Sunday, May 8, 2011

Testing Myths: Is Hollywood obsessed with remakes?

I was recently listening to a writer complain that the US Film industry is only interested in is remaking earlier films.


It is a common complaint - but how true is it?



It's an area where everyone has an opinion ... but thankfully we don't have to rely on opinions (especially mine!) because we have the facts at our fingertips. It is trivial to search a list of all Hollywood films and crosscheck them.

So to test this theory I looked at films that:
1. Had a theatrical release in the USA in 2010.
2. Had a production company in the USA

Not all of them may be 'Hollywood' - but it certainly a start to get an answer to the question.

From a quick analysis of these 194 films we see:

PercentCategoryExamples
60%

Totally New

The Back-up Plan, Black Swan, The Bounty Hunter, Hot Tub Time Machine, Easy A

12%

Sequel

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Get Him to the Greek

19%Book‘127 Hours’, ‘Legend of the Guardians’
3%Comic / Graphic Novel
Kick-Ass, The Losers,Red, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Jonah Hex, Marmaduke

2%

TV

The A-Team, The Last Airbender,MacGruber,Yogi Bear

2%


Play


For Colored Girls, Jack Goes Boating, Rabbit Hole, The Tempest

4%


Non 3-D remake of an English Language Film

Clash of the Titans, The Crazies, Death at a Funeral, The Karate Kid, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wall Street, The Wolfman

1%


A 3-D Remake of an English Language Film

Piranha 3-D,Tron Legacy


2%

Remake of a Foreign Language Film

Dinner for Schmucks, Hachiko: A Dog's Story, Let Me In


1%

Video Game

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

1%Legends & MythsRobin Hood


There were clearly some tricky decisions as to how to class certain films.
* I counted 'The Karate Kid', 'Tron' & 'Wall Street' as remakes even though they pretend to be sequels.
* Even though 'Easy-A' has plenty of references to 'The Scarlet Letter' I figured I wouldn't count it as 'Based on the book'.

It's also clear that they often base a film on a book for research & IP reasons rather than the book's popularity as a book.  So '127 Hours' & 'The Social Network' are based on events that people had heard of .. yet are classed as 'based on the book'.

However we review the figures, though, it is clear that the US Film industry's reputation as being obsessed with movie remakes doesn't seem to be true - with only about 7% being based on previous films.

This entry is an archive from my earlier blog on 'The Filmmaker's Factory'
Image used with permission. Credit: www.chrissatchwell.com

1 comment:

  1. Hollywood is definitely obsessed with past hit remakes and sequels but they are mostly trying to focus on the potential big money making movies.
    It is usually the younger directors and writers with less experience and who depend on it for bread and butter come up with no brainer sequels and remakes.MAYBE IF a bunch of art graduates take up filmaking we might see some ray of hope with new never before seen movies.

    ReplyDelete

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