Hollywood remakes: Flukes and fakes
This years national film attendance has dropped about five percent. It is easy to blame the economy, but statistically recessions do not affect cinema attendance. The decline in cinema-goers is caused by customer dissatisfaction. Average movie-goers may have enjoyed Red Dawn when they first saw it, but they will probably not be too pleased when they see trailers for the movie again.
Every year Hollywood dispenses remakes, reboots and rip-offs at an alarming rate. The Mechanic, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Don’t be Afraid of the Dark are only a few of the examples of remakes produced in 2011.
They were not successful in the box office and did not receive critical acclaim.
Remakes often ruin classic films. An example of this is Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho which was remade by director Gus Van Sant in 1998 and stared Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates. After DaVinci finished the Mona Lisa, Rembrandt did not paint his own version. He produced original work. It is not too much for Hollywood directors to show some creativity.
If producers are not out spoiling a good film, they are rooting through the refuse pile of old, washed up and terrible movies. One of the worst films remade was Rollerball.
First filmed in 1975, the movie was about a dystopian future where the most popular sport was the violent Rollerball, a bizarre sport that added a motorcycle and the outrageous antics of professional wrestling to a Roller Derby.
The film was a complete failure. By some fluke a remake was produced in 2002, and to no surprise the movie tanked.
Even video games are being remade. Classic Nintendo 64 game, Golden Eye, was remade for the Wii, and The Legend of Zelda was remade for the Nintendo 3DS. It is cheaper for video game companies to do remakes because much of the groundwork regarding the story is done, and in some cases game play and graphics remain the same.
Film companies must also buy into the notion that remakes are economical, but the current trends show that most remakes rarely break even, and most don’t make their budget.
The propensity to recycle material found in the entertainment industry is an attempt to be economical. Fans do not want a reprocessed script shot with the newest acting sensation. Their desire is to be more than entertained.
The Oscar-winning film The Departed is a remake of a Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs, and cult classic The Magnificent Seven is a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. These movies are not complete remakes but adaptations.
The bottom line in Hollywood is sales. If producers can be convinced that recycling old scripts only creates more refuse, then fewer remakes will be filmed. Until then, we will have to endure remakes of terrible movies like Rollerball.
For the best and worst remakes of the last decade, click here.