Back to the feature: Why does Hollywood keep remaking the same films?


April 27, 2010 at midnight
Updated April 28, 2010 at 11:29 p.m.

The list seems never-ending.

"Private Benjamin"

"Police Academy"


"The Birds"

"The Graduate"

"Fantastic Voyage"

"Escape From New York"


"Near Dark"

"Red Dawn"


"Karate Kid"

See? Told you.

There is no denying that Hollywood studios are pumping out movie remakes faster than you can say "Daniel-son."

There is also no denying that it has many movie-goers scratching their heads as to why they keep pumping out all these remakes.

Is Hollywood finally out of ideas? Has our culture declined so much that we have no original concepts left? Are we really that nostalgic for the 1980s and just don't know it?

Well, the short answer for why we keep seeing all the remakes, re-imaginings and reboots is: Money. Yes, cold, hard cash is the culprit as to why America will once again be assaulted by "Footloose."

Hollywood is staying in the safe zone and only green-lighting films with a built-in awareness, according to a recent Variety article. Most remakes are cheaper to produce, thanks to unknown and younger casts. They are also easy to develop with most of the groundwork having already been done and many have built-in merchandising, which helps bring in younger audiences who weren't around for the original movie. Plus, when you have an iconic character, such as He-Man or RoboCop, it doesn't matter who plays them and, as such, the studio doesn't have to shell out a fortune to lure in a big name A-lister.

Take, for instance, "Clash of the Titans." The original earned $41 million during its entire domestic run. The remake made $50 million within the first three days, according to the article.

But are we dipping too deep and too often into the same well? Yes, we are, according to culture critic and movie reviewer Joe Queenan.

"This is very much the situation we now find ourselves in: Too much of a good thing is making us ill. This isn't just a reaction against sequels; it is a reaction against films that so closely resemble other films that they seem like sequels," he wrote in an article for The Guardian. "It is a reaction against films about shockingly articulate English gangsters. It is a reaction against films where Juliette Binoche or Julie Delpy or Meryl Streep or Audrey Tautou or Kate Hudson discover the meaning of life in Paris."

Of course, remakes are nothing new. It's believed that the earliest movie remake done was 1919's "Marked Men," which was a remake of the 1916 "The Three Godfathers," according to movie critic and writer Ross Miller of However, the trouble with the current big boom of remakes is that studios aren't even trying anymore.

"But the trouble lies in the ease of making these [...] remakes, and how pretty much every time they make a profit on them, it seems to have gone to the studio's heads. It seems now that little effort and creativity go into them because they know they can make money even if they don't strive for top-notch quality," he wrote in an article for the website.



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