5 Rules For Movie Remakes

Many people don’t like remakes, but the film industry has churned them out for decades. Although remakes normally fail to beat the original, there have been some brilliant ones over the years, such as Scarface (1983) and Dawn of the Dead (2004). But there have been way more bad remakes than there have been good ones. So, what pre-requisites should filmmakers follow to avoid making a bad remake? Here are my rules:

Rule #1 The original has to be at least 30 years old

I believe that at least 30 years must pass before a film should be considered for a remake. It’s pointless remaking a film so soon after the original because it won’t feel fresh to the audience. 30 years or more allows enough time for technological advancements to make the film really refreshing, and this amount of time will allow for a new generation of audiences.

Rule #2 The original is not a beloved film and widely seen as a masterpiece

Don’t mess with the classics. Seriously, just don’t. I believe that some films should be off limits. Studios shouldn’t go near the films that are part of a certain culture and time in history and are still loved and enjoyed today. For example, I would be outraged if Pulp Fiction was ever remade. That film has withstood the test of time and is still exceptional to this day. There are many examples of definitive works that should be left well alone. So, it’s best to remake a film with a good story that most modern audiences haven’t seen.

Rule #3 The original would benefit from a new version

If you can’t make a better version, then there’s no point remaking the film. Sometimes, you just can’t top the original and this relates to the rule above. Only remake a film if the original will benefit from modern film making technologies and if something new can be brought to the table while respecting the original at the same time. For example, a lot of the old Disney movies are being remade into live-action films, and that’s because the animation benefits from live action technology, as it provides a better viewing experience.

Rule #4 Don’t remake a film that’s already been remade

Although some films have been remade multiple times, such as King Kong and The Thing, I believe that a film should be remade one time only. In order to keep things fresh, filmmakers should stay away from films that have been remade in the past. I don’t see the point in recycling the same old material, unless you can completely reinvent the film, without insulting the memory of the original.

Rule #5 Finally, a remake must have an overall purpose

Besides making money, there needs to be a clear reason for making another version of the same story. There should be a new take on the same subject, instead of simply replicating the original film. Christopher Nolan remade the 1997 Norwegian film, Insomnia by recreating it for an English-speaking audience. He had a clear purpose, which was to introduce English viewers to a great story from a Foreign film. The 2013 remake of Carrie, is an example of a pointless remake. Although partially re-imagining the original, it didn’t really bring anything new to Stephen King’s classic horror tale.

So, what do you think? Are there any rules for remaking a movie, that you can think of? Let me know in the comment section.


19 thoughts on “5 Rules For Movie Remakes

  1. Good collection of rules here. I would just stay away. Remakes only ever seen to suit the makers not the consumers.
    Foreign films don’t need to be remade imo, they are usually just as impressive with subtitles. As for all these live action ones, just because you can doesn’t mean you should!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are so on the money Liam about the remakes. I usually read the book first then the movie comes out, and I think they leave so much out of the film that was in the book. Kinda takes the shine off of it for me. Remakes are just not quite the same, the original should be well left alone. Can’t see how it can be improved.

    Saw a s/h blue ray in a shop (we don’t have a blue ray player) it was the Babbadook, that you mentioned. Have seen two films recently on the big screen, “A Street Cat Called Bob” filmed around Covent Garden, The second film seen a few days ago was called ” Arrival” Can anyone explain what the hell it was about? I didn’t fall asleep at any time so didn’t miss any of the complicated plot and flash backs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, some films should be left well alone. I haven’t seen “A street cat called Bob”, but I think I’m going to see Arrival in a couple of weeks, so I’ll see what the hype is all about.


  3. Hey Liam! I particularly like the first rule as I’ve said it myself many times. I’m in the process of doing a review for It’s A Wonderful Life on my site…and to my surprise I found out they are doing a Part Two or continuation of sorts. No word on a release date as far as I know. I have mixed feelings about touching that one, but we shall see! Solid list you have here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Agree with all of these. I especially like the idea of a remake having a purpose. Pointless remakes are the worse, especially ones which try to recreate the movie shot for shot, like the awful Psycho remake.

    Liked by 1 person

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