Sycophant, at this point I feel like you perfectly distilled my thoughts in a clearer way, bridging the gap between what I thought and also what I agreed with Irish on. A lot of my more wandering thoughts were probably the result of similar brain-shotted-ness from the mild sleep deprivation I was going through between big tasks, using those posts as a nice break from working on them. Silence was probably not the best example, it was just the first one that came to mind of a recent well-thought-of film that at the end of the day is still a remake, passion project situation or not. Obviously there's usually much more inherent inspiration and integrity to a project that a filmmaker brings to a big studio rather than the other way around, but I guess at the end of the day I don't think the simple act of the corporation coming to artists should always be looked at as a categorically negative scenario. Transparently for-hire gigs aside, I'm sure many big films we loved in our lifetime have been the result of general meetings with executives pitching things to directors and having them latch onto something they wanted to do.
This day-and-age of what I'd largely call "release-date chess" filmmaking for studios is not the world I think anyone -- both filmmaker or film-goer -- got into it the business for, but at the very end of the day, it's the unfortunate fact that it is ultimately that business like you said, and at a time where it's in more jeopardy in its current form than ever. When there's that opportunity for Disney to release an expensive Beauty and the Beast in March and have it become the biggest family (as in, not PG-13) opening of all time, why wouldn't they take that? (And if audiences genuinely love it too -- which, anecdotally, with my all-over-the-place but ultimately positive feelings on the movie aside, have seemingly become the most against-it of everyone I know, including friends and family who hadn't been to the theatre to see anything else in ages -- then it's hard to find only monetary cynicism in it.
It's the same reason Pixar basically had no choice but to make Cars 2 and now Cars 3 after the original film's merchandising posted $8 billion in sales by 2011. They were already working on them at the time, but the three films that followed Cars were still Ratatouille, WALL-E and Up, all brilliant, and likely in anyone else's hands among the most un-producable big-budget family film concept pitches imaginable. But they had that Cars money.
So maybe I might be naive with that Pixar example in hoping that with this Beauty and the Beast success they'll instantly find a new confidence to go bolder again and risk the losses on things of the Tron, John Carter, Tomorrowland and Lone Ranger variety (and actual original ideas) again, and even if they don't, they should obviously just commit to re-doing their classics with a bit more verve and singular identity (Pete's Dragon, basically), but at the end of the day, Disney was never going to make The Lobster or even big successes like La La Land or Logan for us. With Touchstone sadly only making up to 3 movies a year (and exactly one in 2016, Derek Cianfrance's financially disappointing The Light Between Oceans), they are firmly in the family business now, and they are going to stay on that target and nail it every time to their liking. Even if, like Merida in Brave, they're taking the same shot so precisely that they're cutting through arrows already on there.
I do hope they just add new targets.