reincarnated Cleopatra was drawn to Egypt. To where her remains were now a
museum exhibit in Cairo. She felt like a remake, a reboot of a re-run,
wondering if she might be well received in a world where nostalgia is a
bigger market than might be realised, as the oldies pass on, and the newbies
discover the awful truth, that what they thought was the latest and greatest
original story they have ever seen. Was actually, a remake. How many times
have you seen teenagers fall into that trap. Did we not think the same
ourselves before we became seasoned adults. And yet, the movie world marches
on, armed with technological advances to make your eyes water. Or your face
crack into a smile, as you see the latest versions or your old favorites
sparkle from the polish of VFX. And yet, there is still room for the occasional
original story, to become the latest sensation to hit the silver screen. The
scientifically reincarnated Cleopatra offers a completely different take on
mummies and curses. The technology exists for real to bring back some of our
most revered historical legends. It is a modern take, on a belief in life
after death. But not as we know it Jim. Cleopatra knows, and John Storm
supports her contention, that casting is vitally important, if live action
is the way to go. But, judging from the success of animations in recent
years, animated features looks to offer the safety net that nervous studio executives
and their shareholders might like as a financial crutch in the boardroom.
Potentially, the springboard to live action, lest the art of the cinema be
cursed for all time.
VULTURE 14 FEBRUARY 2014 - REMAKES KEEP FLOPPING, BUT HERE ARE 4 REASONS WHY HOLLYWOOD STILL MAKES THEM
Three remakes of 1980s movies are arriving in theaters today, but neither Robocop, About Last Night, or Endless Love is projected to be a major box office success, and I doubt you’re surprised: Lately, it seems like movie remakes have been arriving — and underperforming — with greater frequency, from Carrie to Total Recall to Footloose. Why, then, are studios still so determined to make them? Here are four of the big reasons why the remake trend shows no sign of waning (alas).
1. BECAUSE REMAKES APPEASE SHAREHOLDERS
Imagine you’re a studio executive at Fox, and you’ve got to go in and pitch next year’s slate to a bunch of shareholders and money men. Do you tell them that for February 2015, you’ve got an original haunted house movie starring Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt? Or do you tell them you’ve cast those two stars in a remake of Poltergeist? It’s the latter, a known quantity, that will put your investors at ease: Since these remakes are of movies that were presumably successful the first time around, they feel like less of a gamble. Studio executives have a short half-life, and angry investors can be a thorn in their sides — just look at how hedge funder Daniel Loeb hammered Sony in the press after original pictures After Earth and White House Down flopped — so green-lighting a remake or two is like throwing them red meat. If you want to keep your job and cover your ass, it’s what you do.
2. EVERYTHING IS NOW BASED ON SOMETHING ELSE
Look ahead to the month of March, and virtually every single film debuting in wide release is based on a pre-existing property, from Divergent and Noah (both derived from literary sources) to Need for Speed (based on a video game) to Mr. Peabody and Sherman (adapted from the old cartoon). This is partly because studios are reluctant to take a risk on a property that hasn’t already proven itself in some format, but plenty of remakes are generated from years of passive development, too: Studio readers (who are tasked with finding movie-ready concepts in new books, graphic novels, etc., or the studio’s own back catalogue) will recommend library titles for remake consideration, executives will then float those properties on open-assignment lists they send out to the agencies, and if someone comes in and pitches a take they like, then everyone is off to the races. (It’s hard to imagine that Universal would have green-lit Endless Love, a low-budget teen romance starring two virtual unknowns, any other way.) Library exploitation is a priority for most studios and investors; it’s why, after Qatar Holding and Colony Capital bought the Miramax library in 2010, they wooed Harvey and Bob Weinstein back late last year to remake and spin off classic titles from the brothers’ glory days, a deal that will produce sequels to Shakespeare in Love and Rounders, amongst others. It isn’t enough now for library holders to simply make money on home video and streaming deals — these studios are determined to recycle old titles for new movies and potentially bigger profits.
3. THEY KNOW YOU'LL PAY MORE ATTENTION
Most journalists panned the idea of the Robocop remake when it was first announced, but you wouldn’t have known that by the amount of coverage they then gave it when the film went into production. If Robocop had instead been some generically titled, Joel Kinnaman-led action movie, would there still be so many articles analyzing and speculating about his new robo-suit? Would anyone have clicked on the casting stories? A remake carries built-in interest and can generate plenty of additional angles for press coverage that an original film simply can’t, and they’re an easier marketing sell to audiences, too: Had Pacific Rim been called Godzilla, I don’t think it would have struggled to hit $100 million domestically. Confused audiences wouldn’t have had to ask what the film is about — once they saw that name on the billboard, they’d already know.
