Nostalgia is a powerful feeling. The overwhelming sentimental longing for a time deemed much simpler. The memories flooding back from the golden days of waking up on Sunday Morning, making your favorite breakfast and turning on the television to watch any of the vast amount of classic shows that built you.
Shows such as Full House, Boy Meets World, The Jeffersons, All In The Family, etc. hold the formula for family sitcom shows that were saturated throughout television for a majority of the nineties and early 2000’s. The essence of what these shows meant for so many was powerful, but now the shows are off-air, years have passed, and we’ve all grown up, hence the sentimental longing.
However, television networks are beginning to realize that the money is in the nostalgia. So much so that every show previously mentioned has been rebooted and have already recorded multiple seasons each, and those are just a few examples.
This trend goes beyond just television sitcoms. Disney re-releases another version of one of it’s classic tales every decade or so. This way, every generation can have the same magical entertainment experiences their parents did, and as of late they’ve all seemed to be live-action, perhaps so the parents can watch their favorite childhood movies quite literally come to life.
Boy bands and girl groups that we all loved as kids, such as the Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, and the Jonas Brothers, all have continued to create new music and tour.
The Star Wars franchise has released movies with similar concepts, but with different characters, creating a freshened up version that will appeal to the masses, which they all have.
Even the video game industry is built around this concept. Take the classic characters and games that individuals throughout multiple generations have loved, and refresh it to become modern, or refresh it to feel older. This idea is present a lot within the Nintendo gaming world, as we’ve seen Mario trying to rescue Princess Peach for decades now.
So why exactly is the concept of bringing back childhood classic entertainment so impactful?
The immense amount of money in it. Nostalgia has been fully capitalized off of, and it makes sense how. For example, after a full decade, Disney decided to make a sequel to the widely popular Pixar movie The Incredibles. Not only did millions of children line up at the box office to see the newest and coolest superhero movie, but also millions of adults who are now ten years older and highly anticipating seeing their favorite super family on the big screen again.
Appealing to multiple generations is a tough but necessary task in the entertainment world, the views and the money that movies and television can bring in is what keeps studios and networks alive and so they can keep making our favorite visual masterpieces.
So how can studios guarantee a solid profit from a movie reboot, like The Incredibles II?
BBC, and “The researchers, from the University of Southampton, Grenoble Ecole de Management and the University of Minnesota, argue that an atmosphere of nostalgia has a capacity to ‘weaken consumers’ grasp on their money’. Cultivating past memories and bygone eras promotes a sense of ‘social connectedness’, say the researchers, in which old-fashioned community values and relationships with other people are seen as being more important.”
The idea of not spending your money on these reboots begins to seem almost blasphemous. The internalized conflict of not joining the world in getting a second chance at seeing your favorite kid movies becomes too much of cross to bare, so you spend the $18 on the movie.
In addition, studios don’t have to focus so heavily on the cost of marketing and advertising. They already know people are going to want to see the visual nostalgia they’re craving, and any marketing techniques they need to accomplish, they can just take from ten years earlier when they released the movie/show in the first place.
The concept of a reboot for something that was once considered an entertainment milestone also works positively in the realm of reality. Studios and networks realize a lot of members of their audience have a lot of worry and distress. Whether it’s from our political climate, one’s occupation, home life, etc. people need a break and the number one way people like to relax is kicking their feet up and being digitally stimulated by whatever they want. So when that digital stimulation can include nostalgia that takes an individual out of their present day struggles and back to their simple easy-going past, the choice is clear.
The profitable gain that nostalgia brings into the entertainment world is clearly multifaceted, but even when it’s broken down it doesn’t seem to matter. Audiences realize as long as they get to keep reexperiencing something so sacred to their youth, they’ll buy it, and the studios will continue to sell it.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.