RANT: The remake craze in modern Hollywood

According to data blog "The Droid You're Looking For," 122 American remakes were released theatrically from 2003 to 2012. The average Rotten Tomatoes score for the original films is 78%, whereas the average for the remakes is 46%. (Photo By: Hunter Goddard).
According to data blog “The Droid You’re Looking For,” 122 American remakes were released theatrically from 2003 to 2012. The average Rotten Tomatoes score for the original films is 78%, whereas the average for the remakes is 46%. (Image By: Hunter Goddard).

Ryan Gosling is in talks to star in Guillermo del Toro’s Haunted Mansion. Just like Rob Minkoff’s Eddie Murphy vehicle, The Haunted Mansion (2003), it is based off the Disneyland ride. Oh, and, of freaking course, it’ll be in 3D.

Maybe it’s because I can still remember my family taking me to see the original Haunted Mansion in theaters back when it came out, and I can’t accept the fact that I’m old now (2003 was twelve years ago), but, we’re already getting a remake? I’m sure Hollywood is window-dressing it as a “reimagining,” just like they did with Kimberly Peirce’s Carrie (2013) when they promised that it would be a reinterpretation of Stephen King’s 1974 novel rather than a remake of Brian De Palma’s sterling 1976 adaptation, but, instead, Peirce’s film ends the same way as De Palma’s, which is not even remotely faithful to King’s ending. The Haunted Mansion is hardly an untouchable classic, with a thirteen-percent critical consensus rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, so, if a movie about an amusement park ride didn’t work the first time, I sincerely doubt it’ll work the second time; in a world already inundated with Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, how many Haunted Mansion movies does the public really need?

I Liked The Haunted Mansion, But, Then Again, I Was Ten Years Old, Last Time I Saw It

These “amnesia remakes” are everywhere – remakes which don’t reintroduce beloved classics to a new generation, but, rather, reintroduce this generation to our own beloved classics. Less than five years after Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 (2007) was released, Sony Pictures Entertainment rebooted their Marvel Comics superhero franchise with Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), but, after one sequel (Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)), Sony is already making plans to reboot “Spider-Man” again, NOT EVEN A YEAR SINCE THE LAST ONE’S RELEASE. Not to mention Ben Affleck already replacing Christian Bale as D.C.’s Batman, with Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises (2012) turning three this year, and Disney’s live-action remakes of their own animated features (i.e., Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella (2015) and Robert Stromberg’s Maleficent (2014)).

Don’t get me wrong – sometimes, remakes can be a good thing. From what I hear, Joel and Ethan Coen’s True Grit (2010) is superior to the 1969 John Wayne original, and I don’t care to find out for myself (I’m not the biggest fan of John Wayne’s racism and hypermasculinity; sorry, not sorry). Again, I think the forty-one years between John Wayne and the Coen Brothers more reasonably warrant a remake than the three years between Bill Condon’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012) and Lionsgate’s Facebook reboot of Stephenie Meyer’s teen vampire romance.

I hate to sound like one of those people who fetishizes “originality” when there’s no such thing as a truly, purely, “original” idea. However, when you write a book with the same characters and same plot and same title as another book, it doesn’t get called a “remake” – it’s called “plagiarism.” These remakes should make you angry because they insult our intelligence and presume that we’re stupid enough to pay twice for one movie, and how ironic that would be, if the film industry’s worship of the almighty dollar forces it to churn out movies that “people want to see” until people don’t want to see them anymore.

As long as movies like Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (2010) make a billion dollars at the box office, this new Hollywood (which isn’t very “new” at all) is here to stay.

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Hunter Goddard

I am a journalism graduate from Colorado State University as well as a film studies minor. Lady Gaga inspires me in everything I do.

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