- Remakes: If at all possible it is best to review a remake after watching the original film or an earlier version of the film (you should at the very least have quality background information on earlier film versions to be able to compare and contrast in your review).
- The prime motivation for producing remakes (and sequels) is profit.
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).
- 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. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Cape Fear (1991), The Magnificent Seven (2016), True Grit (2010) 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), King Kong (2005), 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.
**Look for these remakes coming in 2017-18: An American Werewolf in London, Alien Nation, Beauty and the Beast, Big Trouble in Little China, The Birds, Blade, Cliffhanger, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Crow, Death Wish, Escape from New York, Fantastic Voyage, Flash Gordon, Flatliners, The Fugitive, Highlander, The Howling, I Know What you did Last Summer, The Invisible Man, It, Jumanji, The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman, The Lion King, Logan’s Run, Memento, The Mummy, The Naked Gun, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Pet Semetary, Predator, Private Benjamin, Rambo, Spiderman, Splash, Stargate, Starship Troopers, Strangers on a Train, Stuart Little, Tomb Raider, WarGames, Weird Science, The Wild Bunch, and Zorro.
- 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. The 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 the rule are normally animation, Examples include: Toy Story 3 – 11 years in between, and Finding Dory – 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.
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. Each of these sequels was box-office failures.