The Theater Goes “Old School”

Early today as my husband and I visited a local flee market I was struck by the number of DVDs and even video cassette tapes that various vendors had for purchase.  I laughed as I saw movies that I haven’t thought about in a very long time.  It occurred to me that some of these movies weren’t even the most recent version available; some of these “classic” hits have been remade, sometimes more than once.  Why does Hollywood do this?

Every decade or two, a movie that makes a large impact or gathers a large “cult” following, reappears on the silver screen once more.  The last few years have seen remakes of King Kong, Mad Max, and Carrie, to name a few.  What do these have in common?

They were all made again for an audience that had probably never seen, perhaps never heard of, the original movie.  Does that make them superior or inferior to the original?  Not necessarily.  There are many factors that can affect whether a remake succeeds or not, but back to the original question- why does Hollywood reuse these plots, sometimes more than once?

  • The original could have been improved on in some way, either in production or casting or even just distribution, thanks to modern media advertising. A number of critics consider remakes of such movies as Dredd and 3:10 To Yuma to be superior to the originals.
  • If a movie was made so long ago, or did so poorly initially that it’s been forgotten, perhaps the idea could be revamped. After all, coming up with a good idea for a movie is hard work.  (I’ll leave it up to you to decide which movies you’ve seen that were probably a bad idea from the start.)
  • If one generation likes it, they will bring their kids to see the original. Surely the producers of such cult classics like Ghostbusters and Total Recall had this thought.
  • If it was good enough to be successful once, perhaps it will be again. If there was something so special about a movie the first time around, because of a spectacularly complex plot or a timeless theme that speaks across the generations, why not share it with the world again?

So the next time you decide to pick a movie, be it from Netflix or Redbox or the local movie theater, consider if the film you’re about to see is an original, or a remake of a classic.  Either way, I hope you’re entertained, and as always, I hope you get to watch with the people you call family.


Watching a blank screen

Photo credit: ToastyKen via / CC BY




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