Remake culture is actively hurting the film industry and brings nothing to the table.
I accept my role with open arms: I am an old man. I will totally shake my fist at any youngster having any semblance of fun as I mutter my repurposed bah humbug. I have been caught in the act of staring at my old copy of “Heathers” with reverence, longing for the time I was free from my shackles of regret and embarrassment — namely, before that “Heathers” TV series that came out last year.
I understand why we have been churning out so many remakes. After all, if it worked once, it’ll probably work again, right? There are definitely successes that have shown this a worthwhile theory, like “A Star Is Born” or “Ocean’s Eleven.” Still, there are definite obstacles in front of any remake, like the viewer’s expectations and love of the original film.
These days the entertainment industry churns out the same properties over and over instead of taking meaningful risks. That isn’t to say that every remake hasn’t tried to offer something more imaginative; the 2016 remake “Ghostbusters” attempted a more progressive image as it used female main characters. However, it was largely seen as a flop, doing the bare minimum to discredit pre-release criticisms. Even Disney’s 2017 remake of “Beauty and the Beast” gave a new twist in its storytelling: revealing the sexuality of Gaston’s henchman LeFou.
So why doesn’t every remake offer something new to the table? The short answer is that they don’t have to. Any remake of a cult classic or a previously beloved film will garner an audience. That nostalgia factor alone is enough to make a profit. The algorithm is one that works — there’s a pre-existing fan base, and with that comes a draw to the movies. Still, nostalgia is a double-edged sword. While it draws viewers in, there is an unspoken expectation that a remake will be superior to its predecessor. Without any semblance of greater quality, many remakes have largely failed.
Ultimately, the current production of films relies on the fumes of the past. There’s something about these movies that just feels safe. In a world with overflowing creative content of all kinds, the pool should be larger. From webcomics to historical events to thousands of novels, there are definitely untapped sources of stories available. There’s no excuse for falling back on shamelessly remaking films and beating the proverbial dead horse.
Maybe I’m an elitist. Maybe I hate it when people are having fun. Maybe I’m tooting my diamond-encrusted clown horn with all of this. But the point remains: there is something completely uninspired with the way the entertainment industry pours out these remakes. With a massive unexplored creative world at our fingertips, it’s time for us to bring something new to the table.