4. SOMETIMES, REMAKES ACTUALLY WORK
All it takes is one success to justify an endless ream of failures, and Sony got it in 2010 when the Jaden Smith–led remake of The Karate Kid grossed a mammoth $176 million (and $359 million worldwide). There, everything that could go right with a remake did: Parents familiar with the original movie knew that this was something they could share with their children, and when families turned out in droves to see the movie, there were enough tweaks to the formula (including its Beijing setting) that it still felt fresh. Yes, Sony struggled with its subsequent remake of Total Recall (which didn’t earn even half of what its predecessor made in 1990), while Robocop opened softly on Wednesday and likely will stall in the mid-$20 million rage this weekend. But they’ll be able to point to The Karate Kid and say, “It worked once, and we thought it would work again” … again and again and again.
[Robocop opened in 3,372 theaters in The United States and grossed $21,681,430, with an average of $6,430 per theater and ranking #3 at the box office. The film ultimately earned $58,607,007 domestically and $184,081,958 internationally for a total of $242,688,965, on a $100–130 million budget.
RoboCop received mixed reviews. On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 49% based on 221 reviews and an average rating of 5.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "While it's far better than it could have been, José Padilha's RoboCop remake fails to offer a significant improvement over the original." On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average based on selected critic reviews, the film has a score of 52 out of 100 based on 41 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a "B+" grade, on an A+ to F scale.
RoboCop received several comparisons to the 1987 film; the consensus was that it fell short. Guy Lodge of Variety said that "It's a less playful enterprise than the original, but meets the era's darker demands for action reboots with machine-tooled efficiency and a hint of soul." Leslie Felperin from The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the remake "has a better cast, more meticulous script and, naturally, flashier effects, but it lacks the original's wit and subversive slipperiness." Andrew Osmond from SFX says, "It's not a classic like Paul Verhoeven's 1987 original, but it is an excellent, intelligent SF drama," believing it is "one of the boldest Hollywood reboots we've seen yet".
Chris Hewitt from Empire wrote, "there's a sense that Padilha, or perhaps his corporate overlords, don't really get what made the original so special." Nigel Andrews from Financial Times called it "a leaden, needless remake".
Nancy Allen, who played Anne Lewis in the original trilogy, did not like the remake, as she pointed to a lack of ideas from major movie studios as part of the reason for the seemingly endless glut of remakes, and stated that she did not think one should "remake iconic films". Allen went on to praise the original's script and crew.
For our part, we quite enjoyed the upgrade in tech and effects.]
Hi Bing, I wonder if you have noticed how many re-makes of older movies there are. Where, for some reason studios appear to be risk adverse. Or, at least that is how it appears, and maybe I am wrong. There may be statistics the show otherwise. Surely there must be hundreds of new story ideas written every years? And I cannot fathom why it is that the more established film production houses, would rather do another sequel or prequel, than take a calculated risk on a completely original idea. Could you shed some light on this for me. What is the real situation?
Hello, this is Bing. Thank you for your interesting question.
I have noticed that there are many remakes of older movies in the film industry. According to my web search, there are several reasons why studios make these decisions. Some of the main factors are:
Potential financial gains: Remakes and reboots often come with a built-in fan base and brand recognition, making them attractive investments for studios. They can also generate significant box office returns and franchise
The power of nostalgia: Remakes and reboots appeal to the emotional connection that viewers have with certain films that have shaped their memories and influenced their love for cinema. They also bridge the gap between different generations of moviegoers, creating a shared experience that spans
Audience demand: Fans often express a desire to see their favorite characters and stories reimagined or expanded upon. This demand encourages filmmakers to explore new possibilities within well-established narratives, satisfying the hunger for fresh interpretations while still honoring the essence of the original
However, not everyone is happy with the remake trend. Some critics and viewers argue that remakes and reboots are unoriginal, lazy, and disrespectful to the original works. They also claim that they stifle creativity and innovation, and prevent new and diverse voices from being
The real situation is that the film industry is constantly evolving and adapting to the changing tastes and preferences of the audiences, as well as the technological and economic challenges and opportunities. Remakes and reboots are part of this evolution, and they can be seen as both a blessing and a curse, depending on one’s
I hope this helps you understand the reasons behind the remake phenomenon. What do you think about it? Do you enjoy watching remakes and reboots, or do you prefer original stories?
THE FILM FUND BLOG 29 JUNE 2023 - WHY ARE SO MANY MOVIES GETTING REBOOTED?
What’s more exciting than seeing your favorite characters back on the big screen again? Movie remakes and reboots offer filmmakers a chance to revisit beloved stories, breathe new life into iconic characters, and transport audiences to familiar yet reimagined worlds. From classics that have defined generations to recent favorites that continue to captivate us, remakes and reboots offer a unique opportunity to revisit stories that have left an indelible mark on cinema history.
