This Year in Cinema, Part 2: Where Did They Come From? (2013)

Posted: January 2, 2014 in Top Films
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There’s a rumor going around that’s been circulating for a number of years. That rumor would have you believe that Hollywood is losing its creative prowess, that somehow, just because sequels and reboots tend to make more money at the box office (which would seem obvious, right? A film with a previously established target audience that already likes the subject material would obviously make more money), that there are no good new ideas in Hollywood. Of course, we already debunked that claim last year, as you can see here. However, to keep up the good work, here is a look at the source material for all wide release films of 2013 (limited release films are not included, as their presence would skew the numbers even more towards original works than they already are.

Where Did They Come From?




Using the same qualifiers that the Academy Awards use, Original Films are films that are new screenplays, and not based on previously existing material such as novels, comic books, plays, or television shows. Originals include films such as Gravity and The Croods that are completely new stories, and films such as Saving Mr. Banks and 47 Ronin, which are original stories based on “real life” events (based being the key word here). Basically, “Original” means not connected to any pre-existing work in print, screen, or stage. 

As you can see, Original Films were the most common film in 2013, and they have been for some years.

The Top Five Original Films at the worldwide box office in 2013 were:

(* = still in theaters)

  1. Gravity* – $653M  
  2. The Croods – $587M
  3. Pacific Rim – $408M
  4. Now You See Me – $352M
  5. The Conjuring – $317M



Adaptations are all films based on already existing material, which can include novels (The Great Gatsby), short stories (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), plays (August: Osange County), TV shows etc. Reboots such as Man of Steel are classified as Adaptations because they are not sequels to existing material, but new versions of adapted material. Also films like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire are considered Adaptations as well. These are not actually sequels in the sense that Iron Man 3 or The Wolverine are, but actually new adaptations of works that continue the story adapted in the first film. The Catching Fire film is an Adaptation of the Catching Fire book, and not just a film continuing the story of another film.

With 40 total Adaptations, they were the second most common film in 2013.

The Top Five Adaptations at the worldwide box office in 2013 were:

  1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire* –  $798M
  2. Man of Steel – $663M
  3. The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug* – $626M
  4. World War Z – $540M
  5. Frozen* – $507M



In this category are all films that are sequels or prequels to other films. Easy huh? There were 19 sequels in 2013.

The Top Five Sequels/Prequels at the worldwide box office in 2013 were:

  1. Iron Man 3 – $1.2B <——-Yes, billion.
  2. Despicable Me 2 – $919M
  3. Fast and Furious 6 – $789M
  4. Monsters University – $744M
  5. Thor: The Dark World* – $630M


This category includes all remakes of feature films regardless of their country of origin. There were only 3 remakes in 2013, here are their international box office totals.

  1. Evil Dead – $97M
  2. Delivery Man – $31M
  3. The Big Wedding – $22M


Top GunJurassic Park, and The Wizard of Oz were all re-released in 3D this year.

In Conclusion

Once again, we see that the vast majority of 2013 films are brand new to the screen, either by way of Original Screenplay or an Adaptation. I include the box office data here for fun, but really, the amount of money a film makes isn’t the best indicator of how good a film is. Look how much money the Twilight series made, and that was awful. In closing, a reminder that these numbers I’m posting here only include widely released films, so there’s really nobody to blame but yourself if you haven’t seen them.

The final part of This Year in Cinema comes tomorrow, with my personal favorites from 2013, and 10 films I’m excited for in 2014!

  1. Look forward to your post about your favorites from 2013 – sweet post 🙂 PS I am sincere, this isn’t spam…Last year I did a recap on all of the movies I saw and I got murky as to which were truly from 2012 versus which were seen in 2012 so I applaud your organization already!

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