The Power of Nostalgia

Movies cost more than ever. Your average blockbuster comes in anywhere from $100 million to $250 million to produce. This is would be a huge financial risk to anyone. I, for one, would hate to got to my boss and said our product lost the company $100 million. So it’s understandable that movie producers have fallen back on established brands to safeguard their money and jobs.

Established brands have a proven track record in Hollywood. Remakes, reboots, and sequels haven been around since the early days of film. Film franchises are easily digested by the mass public. They are filled with familiar characters, plots, and settings which don’t ask too much of their viewing audience. However, a film franchises can’t last forever. Although films like Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, the Fast and the Furious, and Star Trek can have seemingly unending sequels, in time a fatigue sets in. This has forced Hollywood to look through their back catalog of brands to find the next big thing.

The best example of this popped up earlier this week with the release of the teaser trailer for the Power Rangers film. The Power Rangers is the latest property that Hollywood has brought back and repackaged for modern audiences. While the film will be using the classic characters from the “original” Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show, their origin and conflict with the main villain seem to have been updated. This is pretty par-for-the-course when it comes to modernizing an old property. Just look to the likes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, or Transformers. Each property is an old kids cartoon that was massively popular in their day. Fast forward a few decades, throw $200 million dollars at it and now you have a massive film franchise. I’m sure that’s the hope the producers of Power Rangers have leading into their 2017 release.

What each of these properties have in common is their unique selling point that makes the films huge financial successes.

Nostalgia.

Each property purposefully pulls on the nostalgia within their target audience. They want their audience to go “Hey I remember that! I loved that thing as a kid. I should fork over $15 for a movie ticket so I can see that thing I love on the big screen!” This emotional manipulation is how modern Hollywood gets around having to originate ideas and then churn out sequels to that idea. Just get an old intellectual property or I.P. that has a following, update it, and voila a new franchise is born.

The beauty of this method is truly spectacular to behold. Using the teaser trailer for Power Rangers as an example, you would never know the movie being showcased is actually Power Rangers. Save for the characters beginning to morph at the end of the trailer (sorry, spoiler alert!) there is little to indicate this as a Power Rangers film. But based on the name recognition alone, the trailer has amassed 16 million views in five days. Again, other than the last 15 seconds of the trailer, nothing screams Power Rangers.

Understanding the power nostalgia has over modern movie audiences is critical. The world today is more complicated and moves faster than ever before. Any normal person has a difficult time trying to keep up. So offering a remnant of a simpler time can be a powerful comfort to people. That comfort though turns into hard profit for the movie studios behind these pictures. Since Hollywood is a monkey see monkey do type of business, we will be seeing many more revitalized franchises hitting the silver screen soon.

Writer’s note: All that being said, I am a child of the 90s and will be first in line come March 2017.I know. I’m part of the problem.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let’s discuss! Comment below or find me on Twitter@bloodyrojas21

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