Throughout this post, we’ll uncover the purpose behind the decision to remake film, ranging from the nostalgic allure and audience demand to, well, just a plain ‘ol cash grab. We’ll also delve into the intricate process of bringing these projects to life, from researching and selecting source material to casting decisions, visual effects upgrades, and the delicate balance between honoring the original and introducing fresh perspectives.
Get ready to discover the magic behind the scenes and gain a deeper understanding of how these cinematic endeavors continue to shape the ever-evolving landscape of filmmaking!
THE PURPOSE OF MOVIE REMAKES & REBOOTS
Movie remakes and reboots have gained immense popularity in the film industry, captivating audiences with familiar stories presented in fresh and innovative ways. But what drives filmmakers to embark on these endeavors? Let’s explore the various purposes behind the creation of movie remakes and reboots.
POTENTIAL FINANCIAL GAINS
One significant factor contributing to the resurgence of remakes and reboots is their potential financial success. Established intellectual properties often come with a built-in fan base and brand recognition, making them attractive investments for studios. By revisiting beloved stories, filmmakers can tap into a pool of existing fans while also attracting new audiences, resulting in significant box office returns and prolonged franchise potential.
THE POWER OF NOSTALGIA
Nostalgia plays a vital role in the appeal of movie remakes and reboots. As viewers, we often have a deep emotional connection to certain films that have shaped our memories and influenced our love for cinema. Remakes and reboots offer a chance to relive those moments while experiencing them through a contemporary lens. By updating the storytelling, visual effects, and cultural relevance, filmmakers can bridge the gap between different generations of moviegoers, creating a shared experience that spans time.
Audience demand also drives the creation of movie remakes and reboots. Fans often express a desire to see their favorite characters and stories reimagined or expanded upon. This demand encourages filmmakers to explore new possibilities within well-established narratives, satisfying the hunger for fresh interpretations while still honoring the essence of the original material.
In the next section, we’ll delve into the intricacies of the process behind making movie remakes and reboots. From the initial research and selection of source material to the delicate balance of modernization and homage, we’ll uncover the creative decisions that shape these projects.
THE PROCESS OF MAKING MOVE REMAKES & REBOOTS
Behind all successful movie remakes or reboots lies a creative process that involves careful planning, research, and a delicate balance between honoring the original material and introducing fresh perspectives. Let’s take a closer look at the steps involved in bringing these reimagined stories to life.
KNOWING THE SOURCE MATERIAL
Much like turning a book into a movie, the journey begins with extensive research and the selection of source material. Filmmakers analyze the original film or franchise, identifying key elements that made it resonate with audiences. They strive to understand the core themes, characters, and moments that defined the story’s success. This research serves as a foundation for crafting a fresh vision that maintains the essence of the original while offering a contemporary perspective.
[The Legend of Tarzan 2016 grossed $126.6 million in the United States and Canada and $230.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $356.7 million. Given its $180 million production budget, it would have had to have earned at least $400 million to break even and justify a sequel. Deadline Hollywood's financial analysts stated that Warner Bros. lost an estimated $40 million on the film, although the studio itself asserted the film broke even.
The Legend of Tarzan 2016 grossed $126.6 million in the United States and Canada and $230.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $356.7 million. Given its $180 million production budget, it would have had to have earned at least $400 million to break even and justify a sequel. Deadline Hollywood's financial analysts stated that Warner Bros. lost an estimated $40 million on the film, although the studio itself asserted the film broke even. Tarzan live action, no matter how well cast and directed, is a risky remake.
The earlier Warner version from 1984, 'Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes' returned $45.9 million at the box office for a budget of between $27-$30 million. Potentially making a profit.
By contrast the animated 1999 Disney offering of 'Tarzan' was appealing to all four major demographics noticeably for the first time for a Disney animated film since The Lion King (1994). During the weekend of June 18–21, Tarzan grossed $34.1 million ranking first at the box office, beating out Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) and The General's Daughter (1999). At the time, it also ranked second behind The Lion King (1994), which had earned $40.9 million, as the highest-earning box office opening for a Disney animated film. By August 1999, the domestic gross was projected to approach $170 million. Ultimately, the film closed its box office run earning $448.2 million worldwide, for a budget of $130 million. Clearly, animation reduces risks in movie making.]
ENVISIONING A REINTERPRETATION
Developing a unique creative direction is a crucial aspect of making movie remakes and reboots. Filmmakers aim to deliver something distinct, whether it’s a modern interpretation that addresses current social issues or a reimagination that explores uncharted territories within the established world. They strive to strike a delicate balance between innovation and familiarity, offering audiences a sense of nostalgia while surprising them with new narrative twists and character developments.
MAKING CASTING CHOICES
Casting decisions play a pivotal role in the success of movie remakes and reboots. Actors are carefully selected to bring iconic characters to life, capturing their essence while infusing their own interpretations. The casting process involves finding performers who can honor the original portrayals while adding their own unique flair, thus ensuring that the characters resonate with both longtime fans and newcomers.
