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TOPIC: Remakes...Pro or Con?

Remakes...Pro or Con? 06 Apr 2008 15:43 #18197

  • jacker5
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Here is a very interesting topic that was in Box Office magazine. What is your take on it?



Remakes (Mostly) Welcome at the Box Office
By Benji Tunnell

Gus Van Sant’s plans for a shot-for-shot remake of Psycho were met with confusion. If it worked, the credit would go to Hitchcock. If it failed, Van Sant’s reputation would suffer. As history has shown ($20 million budget, $21.4 million gross), it was not well-received. The exhibition value of a remake can be hard to determine.

The appeal to producers of the horror remake is not artistic, but monetary. A horror film can be redone with an unknown cast, little investment, and the potential for big returns. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 was made for $9.5 million, with a domestic return of $80.5 million. The Hills Have Eyes (2006) cost $15 million to make -- grossed $41.7 million. The potential for success is so great because the film can draw fans of the original who are curious to see what was done to their movie or who want to embrace nostalgia, as well as tap into a younger crowd by ratcheting up the gore. Franchises tapped into remakes long ago: Hellrasier, Child’s Play, Friday the 13th and The Fly are a partial list.

Family movies have also joined the remake front. For Disney, with a seemingly endless catalog of films, this has been a profitable way to build off an established brand with minimal investment. With Father of the Bride, 101 Dalmatians, Flubber, Freaky Friday, Disney has been able to benefit from many of their films in two different eras. Cheaper by the Dozen, Dr. Doolittle and How the Grinch Stole Christmas have shown that it isn’t just the Disney brand that makes the repeats successful. While not much new is added to such films, the box office potential makes up for the minimal risk.

The category where a director implements his or her own vision is the foreign movie. While this has generated some franchises (The Ring, The Grudge), it has also exposed American audiences to fare that ordinarily wouldn’t be seen outside the art houses. Although some Americanized imports have failed (Taxi (2004), Solaris), many have been greeted with critical and commercial success.

Christopher Nolan decided to remake Insomnia, a small Norwegian film. Eyebrows were raised. An early summer release met with critical and commercial acclaim, helping establish Nolan as one of the few directors capable of success both with independent and mainstream films.

Then there’s Martin Scorcese. He spent decades creating films that were critical and financial successes, that became cultural landmarks. Yet, Oscar gold eluded him. Until he decided to retell Hong Kong’s Infernal Affairs. A Best Director and Best Picture Oscar and a domestic gross of $132 million resulted.

This December saw two stars with remake experience: Will Smith (Wild, Wild West) in I Am Legend, and Johnny Depp (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) with his twist on Sweeney Todd. Higher profile films with higher budgets. The risk is even greater, but the box office potential is enormous. And the tide of remakes will not subside any time soon. http://boxoffice.com/exhibition/2007/12/remakes-mostly-welcome-at-the.php
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Re: Remakes...Pro or Con? 06 Apr 2008 16:31 #18198

  • muviebuf
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There is another financial reason that remakes are so popular. Often the remake is by the same studio which made the original. Since that studio already owns the rights to the story and original screenplay it is another cost savings factor.
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Re: Remakes...Pro or Con? 07 Apr 2008 12:29 #18199

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Remakes are OK with me when the original came out many years ago and is not something a lot of people already have in their video/dvd collection.

Another time they are OK with me is if the old one was poorly done, but had a great story, or a foreign film that never made it to the states.

Before I purchased my theatres I was not a real movie buff, and still don't watch much TV. Consequently, I have not seen very many of the originals of the movies they have made remakes of.
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