How Many Of The Highest-Grossing Movies Since 1990 Aren’t Sequels Or Remakes?

Senior Pop Culture Editor
06.16.15 42 Comments


There’s nothing inherently wrong with a sequel, or a remake, or an adaptation. The Godfather Part II is two of those, and it’s one of the greatest movies ever. But they’ve become dirty words because it’s shocking when an original film is released, especially during the summer blockbuster season. Of the 10 most $$$uccessful movies this year, only one, San Andreas, is “new”; the rest have numbers in the titles, or were based on books, comic or otherwise.

I decided to take a look and see if this is a new phenomenon. Below, you’ll find the 10 top-grossing movies for every year since 1990, divided by whether they’re Original or an Adaptation/Remake/Sequel.

Some notes: I counted all the James Bond movies as Adaptation/Remake/Sequel, because even though Skyfall told a new story, it’s still the 23rd film in a series that’s based on a book character. But the first Pirates of the Caribbean is Original (it’s not as if the Disney ride has a plot), as is The LEGO Movie. Films based on real-life events were evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Titanic is Original because the story isn’t lifted from a specific book, unlike Adaptation/Remake/Sequel Schindler’s List, which is.

(Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ is somewhere in the middle.)

It’s a judgment call. Now let’s solve Hollywood.

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