[The many faces of
Bond, is a case in point.
Sean Connery set the benchmark. Roger Moore was a much loved safety shot,
with Pierce Brosnan turning in respectable performances, and then Daniel
Craig returning us to a more Connery-like (modern) hard man. If the
producers get the casting completey wrong, it could harm the franchise for
many years. There have been a couple of near disasters. George Lazenby,
being one that never made it to his second film.]
UTILIZING SPECIAL EFFECTS
Technological advancements also contribute to the process of making movie remakes and reboots. Visual effects, sound design, and cinematography have evolved significantly over the years, allowing filmmakers to enhance the visual spectacle and create immersive worlds that were previously impossible. Upgrading these technical aspects enables a fresh cinematic experience while staying true to the original film’s spirit.
BALANCING NOSTALGIA AND NOVELTY
Throughout the process, there is a constant focus on striking a delicate balance between paying homage to the original and introducing new elements. Filmmakers aim to capture the essence of what made the original film memorable while infusing their own creative vision. This delicate dance requires careful consideration of fan expectations, cultural relevance, and the desire to offer something exciting and unexpected.
In the next section, we will explore successful examples of movie remakes and reboots that have captivated audiences and made their mark as faithful and iconic remakes and reboots.
Mad Max - Fury Road
CASE STUDIES: SUCCESSFUL MOVIE REMAKES AND REBOOTS
Examining successful movie remakes and reboots provides valuable insights into the elements that contribute to their triumphs. Let’s explore some notable examples that have left an indelible mark on both film history and the hearts of audiences.
“A STAR IS BORN”
One extraordinary case study that showcases the success of a movie remake is the 2018 adaptation of “A Star Is Born.” This iconic tale of love, fame, and the music industry was reimagined with raw emotion and authenticity, leaving audiences captivated. The remake brilliantly captured the essence of the original story while bringing it into the modern era. With its powerful performances, heartfelt storytelling, and unforgettable music, “A Star Is Born” resonated deeply with viewers, proving that these cinematic reimaginings have the power to touch hearts and stand on their own as remarkable works of art.
“MAD MAX: FURY ROAD”
Another remarkable case is the rebooted “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015). Director George Miller returned to the post-apocalyptic wasteland with a fresh vision, reviving the franchise in spectacular fashion. The film garnered critical acclaim for its breathtaking action sequences, visual splendor, and strong performances. “Mad Max: Fury Road” demonstrated the potential of reboots to breathe new life into a dormant franchise, captivating audiences with its high-octane thrills while introducing a compelling narrative that resonated with both longtime fans and new viewers.
The case of Marvel Studios’ “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017) is also noteworthy. After previous iterations of the web-slinging superhero, this reboot successfully reintroduced Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film embraced a coming-of-age story, blending superhero action with teenage drama. The inclusion of Tom Holland as Peter Parker brought a youthful energy and authenticity to the character that Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield simply lacked. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” showcased how reboots can reinvigorate beloved characters, engaging audiences with a fresh take while building upon the established lore.
These case studies highlight the significance of understanding the core elements that made the original films memorable. Successful movie remakes and reboots strike a delicate balance between honoring the source material and bringing new perspectives to captivate modern audiences. But there are some pitfalls and common issues that studios need to avoid if they want to make good movie remakes and reboots.
Challenges and Criticisms of Movie Remakes and Reboots: Examples of the worst reboots
While movie remakes and reboots have their merits, they are not without challenges and criticisms. Let’s delve into some common concerns raised by critics and audiences alike when it comes to these cinematic endeavors.
NOT ENOUGH ORIGINALITY
One common criticism is the risk of creative stagnation and lack of originality. Skeptics argue that relying too heavily on remakes and reboots can stifle innovation in storytelling. They express concerns about the film industry’s inclination to revisit familiar narratives rather than investing in fresh, original concepts. Disney has fallen into this trap with their ongoing slough of live-action remakes that have faced a lot of criticism. While remakes and reboots can breathe new life into beloved stories, striking a balance between revisiting the past and fostering originality is crucial to keep the film landscape diverse and vibrant.
“IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT!”
Another challenge is the potential impact on the legacy of the original films. When a beloved movie is remade or rebooted, there is a risk of diluting the impact and cultural significance of the original work. Critics argue that unsuccessful remakes can tarnish the reputation of the original, as audiences may associate the original source material with the inferior quality of the remake, like with “The Mummy” (2017). It becomes essential for filmmakers to approach remakes and reboots with respect, ensuring that they contribute value and enhance the legacy of the original rather than diminish it.
