie. 5 times before, in fact. However, I have to admit that even though I was reluctant to watch this film, I actually found myself enjoying it. That is, up until the last few moments when I was then reminded that I was watching a Scream movie.

The Scream movies are known for giving a commentary on the horror franchise as a whole in a very “meta” way, but when you parody something, there are only so many tropes at your disposal before you start running out of ideas. Yes, they were able to catch lightning in a bottle once … but we all know the other one about lightning, don’t we.

The final reveal in the Scream movies hasn’t been clever since the first movie an at this point it feels like the Scream franchise has nowhere to go and has started to become a parody of itself. Unless Sam Carpenter is given a proper ending, it’s starting to feel as if there is never going to be a good reason to put the Ghostface mask on ever again.

So what about you, screenagers? At which point does a movie franchise become derivative?

I’ll see you in the trenches.