Definition- ‘something, especially a series of films or television programmes, that has been restarted or revived.’ (lexico.com)
It isn’t a new thing; this remake business. It’s been going on since the beginning of the movie industry’s success. It is an industry that has always ruthlessly utilised anything it can. It’s like an unstable, mammoth beast that constantly needs feeding, whether on new produce or the scraps from others, doesn’t matter – just keep feeding the beast!
The well-known musical, Singin’ in the Rain although a new movie actually used songs from earlier films. They jujjed them up for a new audience and set them to dance scenes. Make ’em Laugh is also a complete rip-off of the earlier Be a Clown.
So what films are you probably going to see remade in the near future?
Ace Ventura – Morgan Creek Productions are definitely looking into it.
Akira – in the works for a live-action version.
Alien Nations – series of new movies is in the planning stages at 20th Century Fox.
An American Werewolf in London – Max Landis, John Landis’ son penning remake.
Big Trouble in Little China – Kurt Russell has given his blessing.
The Birds – supposed to be overseen by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes company.
Candyman – a Jordan Peele project in development for 20 years.
Charlie’s Angels – reboot is in the works from Elizabeth Banks of Pitch Perfect 2.
Childs Play – reboot directed by Norwegian film-maker Lars Klevberg.
Clue – Hasbro and 20th Century Fox.
Death Wish, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Don’t Look Now, Fantastic Voyage, Flash Gordon and more! The remakes go on and on and on……Personally, remaking Don’t Look Now is the biggest offence.
Chances are, you’ve already watched; and enjoyed, remakes of earlier films:
The Thing – 1951, as The Thing From Another Planet, 1982, 2011
It – Bill Skarsgard taking on the role of Pennywise originally played by Tim Curry.
Conan The Barbarian – Jason Momoa in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s role.
Dumbo – The 1941 animation turned into CGI/live-action combo.
A Star Is Born – has been remade 3 times, the latest with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.
A Christmas Carol – more than a dozen versions have been remade from 1901 to the present day.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari – originally made in 1920, remade in 2005.
Undoubtedly, there are remakes that have been successful, both in terms of profit and audience appreciation. La Cage Aux Folles, was a 1978 French movie based on a 1973 play, it was remade by Mike Nichols as The Birdcage; starring Robin Williams. Cape Fear was originally created in 1962 with Robert Mitchum in the role of Max Cady; a wonderful edgy performance. It was later remade in 1991 with Robert De Niro playing a truly terrifying Cady – Mitchum appeared in a cameo as the Lieutenant.
The 1982 remake of The Thing with Kurt Russell, was enjoyed by audiences who had previously seen the black and white version – who wouldn’t want to see some coloured gore?
Some film makers see an opportunity to recreate something that was a personal favourite, or a classic story they enjoy, and to make their own version with updated visuals. How many film versions of the various Shakespeare plays exist?!
Compare the lush visual quality of Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula with those early Hammer Horror films. I grew up with Hammer Horror, and have a fond sense of ownership of those early films, and for someone to remake one feels like sacrilege. Coppola’s version did allow for the titular character to be abroad in daylight – as was in the original novel, and the costumes were undoubtedly gorgeous, however, the casting seemed very much intentionally geared to bringing the audience in; after all, Anthony Hopkins had the year before completed the hugely successful, Silence of The Lambs – and brought some of Hannibal Lecter with him – the scene in which he meets Mina Harker, he sniffs her!
Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee and Gary Oldman portraying Dracula.
So is it all about the money? Have the studios really run out of creative ideas?
Mention of a remake of The Princess Bride or Battlestar Galactica, for example, has caused great consternation amongst fans of the originals.
What about the screenwriters who are desperate for a break into the industry, to get their story ‘heard’, to be given a chance? There are thousands of writers across the globe, with fantastic concepts and stories, why are they not being given the chance to make their words into a visual feast?
One might argue that some film makers approach the craft with an artistic bent. They may, for instance, want to pay homage to an earlier director, or writer. They may enjoy creating parodies. But the bottom line for making movies is, let’s be honest, to make money. And if a movie or show was successful for the last generations, why wouldn’t it work for the next?
Many are pointing the finger of blame at Hollywood. Well given that it is the largest and most prominent film industry in the world, who can blame them?!