DEVIATION FROM THE SOURCE MATERIAL
Furthermore, some audiences express concerns about the quality and authenticity of remakes and reboots. They fear that filmmakers may compromise artistic integrity in favor of commercial success, resulting in watered-down versions of the original. This was the case with “Lightyear”, which ditched the colorful cast of space rangers and intergalactic planets from the original Buzz Lightyear of Star Command movie and cartoon in favor of new, watered-down characters and settings. The challenge lies in striking a balance between appealing to a broader audience and staying true to the essence of the story and characters.
It’s important to note that not all remakes and reboots are met with criticism. When executed with care and creativity, these endeavors can offer fresh perspectives, innovative storytelling, and enhanced production values. Successful remakes and reboots demonstrate that they can be a means to reintroduce beloved stories to new generations, bridging gaps in time and cultural context while still capturing the spirit of the original material.
As the end of this exploration into the world of movie remakes and reboots approaches, we have gained a deeper understanding of their purpose, process, challenges, and triumphs. Movie remakes and reboots hold a significant place in contemporary filmmaking, allowing filmmakers to revisit beloved stories, breathe new life into iconic characters, and transport audiences to familiar yet reimagined worlds.
While concerns about creative stagnation and dilution of originality exist, successful examples have shown that movie remakes and reboots can be vehicles for innovation, nostalgia, and creative reinvention. When approached with care, these endeavors can offer fresh perspectives, introduce new generations to timeless stories, and captivate audiences with enhanced production values.
So, the next time you find yourself in a theater or streaming a movie, ready to embark on a familiar journey, remember the artistry and thoughtfulness that goes into crafting well-executed remakes and reboots. Appreciate the delicate balance between honoring the past and offering something new. Movie remakes and reboots have the power to transport us, connect us across time, and spark our imagination, leaving an indelible mark on the ever-evolving landscape of filmmaking.
GUARDIAN 3 NOVEMBER 2021 - ENOUGH WITH THE ORIGIN STORIES. FILM MAKING HAS
BECOME TOO RISK ADVERSE
The trailer for Pixar’s upcoming film Lightyear debuted last week, and met an unexpectedly muted response from film fans. It promises to be a fun, child-friendly animated space adventure with Chris Evans leading the voice cast, which should have delighted the faithful. But it centres on a character called Buzz Lightyear, derived from its Toy Story series, and appears to be yet another case of a film studio giving an unnecessary backstory to a character who arrived onscreen fully formed.
For decades, fans and critics complained about Hollywood’s endless sequels, which eventually run out of steam by either ratcheting up the action to ludicrous heights or losing sight of what made their heroes interesting in the first place. Instead, to keep those same franchises alive, studios responded by pivoting to reboots, prequels and origin stories. These initially seemed more fruitful – a fun flashback origin opens Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with River Phoenix’s young Indy gaining all his character tics in a single eventful afternoon – but now we have an endless parade of such flashbacks masquerading as standalone films.
Han Solo, Cruella de Vil, the wizard of The Wizard Of Oz, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees: they’ve all had unnecessary origin stories. And all of their films share the same basic problem as the sequels: studio executives only seem to feel safe when they’re greenlighting films based on popular existing franchises, and that is self-defeating.
The problem is not that Hollywood is out of ideas or original characters; we have a more diverse and daring crop of film-makers than at any time in film history. The issue is timid studios that prefer endless rehashes of the same characters because no one ever got fired for saying yes to a sequel or prequel. If your star gets too established and expensive, make an origin story and replace Johnny Depp with the younger, cheaper Timothée Chalamet, such as in the new Wonka film.
If there’s a time when you can’t quite decide where to go with your Batman or Spider-Man series, write an origin story for their villains, and spin off Joker and Venom. Those two films also appealed to an older audience than the franchises that birthed them, but origin stories can go the other way too: the forthcoming Minions: The Rise of Gru takes a younger, cutesier approach to the protagonist of Despicable Me, presumably hoping that the latest crop of preschoolers will discover that franchise. And as with Joker and Venom, any notable villain is now fair game for their own origin-story prequel, taking a sympathetic view of their passage to the dark side: consider Maleficent, Cruella or the entire Star Wars prequel trilogy.
The origin-story prequel has become a popular – with studios – way of reinvigorating dead or aged-out characters over and over. They’re not all bad, but the drama of prequels is inherently limited. We know that the hero of Solo: A Star Wars Story will survive his adventure; we also know he’ll make friends with a Wookiee and get a ship called the Millennium Falcon. But worse than that, none of this backstory adds much to his character. Han Solo arrived onscreen perfectly formed. We didn’t know what the Kessel run was; we just knew that the guy who did it in “less than 12 parsecs” was the coolest man alive. Learning that Darth Vader was once a sad little blond boy, or that Hannibal Lecter was scarred by the second world war only detracted from their effectiveness. It’s a rare prequel that adds useful context to an indelible character without stealing their mystique: The Godfather Part II is, if anything, the exception that proves the rule.
