Studios have also tried to sell most of these as “original,” which in Hollywood-speak means not a sequel or a remake. In reality, movie companies have largely just reassembled familiar parts. “Pacific Rim,” which featured giant robots, seemed to share DNA with “Transformers.” “The Lone Ranger” was “Pirates of the Caribbean” in Old West drag. “R.I.P.D.” was “Men in Black” lite.
And Turbo was Yet Another Dreamworks Animated Film, one with a $140 million or so pricetag. You know something's wrong when a studio that does conventional hand-drawn animation can crank something out at a tenth of that price and create something an order of magnitude more interesting. There is no American Studio Ghibli, not in the sense of there being an animation house that is informed by the sensibilities and tastes of its creators rather than the perceived demands of the market.
The article goes on to mention how lower-budgeted — and incrementally original — films like The Conjuring (a pittance at $20 million) are making back their investments and then some. What's not getting much discussion is how The Conjuring is, by all accounts, a genuinely good, scary movie — perhaps because the idea of what constitutes a "good" movie is one of those tricky subjective things that no studio worth its copies of Save the Cat! wants to contemplate too closely. The more they can pretend the whole thing comes down to a formula that can be executed no matter who's at the helm or what the actual ingredients are, the better for them.
There, I think, lies much of the problem. A movie is not a homogenous product like a piece of chalk or a screwdriver, where one is as good as another. It is a work of art, even when it is not being thought of that way by either its creators or promoters.
But it sure is easier to think of them as pieces of chalk or screwdrivers, isn't it? Saves you all that pesky nattering about things like, oh, quality.