It’s no secret: when Hollywood finds a formula that proves to be successful, they will use it until it runs dry. We’ve seen it with rom-coms, sci-fi movies, horror movies and even superhero films. Most of these stories have been told several times and audiences have grown tired of them, so the industry decided to try something new: remakes.
Probably ‘new’ is not the best word to describe this trend that has been taking over Hollywood over the past few years (and many more to come). For the ones that don’t know, a remake is a new adaptation of something already told, and in most cases: is an unnecessary thing to do.
Remakes have been part of Hollywood since the Golden Age, the most famous example is A Star Is Born, released for the first time in 1937 and directed by William A. Wellman. It was remade for the first time in 1954, with Judy Garland in the main role. Then, in 1976 Barbra Streisand took over the same role in another remake and in 2018 was Lady Gaga’s turn.
There are dozens of examples like this one, but now it’s become exaggerated and puts in evidence the lack of creativity in the industry. There’s no denying that even in a remake a creative process is required and a lot of work is demanded, but this year made it very clear that people don’t want to keep watching the same stories, they want original plots and characters.
If you don’t believe it, take a look at some of the most successful movies of this year: Barbie, Oppenheimer or Killers of the Flower Moon. They may be based on a doll, a physicist or a book, but in the end, they are original, because no one saw something like them before. You could say the same thing about Talk To Me, called the best horror movie of 2023 or Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. All these films proved to be successful. And what happened with remakes? What happened when studios tried to revive a story? Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny was a failure and The Little Mermaid was not the success everyone thought I’d be.
However, the industry is not giving up on remakes just yet. Last week it was announced that two of the greatest filmmakers alive, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, are teaming up for the first time for a television project. The project? A Cape Fear remake, just what everyone was waiting for!
Cape Fear was a psychological thriller released in 1962 and is considered a classic. It was directed by J. Lee Thompson and based on John D. MacDonald’s novel The Executioners. The story follows attorney and family man, Sam Bowden, whose life suddenly turns into a living hell when Max Cady, a former prisoner convicted of rape, is released. Cady blames Bowden for his sentence, so he seeks revenge by sneaking his way into his family.
Both directors are no strangers to remakes. In 2021, Spielberg directed West Side Story, a remake of the beloved 1961 classic musical. In 1991, Scorsese directed his own remake of Cape Fear, starring Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte, so this new project will be his second remake of the same movie.
There’s little information about this upcoming TV series, but we know that Nick Antosca (Channel Zero, The Act) will be the showrunner. There’s still no casting information but it’s believed to be a re-imagining of the 1962 film. Here’s the official logline: “A storm is coming for a pair of married attorneys when an infamous killer from their past gets released after years in prison. A tense, contemporary thriller that examinates America’s obsession with true crime in the 21st century”.
There’s no doubt that this new Cape Fear series will be a success, especially with two masterminds like Scorsese and Spielberg joining forces, but Hollywood needs to stop making remakes, especially classics.
There are so many movies considered “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”, so why would you consider remaking them? In the last few years, so many projects have been announced and many of them are remakes. Robert Downey Jr. is set to star in a Vertigo (considered by many as the Best Movie of All Time) remake. There’s also a To Catch a Thief remake in the works. These two movies are considered some of Alfred Hitchcock’s best, and yet, even after the disaster that Netflix’s Rebecca turned out to be, studios are still betting on them.
2024 will be another year for remakes. We’ve got Robert Eggers Nosferatu coming up, and a remake of the cult classic The Crow. Let’s not even mention Disney, who is planning to remake every single animated movie they’ve made in the past. There’s the long-awaited Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which has caused a lot of controversy, Moana, Lilo & Stitch, and the list could keep going.
We all know that all these films are amazing and I wish to have lived on the same time they were released, but Hollywood needs to wake up and stop ruining these amazing stories just for the sake of money. What’s next? A Casablanca remake? A Citizen Kane remake? A Breakfast At Tiffany’s remake? There’s a reason why people love old cinema, and it’s because those films belong to a certain moment in history. So let’s leave classics alone and start thinking outside the box and promoting original ideas, after all, the industry is full of so many talented people. Let’s prove that!
Photo Credit: Empire
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