Hollywood’s Attempt to Stay Alive: The Era of Movie Remakes

In the recent years, a surplus of movies and TV show remakes has been surrounding society. From examples such as “Footloose” and “21 Jump Street,” it seems that producers are running out of gas and dwelling on the idea of making past success future successes as well. Remakes are nothing new and in some instances, can be even better than the original. This has also held true within the music industry due to a variety of songs being revamped and remixed by more recent artists.

With a currently unstable economy, Hollywood is no exception to the “Remake Era” that is upon us. Directors and producers are sticking with older titles and storylines that have proven to be profitable.  Remakes have become a lower-risk tactic that ensures a steady purchase in ticket sales, which leads to a higher profit.  In fact, according to New York Magazine, next year, one in three movies will be based on previously published or filmed material. People will show up to watch a title they already love or have an emotional connection with. If it is good, it brings them joy and allows them to reminisce.  On the contrary, if it is bad, it rekindles a nostalgic flame within them.

In addition to completely remaking movies, the film industry has also been re-releasing movies in 3-D. Films such as “Titanic” and “Finding Nemo” have endured incredible success and in return have made their way back to the big screen. They are essentially the same movies that were in theaters years ago except that they are now three-dimensional. Some people are marveled by this twist, but others may think this tactic is a little flat and almost lazy. Instead of coming up with new and thrilling ideas, they are releasing movies they predict are going to be making money, because they already did in the years prior. The idea that they are new and exciting just because they are three-dimensional may be a bit of a stretch, but consumers seem to be buying into it.  “Titanic 3-D” grossed 25.6 million dollars in sales the first week it was in theaters, adding to the 1997 overall sales of 1.84 billion.  While this is extremely successful, the movie still fell behind both “American Reunion” and “The Hunger Games” during the first weekend it was shown, proving that remakes will not necessarily boast the same success as original versions.

Movie remakes aren’t an extremely new idea, but they seem to have become more prevalent in recent years. Hollywood is trying desperately to maintain to stay alive and profitable by focusing on films that feature accustomed titles and brands.  There has been even more pressure to do that recently due to the lack of different movie ideas as well as the unstable economy.  Basically, most Hollywood filmmakers believe that “fan reminiscing” can be its own brand of effective marketing. As time passes, new ideas and evolving technology allow older movies to be redone to reach their full potential.  Even if these movies are more technologically inclined, some fans want more out of a remake. Some directors are even resorting to creating new versions of movies that are already remakes, which hints that Hollywood is simply running out of new and profitable ideas. In result of this, the term “remake” is often being associated with a negative connotation.  Also, many older movies are viewed as a “classic” and people are hesitant to see change in such movies.  An example of this would be the remake of “E.T” that has been released this year.  This is a landmark movie from thirty years ago, and many people do not like the thought of it being redone to include the technology of 2012.

Another great example of a drastic remake is “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.  Many fans were outraged by the 2005 remake of the 1971 masterpiece.  While the movie was very created and technologically advanced, many people enjoyed the simplicity of the original version.  While this is all open to interpretation and based merely on opinion, many can agree that it is a lot harder for fans to openly accept a remake when they loved the original version.

In today’s world, new and exciting story-lines are hard to come by.  While revising original versions can deem profitable, there are consequences to be considered.  Reactions of audiences that enjoyed original versions can be an issue as well as gaining support from people that did not like the original in the first place.  Also, these movies can be successful from a financial point of view, but it is not likely they will be as successful as the original was.  Regardless, we will not be escaping the “Remake Era” any time soon, which is evident by the fifty remakes that were made in 2012 alone.

Sasha De Vecchi, Lindsay Gallagher, Jay Reilly, Cary Welborn