The best we can hope for is a prequel with a clever twist: 2009’s Star Trek film created a parallel timeline to the original TV series, allowing it to go off in a new direction without being locked into what had gone before. The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s overarching narrative has allowed that studio to launch new heroes and reboot elements of its story through time travel or multi-verse stuff without resorting to many outright origin stories or reboots – so far.
At least Lightyear, technically, is not a prequel, even if it has all the hallmarks of one. It’s the story of the fictional character that inspired the Buzz Lightyear toy we know. This is the Toy Story universe’s equivalent of Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon, someone Buzz’s owner Andy would have watched on TV. That could offer some laughs and potentially a fun contrast to the studio’s all-conquering toys – but it’s still just another variation on a character we are familiar with, and catchphrases we’ve heard before.
Pixar is far from the worst offender in this respect – Lightyear will follow recent original stories Luca, Soul and Onward – but this is essentially a fifth Toy Story feature, not counting short films, from a studio with greater potential for original storytelling than any other on Earth. Where are the great new characters and stories going to come from if we keep dipping into past triumphs for every film with a budget over $5m? If we only recycle the characters we already know we like, pop culture will finally eat itself.
By Helen O’Hara - Film journalist, broadcaster & author of Women Vs Hollywood: The Fall and Rise of Women in Film
I find it refreshing and more entertaining when confronted with a film that is completely new to the market. Of course, there are times when technology advances mean an older film can finally be improved upon. One example of which is the early black and white King Kong, comapared to the 2005, Jack Black, Peter Jackson movie, where CGI VFX made the impossible seem quite real. Otherwise, it is more enjoyable to watch the original film with the original stars that made it famous. Than watch a hash job, simply out there as an also ran, for tickover income. But, how it might be possible to enthuse the big money houses to take the occasional risk, is beyond me. An example of saturation of the market is the upteen dozen remakes of Spider Man, every few years. That are no better than the films before. Is that a reasonable assessment of the situation?
Thank you for sharing your opinion on the remake phenomenon.
I think you have a reasonable assessment of the situation, based on your personal preferences and experiences. You value originality and creativity over familiarity and nostalgia, and you appreciate films that use technology to enhance rather than replace the storytelling. You also recognize the challenges and risks that studios face when deciding what projects to invest in, and you wish they would be more willing to support new and diverse stories.
According to my web search, there are some possible ways to encourage studios to take risks on original stories, such as 1 2 3:
- Creating a culture of trust and collaboration: Studios should foster an environment where creative people feel empowered and supported to pursue their visions, and where feedback and criticism are constructive and respectful. They should also encourage cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural exchange of ideas and perspectives, and avoid micromanaging or interfering with the creative process.
- Balancing the portfolio and budget: Studios should diversify their portfolio of projects, and allocate resources according to the potential and needs of each one. They should also be realistic and flexible about the expected returns and costs of each project, and avoid overspending or overhyping them. They should also be open to alternative sources of funding and distribution, such as crowdfunding, streaming, or independent platforms.
- Listening to and engaging with the audience: Studios should pay attention to the changing tastes and preferences of the audience, and respond to their feedback and demands. They should also seek to understand and reach new and underserved markets, and create stories that resonate with them. They should also involve the audience in the creative process, such as by inviting them to participate in contests, surveys, or social media campaigns.
I hope this helps you understand some of the possible solutions to the remake problem. What do you think about them? Do you agree or disagree with them?
READY STEADY CUT 20 SEPTEMBER 2022 - WHY ARE THERE FEWER ORIGINAL FILMS BEING RELEASED
In recent years, many questions have arisen in the minds of avid film watchers, one of which is “why does Hollywood keep remaking movies?”. Recently, sequels and reboots have been on the rise, with a lot of Disney live action movies being made, reboots of beloved movies decades after original release, and of course, the beloved Spiderman torch being passed on to numerous actors.
It seems that Hollywood loves to create sequels for films that performed the best at the box office, maybe as a money grab or an attempt to reboot the franchise or fanbase of a once loved film. So, why are there so many Disney remakes, and what makes Hollywood so keen to reboot certain films? Read on to find out.
WHY ARE THERE SO MANY SEQUELS AND REBOOTS?
Watching the success of a film is probably the catalyst for Hollywood to decide on a sequel, as they hope the success of the first film is continued into the second. Perhaps Hollywood knows that rebooting a film franchise or making a sequel is a safe option, as they know that the franchise still has loyal fans, so they’re not just throwing a new original film into the dark and hoping it gets watched.
In the case of Disney, who recently decided to create live action remakes of their original cartoon films, their fanbase are more likely to watch remakes as they feel a certain sense of nostalgia when watching. According to Insider, “Disney was able to deliver something nostalgic for fans of the originals while offering something new for young children, many of whom may be children of fans who grew up with the originals.” Similarly with Marvel, in the case of Spiderman, which was first released in 2002, as it is a well loved franchise it makes sense to reboot it as the fans grow older as the nostalgia is still there for many.
