Remakes take over Hollywood


photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

Greta Gerwig’s interpretation of the bestselling novel “Little Women” that came out in 2019 has become a popular film that has won over fans and critics. Although the film has been remade several times in the past, the plot has remained relatively the same with only minor changes being made.

Alessandra Tazoe, Editor-in-Chief

Over the years, Hollywood has created countless movies that have made their way into the hearts of millions, and some even bear the distinction of being timeless classics. Quotes from these iconic films have become easily recognizable, whether one has watched them or not. Gaining so much popularity has made several of these films subject to remakes, something that seems to be dominating the entertainment industry. 

“I think remakes can be done well and can result in some great movies, but only if the remake adds enough new content to be different from the original,” senior Sophia Skiavo said. “For example, ‘The Ring’ was a remake of a foreign film, but had huge success to the English-speaking audience since it was produced in a different language. It was different enough to succeed on its own even if it was a remake.”

Classics with a modern twist such as 2018’s “A Star is Born,” or remakes with minimal changes to the original plots like Greta Gerwig’s version of “Little Women” are becoming far more common in theaters, but why is that so? Is it a decline in creativity that’s creeping up on society or merely the fact that remakes are highly profitable? 

“I think movie companies know they can cash off of nostalgia. For example, a lot of people who watched ‘The Lion King’ remake were millennials and Gen Xers because they grew up with that movie,” senior Nels Williams said. “We’ll probably be seeing a remake of the Harry Potter series in the future because they know they can introduce it to a younger audience while also cashing in on older generations who remember what it was like growing up with those movies.”

Changing the storyline in remakes can be tricky: how much of the original story will the audience want to see? What can make it entertaining for a whole new generation? Viewers have differing opinions on what makes a remake successful as opposed to bringing down the value of what is considered to be a good movie.

“The original glory of the classic movies should stay intact when it comes to remaking a classic,” freshman Abhi Karhana said. “The newer generations haven’t had the same opportunities we did, so I think it’s good to remake [classics] so that all generations can experience them.” 

Film studios often take risks with what they produce, unsure of the audience’s reaction and how the movie will do in the box office. Disney, in particular, has been producing remake after remake, with little on the line in terms of box office sales because of the triumphs the company has had with previous revamps of classic tales. According to CNBC, Disney has made over $7 billion in the last nine years from remakes alone, proving their live-action remakes have become a sensation among the public. However, this statistic also addresses the speculation by many that Hollywood is declining in creativity, relying on past storylines rather than coming up with new ones. Many people have their own opinions on this topic, and several factors come into play when interpreting just how far creativity is being affected.

“I don’t think there is a decline of creativity in society right now. I think there is a decline in studios willing to fund new creative films. Remakes are safe; the idea worked once, so the remake will work too, right?” Skiavo said. “I know there are creative works out there, they’re just not being funded, which is limiting the success of the current film industry.”

From the much-anticipated live-action “Mulan” to Steven Spielberg’s modernized “West Side Story,” 2020 will be another big year for movie fans who wish to see revivals of timeless stories. Regardless of the purpose behind these new films, whether it be nostalgia or profit, it’s safe to say they’re undoubtedly thriving in the industry and the public should expect more to come.