When you walk into a movie theater and look at the posters, you wouldn’t be surprised to find movies with the same titles as films from 20 to 30 years ago. Back in the early ‘90s we had the “Evil Dead” trilogy and “Jurassic Park.” Today we have “Evil Dead” and “Jurassic Park.” One may be a remake and another a 3D conversion, but the fact remains that these projects were greenlit based on how recognizable they were. When it comes to popular films, old is new again.
Even a blind man can see that Hollywood is remake-crazy. Every major film that’s been hyped up over the last decade is almost always a remake, sequel or reboot of a previous property.
Popular ‘80s franchises like “Die Hard,” “Indiana Jones,” “Star Wars,” “Friday the 13th” and “Halloween” are getting remakes and sequels left and right, while outdated franchises like “Star Trek,” “Batman,” “James Bond” and “Planet of the Apes” wipe away their previous films in favor of more modern versions, a technique known as rebooting.
People always complain that these remakes aren’t as good as the originals. Why fix what isn’t broken? Why ruin our childhood memories with a pointless sequel? And yet Hollywood keeps making them.
It seems maddening, sure, but there’s a very simple reason why so many of these films exist; they make money. Lots of money. Case in point: the new “Evil Dead,” despite a lack of Bruce Campbell and his chainsaw arm, was number one in theaters last weekend.
It shouldn’t add up that so many people complain about remakes then rush out to see them opening weekend. The only possible explanation is that they’re nostalgic- they want to feel how they felt the first time they saw James Bond, Batman and Darth Vader in theaters, so they jump at any new movie that has them in it. Why else would the “Star Wars” prequels make millions despite clearly being weaker than the originals?
Hollywood knows that people love nostalgia, and have been capitalizing on that for more than a decade. Even if people hate the remake, they’ll still see it anyway to compare it to the original, curious if it will measure up to their memories. Nine times out of 10 it won’t, but that won’t stop Hollywood from making more.
Lack of originality may not always be a bad thing, though. Sometimes old films, like “Batman” and “Star Trek,” need an update to stay relevant, and end up better because the filmmakers chose to remake instead of leaving them alone. Contrary to popular belief, money is not always the biggest factor in revisiting an old series.
More and more frequently we’re finding directors and writers who are just as nostalgic about the old films as we are. When they get ahold of the new films, like J.J. Abrams doing the next “Star Wars,” we could be in for remakes that actually succeed at sparking those nostalgic feelings.