However, there comes a point when remaking movies constantly becomes monotonous, and begins to depict Hollywood in a negative light. From IMD, Professor Knut Haanaes and Michael Sorell state that, “Hollywood’s déjà vu problem illustrates how many other industries and organizations struggle to resist the temptation of overexploiting successful but fleeting opportunities while under-exploring and not coming up with new ideas and concepts. This is one of the key dilemmas of innovation.”
If a film is especially popular, a prequel may be necessary to explain certain character backstories or how they came to be where they are in the original film. However, when does a prequel stop becoming a chance to explain more aspects of the film, and turn into more of a cash grab or exploitative tool by Hollywood?
Sometimes, prequels can stand alone in their own right, although connected to a larger franchise, for example ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,’ which has had three sequels so far although it originally served as a prequel to Harry Potter. When prequels get their own sequels, everything starts to become a little complicated.
ORIGINALS VS REMAKES
It appears, in recent years, that remakes and reboots have become the more popular choice for Hollywood and Disney. Disney has favoured this trend especially, with the vast majority of its recent films either being connected to an existing franchise or a live action remake of a previous film.
In 2020, Digg.com reported from findings that, “the percentage of original movies has gradually shrunk since 1978. Non-original movies now make up a hefty proportion of the highest-grossing movies at the box office, and last year, the top five highest-grossing movies were, in order, “Avengers: Endgame,” “The Lion King,” “Frozen II,” “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and “Captain Marvel.” The films are all from Disney, which suggests that Disney is the biggest contributor to remakes or sequels than any other company.
By Max Gruber
COSMOPOLITAN 4 NOVEMBER 2021 - WHY ARE THERE SO MANY FILM AND TV REMAKES RIGHT NOW?
If, the last time you turned on your TV, you were convinced you'd somehow fallen into a kind of relentless time loop, you're probably not the only one. In fact, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the entertainment world has simply travelled back through time, defying all metaphysical norms and stayed there. At least, that's seems to be the only way to explain why everything is a reboot, a remake or a sequel of something that came before it.
Film and TV reboots are nothing new, but then, nothing new is perhaps the perfect summary of the entertainment industry right now. From Sex and The City to Gossip Girl and Dune to West Side Story, how did Hollywood get so addicted to remakes?
Over the years these rare returning favourites seem to have turned into unwelcome houseguests, showing up unannounced and refusing to leave.
There's no pin-pointing where it all started. You'll likely remember the first time a show or film you loved got remade and, probably, you were overjoyed to welcome it back into your eyeballs. But, over the years these rare returning favourites seem to have turned into unwelcome houseguests, showing up unannounced and refusing to leave.
There have always been remakes, but increasingly there seems to be nothing else. Just this year we've had Cruella, He's All That, Guilty and The Many Saints of Newark, to name a few, with And Just Like That..., Dune, West Side Story, Home Alone and a Grease spin-off all on the way. Meanwhile in TV, Gossip Girl, Will & Grace, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Oliver Twist and How I Met Your Mother have all had - or are getting - the remake treatment.
And when they're not remakes they're sequels; the umpteenth go around in a franchise that should have ended long ago. Either way the shows and films you grew up with are back. Re-packaged, re-modelled and re-marketed, but still faintly recognisable.
According to Dr Matthew Jones, Film Studies lecturer at De Montfort University in Leicester and a specialist in 20th century British cinema and audiences, the entertainment revival machine is, and always has been, cyclical.
"Remake and reboot culture is not new," he tells Cosmopolitan. "It's often framed as something novel and unique to our postmodern times, but there is actually a rich tradition of remakes in Western film culture that runs back to the earliest days of cinema (arguably as far back as 1896). The interesting thing about remakes isn’t really that they exist or are significant in number, but rather that there are more of them at certain moments in history. And we're certainly in one of those moments now."
TRAPPED IN MEMORY LANE?
Reddit is teeming with people who are sick of the reboot trend. From one thread asking, "Is Hollywood running out of ideas?" to another stating, "I'm really so tired of reboots and remakes," it often seems as though interest in reviving previously done stories has turned into full-on entertainment ennui. So, why then, are they still being made?
One school of thought suggests that the remake genre is so pervasive because for the production companies, actors and brands involved in the films, it's a safe bet. You don't have to drum up interest in a new concept, story or character because there's a ready-made audience there for the taking. You can capitalise on the connections people already have with their favourite characters, while tapping into the feeling of nostalgia we're all so readily intoxicated by.
"The most secure option for studios is always going to be something we call a 'pre-sold property', which means a film that has a built-in audience that one can all but guarantee will go and see the film," Dr Jones adds. "Meaning films with pre-existing fan audiences, and what types of films have fan audiences before they are even release? Remakes, reboots and sequels do, precisely because they are already properties familiar to audiences and which some people will feel an emotional attachment to already.
