Why’s It Forgotten? Most Recent Remakes
Kevthewriter takes you to a world of pure lack of imagination as he examines remakes you probably don’t think about any more.
If you don’t remember, a few months ago I made a Why’d it Hit? article on Tim Burton’s adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Despite the fact that his movie made more money at the box office than the 1971 classic, let’s be honest, what song are you more likely to see people quoting or referencing? This?
Chances are it’s former. Speaking of that movie, when you think of Willy Wonka and The Oompa Loompas, do you think of a pasty white faced weirdo with a bunch of Indian dwarfs wearing spandex or do you think of Gene Wilder in a purple suit and a bunch of dwarfs in orange makeup with green hair and red shirts with white overalls?
Again, most people are probably going to think of the latter.
But this is a pretty regular phenomena. Just look at, well, all the Disney remakes that have been coming out or have come out in the past. Most of them have made either a killing at the box office or made way more than their predecessors did (at least when you adjust them for inflation) but, at the end of the day, it’s the original animated version that everyone remembers.
I mean, think about it: name one thing that’s all that memorable about the 2015 version of Cinderella or the 2016 version of The Jungle Book or the 2017 version of Beauty and the Beast that wasn’t in the original animated film or the book. Name one thing from those versions alone that is commonly referenced by people.
You probably can’t think of much, can you?
And I’m sure there are more remakes I can think of off the top of my head that, despite making way more money than the original, just didn’t leave much of an impact with audiences.
Why do you think this happens? What is stopping these movies from having more pop culture relevance? Well the thing is these movies didn’t make money because they were good necessarily but because everyone loved the originals.
No matter how much money the movies initially made, they became beloved as people kept watching them over and over during the decades. As a result, they stuck with people which made these movies household names and, as a result, these movies became very well-known.
Just look at Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It actually bombed when it first came out but, over the years, people have grown up with it while watching it on video and, as a result, it’s stuck with people.
Therefore, because these movies stick with people, more and more people see these movies on home video so they go out and see the remakes out of nostalgia for the original, sometimes even if they don’t have kids, which leads these movies to make more money at the box office.
But, at the end of the day, the remakes just aren’t as good or memorable as the original which, in turn, causes them to be forgotten after a few years.
In fact, the most beloved remakes or adaptations are adaptations pieces of other mediums (TV, books, plays, etc.) that weren’t that well-remembered. If I mention the name The Wizard of Oz, you’re probably going to think of Judy Garland, The Yellow Brick Road, Over the Rainbow, yadda yadda yadda. Guess what? That wasn’t the first attempt at making a movie about The Wizard of Oz, there was a version of it in 1925, it’s just the one that’s stuck with people the most. Granted there’s been various attempts to make other movies based off of the land of Oz, even if none of them were adaptations or remakes of The Wizard of Oz but, while there have been a few musicals like Wicked and, to a lesser extent, The Wiz that managed to have staying power, none of the other attempts at bringing the Land of Oz to the big screen have managed to stay in most people’s memories for long. It probably took decades for the movie we all know and love to make as much as Oz: The Great and Powerful did but, at the end of the day, most people are probably going to think of Judy Garland than James Franco or Mila Kunis when they think of Oz.
That’s not the only example though. When people think of Scarface, The Thing, or The Fly, the 1980’s versions might ring a bell more than their predecessors because those are the ones that have just stuck more with people while the movies that came before were not all that memorable.
Or, if we go to the 90’s, let’s look at The Fugitive. The movie itself is pretty well-remembered but I’m guessing that, 9 times out of 10, most people are more likely to think of the movie than they are the show its based off of. You probably didn’t even know it WAS based off of a show. Hell, the success of the Jump Street movies have probably made the Jump Street name more synonymous with stoner comedies starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill than a cop drama starring Johnny Depp.
On the other hand, if a movie comes out that’s a remake of something that’s already had a lot of pop culture relevance, then, no matter how much money it makes, it’s just unlikely it’ll stick in people’s minds as much as its predecessor did because people are already very familiar with the original and, to them, that’s the definitive version of the story.