Since 2015’s Cinderella, Disney’s “remake renaissance” has taken the place of their more original titles such as 2010’s Tangled and 2016’s Moana. Disney’s The Lion King just raked in a worldwide total of $1.632 billion and has received a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes. The box office total is high, but the reviews are rather low. Disney movies aren’t the only titles hopping on the remake craze. Horror movie’s box office sales have been at an all time high (just in time for Halloween!) with Child’s Play (2019) and Pet Sematary (2019) remakes. Critics are quick to voice their opinions about these unoriginal films being produced rapidly. Andrew Yang tweeted, “I find live action remakes of Aladdin, Lion King, and other movies I grew up with a bit depressing. It’s like we can’t come up with new stories.” One twitter critic pointed out a quote from Walt Disney himself “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”. This quote was displayed in the credits of Disney’s 2007 animated film Meet The Robinsons which ironically, is often one of the most overlooked and thought be oddest Disney movies but received a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes (notably higher than The Lion King remake).
Yet the box office doesn’t lie and many remakes have been known to make even more money than the original film like 2005’s remake of Roald Dahl’s classic tale Charlie and The Chocolate Factory which grossed $293,423,115 while the 1971 movie only grossed $25,289,074. Audiences crave fresh content but are still supporting the remakes which ultimately take up spots in the theater, leaving little room for fresher films such as The Peanut Butter Falcon an indie film starring Shia Labeouf with a certified 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie received fantastic reviews but only grossed 16.8 million which seems highly insignificant compared to the remake’s totals. Film Editor, Anita Busch, told ABCnews that the reason why people are so eager to view remade or rebooted content rather than new, is because of the familiarity of it,“They already know these brands, and these combinations have worked on one generation and, if written properly,
will work again”.
It can also be said that Disney’s remakes are targeting all audiences including adults who loved 90’s Disney classics such as Beauty and The Beast and The Lion King and their kids who they’ve also raised on these timeless tales. With newer soundtracks that appeal to pop culture such as Beyonce’s song Spirit in The Lion King and Will Smith’s renovation of Friend Like Me from Aladdin how could kids not bop along to the catchy pop beats from stars that they are most likely to recognize. The formula never fails, “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” seems to be the
Hollywood motto these days and audiences are left deciding if they want to pay for something they’ve already seen
before with maybe a couple modifications, or do they take a risk on original content that may end up being horrible
all together? That or, they look for something in between. The biggest example currently is Todd Phillip’s psychological thriller Joker which has just hit theaters last week. The movie starring the titular character, serves as a new take on the Batman supervillian’s backstory with thoughtful but aggressive commentary on mental illness and class issues in society. The movie broke records at the box office with it’s successful $93.5 million made just in the opening weekend. While the reviews are mixed based on it’s violence and disturbing plotline, this serves as an opportunity for all fans whether they’ve seen a Batman movie or not, to see a movie with familiar characters but also a fresh taste and original storyline. The film industry’s goal is to impress and shock audiences, to get people talking and as long as remakes are doing that for them, they’ll keep replacing original content.