I need your perspective. When I blogged about plot in http://bit.ly/theplotbeckons, I wrote that there were no new plots, just unique variations. Nothing wrong with that if it provides a springboard for good storytelling.
What about a movie remake?
As a rule, I don’t like movie remakes. They “feel” lazy to me. Take a popular, moneymaking movie and film a remake. Not a prequel or a sequel. The same story. Use younger, bright and shiny actors, better technology [don’t forget to add computer-generated images (CGI)], and you don’t have to rewrite the thing from scratch. Hire a great screenwriter to update it, put in a few twists, and rake in the bucks. Yes, I understand it’s not as easy as this, but I’m not writing a book here.
Producers of remakes have built-in attendance. There’s Joe, who goes to the remake because he loved the original and wants to see it redone no matter how badly. Then there’s Bob, who loved the original, but hates the idea of a remake, and wants to be able to tell everyone he was right.
While I won’t state that remakes never make as much money as the originals, quite a few don’t. Adjusted for inflation, the following remakes did not fare as well at the box office as the originals. The Karate Kid (1st one), Fame, Conan the Barbarian, Bad News Bears, The Amityville Horror, and Arthur. That is a small number from the selection I found.
Rumored remakes in the works are American Pie, Barbarella, The Birds, Escape from New York, Ghostbusters, Highlander (I’m not counting the TV series as a remake), and Tomb Raider.
Why? Are all the screenwriters out of ideas? I doubt it. Are the producers and backers afraid to take a chance on a new story or a new writer? Sounds a little like editors and publishers. 🙂
And this blog isn’t even covering movie treatments of hit TV shows, comic books, anime, video games, etc. Where’s the originality gone?
In the interest of full disclosure, I go to remakes pretty regularly. But, I’m always a little uneasy. When remakes are tweaked here and there, does that make them “a variation on the same plot” and thus okay? Is the deciding factor whether they are remade well enough to make money?
What do you think? Are remakes a cop-out? I’m not sure.
What remake of a movie do you think was better than the original? And remember, prequels and sequels don’t count. Movies to TV and vice versa aren’t eligible.