- Remakes: If at all possible, it is best to review a remake (or reboot) of a film after watching the original film or an earlier version of the film. At the very least, you should have quality background information (or research) on earlier film versions to be able to compare and contrast in your review.
- The prime motivation for producing remakes (and sequels) is profit. But, there are other reasons as well:
Reasons Hollywood Remakes Films (or reboots a franchise):
- The original (or earlier version) is dated in setting, pacing, or style. Examples: Scarface (1983), Ben Hur (2016), Freaky Friday (2003), Hairspray (2007), It (2017), Flatliners (2017), Deathwish (2017), A Star is Born (2018).
- The original is not widely well known, or beloved, or the original is not well-known to US audiences (numerous foreign films have been remade to great success) Examples: The Departed (2006), Insomnia (2002), The Ring (2002), The Magnificent Seven (2016), 12 Monkeys (1995). Let me In (2010), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).
- The remake brings something new to light while respecting the original. Tomb Raider (2018), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Cape Fear (1991), The Magnificent Seven (2016), True Grit (2010), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) and The Thing (2011). Each of these was a remake that brought something fresh to the original story, whether in concept or execution.
- The original was cheesy, or hasn’t held up to the times (in either effects, music, acting or direction). Peter Jackson’s (2005) “King Kong” remake was a great example of success is bringing a new breed of special effects to the Kong character. Other examples: War of the Worlds (2005), Godzilla (2018), The Mummy (2017), The Predator (2018), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (numerous versions).
** Never remake a classic film unless you can take the heat. Flops include: Planet of the Apes (2001), Conan the Barbarian (2011), Footloose (2011), The Bad News Bears (2005), The Omen (2006), Poseidon (2006), Fame (2009), Clash of the Titans (2010), The Karate Kid (2010), The Wolfman (2010), Arthur (2011), The Fantastic Four (2015). The Coen Brothers had tremendous success with the John Wayne western remake –‘True Grit.” Failed classic remake was “Psycho” (1998) – when you remake Hitchcock, you better be sure of yourself.
- Sequels and franchise films: While it is possible for some franchise films to stand on their own (James Bond films for example), it is recommended to watch the predecessor before watching most sequels. They usually tend to build off of each other.
- Sequels & Franchise (episodic) films also succeed financially best when done so within a few years of the original (exceptions to this rule are normally animated films. Examples include: Toy Story 3 (11 years in between), and Finding Dory which was 13 years in between.
Typically if you wait longer than 5 years in between franchise films (or pure sequels), a film will bomb at the box office. Examples include:
The second X-Files film in 2008 was released 10 years after the first. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014) was released nine years after the original. The Legend of Zorro (2005) was released seven years after the original. Mean Girls 2 (2011) was released seven years after the original. Zoolander 2 (2016) was released 15 years after the original. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) was released 10 years after the original. Each of these sequels was box-office failures.
Last year, there was an exception to the rule, Blade Runner 2049 was released 25 years after the original, and it found critical success and a cult-following (much like the original).
N.T. Manning II 9.15.18