There are, in theory, at least two advantages to making a new movie or TV show out of a pre-existing pop culture property: There is built-in public awareness of the subject and its characters, and often a studio already owns the intellectual property rights.
On the flip side, as we've seen quite often over the last few years, awareness of a property doesn't mean that people are actually interested in seeing it revived.
This summer, The Lone Ranger bombed hard for several reasons, including the fact that it was a bloated, disjointed mess starring a dude who inexplicably wore a dead bird for a hat. But Disney, which produced the film, also grossly miscalculated how much the public wanted a new version of an ancient, outdated TV show that no one waxes nostalgic about very often. The same thing happened with Johnny Depp's effort to make a new film from the weirdo '70s soap opera Dark Shadows in 2012.
True, those that saw Dredd (a reboot of the 1995 Sylvester Stallone film Judge Dredd) last year seemed to like it, but the reality is that the sample size there was quite limited. The reboot of Robocop may face a similar fate.
Yes, there has been an onslaught of comic book films that have done quite spectacularly at the box office, but those are adapted from properties that never went on decades-long hiatus. Beyond springing for those blockbusters, however, audiences have exhibited a demand for original ideas and experiences — see the nearly $700 million Gravity has made worldwide thus far — and there's no way developing these new properties could cost anywhere near the $250 million that Disney sunk into The Lone Ranger, anyway.
There will be no end to the proliferation of franchised entertainment in Hollywood, but it would behoove studios to think more carefully about the old properties on which they gamble.