Me. There are films being made across the world, by all sorts of producers and indie companies. You have to make some effort to seek them out, sure, but they do exist. For instance, how many of you reading this are from English speaking countries? I’m primarily thinking UK and USA here. How many films have you ever watched? How many films do you have in your home? How many of those films are NOT in your own language? I would bet the vast majority of English speakers will stick with their own language when viewing for entertainment.
By profits garnered, the largest industries are to be found in –
USA and Canada
English language films make the most, but there is nothing to stop English speaking people from seeking out foreign language films. In the age of the internet, much entertainment is at our fingertips. Think of the success; in the UK at least, of the Scandi/Nordic Noir films and TV shows. I devoured all the shows that hit our TV screens – The Killing, The Bridge, Bordertown, Wallander etc.
I hear people say things like, “But I don’t like reading subtitles.” Waah, waah! Make some effort. Don’t sit like a cabbage on a beanbag and allow a drip feed of sanitised, candied mulch to pass through your eyeballs to brain bypassing your critical centre – which is probably so underused in people by now that we don’t even consider we might be being fooled into believing a thing is good when it is shite! Wake up. Make choices. Choose NOT to go to the cinema to see a remake/reboot. Choose NOT to watch a TV show that was around in the 50’s and is a quick, easy option for the studios.
There are a whole shit load of TV shows also currently in the planning stages of reboots/remakes.
In America there is in the pipeline – Bewitched, The Jetsons, Alf, Daria and Rugrats! In the UK there will be a Christmas return to Gavin and Stacey, possibly a season 6 of the incredibly successful Line of Duty, Poldark: series 5, End of the Fucking World: series 2 and the long awaited Taboo with Tom Hardy. But there is a slight dissimilarity between the American and British reboots – the British TV industry is tagging new stuff onto the end of previous shows; making new series, but the American industry is actually re-making old stuff.
The American market also has a tendency to take British shows and recreate them in their own image. Almost as though they are using the British market almost as a testing ground to see what is popular with audiences – this does irk many Brits and they feel as though the British TV industry is ‘selling off’ what belongs here; national pride kicks in slowly here. On the other hand, the so-called Snowflake generation, seem to adore these dilute American versions. They have grown up with a media swamped with American influence and it isn’t unusual to them, (true Brits quite often find the humour lacking and infantilised). A very quick scan of lists shows over 100 British shows that have been remade for American audiences.
It does seem as though we are reaching a tipping point. Sure, it might be fun to see Christina Ricci’s version of Wednesday Addams, or de Niro’s Max Cady. It also allows for makers to recreate scenes that may not have been publicly acceptable in past times. However, enough is enough the people are saying. Some things, favourite films and shows, should remain sacred and left alone. People will speak out when they aren’t happy, and my, unquantifiable and non-quantitative, research has shown that the prime country for audience dissatisfaction with it’s film industry is America.
The largest, most profitable industry in the world is failing it’s customers. Hollywood, you seriously need to get your act together (no pun intended). You are a money grubbing, money grabbing, egotistic, inflated, sugar-coated, bloated corpse with little regard for the art of film anymore. The whole industry is a cesspit of greed – who the fuck needs $425,000 – $1,000,000 per episode? (The Big Bang Theory gang!) Yes, we may love these shows, and the characters, but seriously folks – YOU’RE NOT THAT IMPORTANT!
The truth is, reboots/remakes are commercially successful, so that means you’re all guilty of making it the way it is!
People, you need to stop watching stuff that hasn’t been newly written, that isn’t original. In the world of literature, there are literally thousands of new books being published weekly. NEW BOOKS, not rewrites, not copies, new. Give writers a chance. New screenwriters must be desperate, DESPERATE, for work, because no-one is hiring them, because studio executives don’t want to take a chance, because they want to pump out the same old tripe to line their pockets.
I suggest you write to producers, film makers, film studios. Tell them you demand something new. Tell them to get off their fat, padded arses and go looking for new talent. Stop watching the remakes.
Studios, STOP IT! Just stop taking the easy option, stop thinking with your wallets. Make something new and interesting. Put out the call for new writers. Advertise for scripts. Trawl through social media and see what’s trending and maybe you’ll pick up a shiny new talent with fantastic ideas – stop playing it safe.
“So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!” Howard Beale in Network