Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Why Are Remakes So Successful?

Jonathan Blum

If everything has been said, sung and used, why do we keep repeating things?

In fact, recreating the past—while adapting it to current events—has happened throughout history. Fashion is a perfect example. How many times have we seen a trend make a comeback, with slight changes to update it to the modern era? It even has a name: vintage.

Another example is literature. Often, literary trends buck their recent predecessors and go back to even older ideas, leading to new artistic movements.

Currently, we have more examples than ever in the form of films, television series and even songs. The trend in remakes is neither good nor bad, because it all depends on consumer tastes and how they connect with the topic. There are some general keys to success, however, such as the ability to adapt the original idea, cast and, most obviously, special effects, which in this digital era are an absolute must. I would like to discuss the advantages and disadvantages I see, looking at some of today’s most popular remakes as examples.

One of them is no doubt Ocean’s 8, a 2018 movie with a wonderful cast including Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway and Rihanna. Most of us know the movie is a remake of Ocean’s 11, though it is important to mention that it is, at least theoretically, a sequel to the original. I don’t think the remake was as successful—which is often the case—but this time the storyline and acting were very good. It probably would have been a hit if it had not been preceded by the original

Another example that caused some rumblings was the Netflix series Sabrina. In this case, the original story (a 90s’ hit) was very different from the current series, whose success has been marked by magic and mythology. Though it is unlikely these changes pleased those who grew up watching the original, the current production and cast has managed to position itself well with both youth and adults.

I always like to be surprised by new content, but I don’t discard the possibility of watching a good remake. In fact, there are several I believe are great. Have you seen the latest version of “A Star is Born”? I loved the movie and the soundtrack—and it is already getting Oscar buzz.

How about you? Are you a fan of remakes, or do you prefer products with original material?