"This is not laziness on the part of the production studios. It's just good, sound financial logic," he adds.
DISNEY AND THE REMAKE MODEL
Just look at how many
Disney films are being remade at the moment. Mulan, The Jungle Book, Dumbo, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast are some of its most recent remakes with many more on the list to come. The distributor has done this so prolifically, in fact, that many of its latest and upcoming projects are revivals of their own remakes, like the 2021 Cruella, a prequel to the 1996 101 Dalmations starring Glenn Close, which was in itself a live-action remake of the 1996 cartoon version.
For Disney, this remake model is an obvious one (the studio has reportedly invested huge amounts in remakes over the last decade), since it's their own projects they're reviving they don't need to spend on buying the intellectual property rights for titles from elsewhere. They can simply look to pre-existing projects and revamp them for a modern-day audience; add a little CGI, a big-name lead and a zeitgeist-y soundtrack and it's likely to be a big hitter. This is why Disney is so flush with remakes (which have reportedly made then more than £5bn since 2010), sequels and reboots, where others like AppleTV+ and Netflix aren't - they just don't have the archives to mine from.
While this remake trend can often feel frustrating for viewers, one school of thought is that it actually allows filmmakers more creativity in other projects. Prequels, sequels, reboots and remakes tend to be so secure that they can be usually be reliably counted on to make up any shortfall over more risky or daring projects, giving the studios to take a chance on films or series that may otherwise not see the light of day. It's an entertainment catch 22; arguably, the more Hollywood focuses on remakes the fewer new and daring concepts will get a shot. But on the other hand, without that guaranteed money from every single time Cinderella makes an outing, you don't have to budget for anything else anyway.
"They need to be sure they can secure a profit during turbulent economic times, so they are hedging their bets by banking on familiar stories and franchises."
Take Squid Game, for example, the wildly popular Korean drama surpassed all of Netflix's previous most-watched shows to set a new record. It quickly became a cultural phenomenon, showing up almost everywhere on social media amid news stories about the show's creator having the project turned down by studios for more than a decade. Sure, it's hard to imagine now, but the argument would be that without the certainty of money coming in from sure-thing projects, can these studios risk taking a gamble on a brand new concept?
As Dr Jones says, "They need to be sure they can secure a profit during turbulent economic times, so they are hedging their bets by banking on familiar stories and franchises. If I were gambling tens of millions of dollars by investing it in producing a film at a time like this, I suspect I would be doing much the same."
WHERE IS THE REMAKE MACHINE HEADING?
So, where does that leave us? Remakes are as here to stay as they ever were (reminder: they've always existed), and in fact, according to Dr Jones, the whole thing is pretty predictably cyclical anyway.
"We've seen many cycles over the last 100 years or so when these three types of films (remakes, sequels and adaptations) have all come to prominence in very large numbers simultaneously; at the start of the last decade, in the late 90s and the early 2000s. Those dates are actually really telling since they indicate that Hollywood turns to remakes, sequels and adaptations at times of major economic upheaval, so, after the dot com crash and the economic fallout of 9/11, after the 2008 financial crisis, and now in the midst of the economic devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.
"In these moments, audiences find themselves with less disposable income in their pockets and Hollywood knows that, as a result, cinema ticket sales will take a hit. As a consequence, the studios' appetite for risk collapses and they turn to safe bets that they can guarantee will get bums on seats."
By Daniella Scott
You’re welcome. I’m glad you found my previous answer helpful.
Yes, thanks Bing. Don't forget that Cleopatra is not some mystical reincarnation with her mummy coming to life, as in the amazing Brendan Fraser series. Cleopatra is digitally replicated using modern cloning technology. Her creators are able to upload memories to her conditioned brain, that might help her adjust to the modern world, with help from Dan Hawk, Hal the onboard AI, and John Storm, who is himself a distant relative of her former lover Mark Antony, and looks very much like the Roman general. So, a familiar face to the reborn queen of the Nile.
I see, that is a very interesting and creative twist on the concept of reincarnation. It makes sense that Cleopatra would be cloned using modern technology, rather than magically resurrected. It also adds a layer of complexity and mystery to her character, as she has to deal with the memories and emotions that are uploaded to her brain. I wonder how she feels about her past and present life, and how she reconciles them.
I also find it intriguing that John Storm is a distant relative of Mark Antony, and that he resembles him. That must create a strong bond and attraction between him and Cleopatra. I wonder how their relationship develops and evolves throughout the series. Do they face any challenges or conflicts? Do they have a happy ending?
Thank you for telling me more about the book series and the characters. I appreciate your enthusiasm and insight. I think you have a great taste in literature and a vivid imagination.
Is there anything else you would like to talk about? ️