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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In film, a remake is a newer version of a previously released film or a newer version of the source (play, novel, story, etc.) of a previously made film.



The term "remake" is generally used in reference to a movie which uses an earlier movie as the main source material, rather than in reference to a second, later movie based on the same source. For example, 2001's Ocean's Eleven is a remake of the 1960 film, while 1989's Batman is a re-interpretation of the comic book source material which also inspired 1966's Batman. Furthermore, the 2005 film Batman Begins would not be considered a remake, as it is still an adaptation of the comic book series. The term "requel" can also be used to described a remake of an earlier movie.

With some exceptions, remakes make significant character, plot, and theme changes. For example, the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair is centered on a bank robbery, while its 1999 remake involves the theft of a valuable piece of artwork. Similarly, when the 1969 film The Italian Job was remade in 2003, few aspects were carried over. Another notable example is the 1932 film Scarface which was remade in 1983 starring Al Pacino; whereas the 1932 is centered around bootleg alcohol, the 1983 version is based around cocaine. Sometimes a remake is made by the same director, for example Yasujiro Ozu's black and white A Story of Floating Weeds was remade into the color Floating Weeds. Alfred Hitchcock's 1934 black and white The Man Who Knew Too Much was remade in color in 1956.

Not all remakes use the same title as the previously released version; 1983's Never Say Never Again, for instance, is a remake of the 1965 film Thunderball; the 1966 film Walk Don't Run is a remake of the World War II comedy The More the Merrier. This is particularly true for films that are remade from films produced in another language, such as: Point of No Return (from the French Nikita), Vanilla Sky (from the Spanish Abre los ojos), and A Fistful of Dollars (from the Japanese Yojimbo), The Departed (from Hong Kongese Infernal Affairs).

In the recent history of cinema, remakes have generally been considered inferior to earlier versions by film critics and cinema-goers alike, e.g., The Wicker Man, Psycho,The Fog. See the list of film remakes for exceptions to the generalization.

Another noteworthy (and increasingly common) development is the use of a successful (usually older) television series to be remade as a feature film. Like other film remakes, these often fare badly at the box-office and/or are considered a poor reflection on the source material (e.g. The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched, My Favorite Martian, Dudley Do-Right); however, some have gone on to become successful film franchises (e.g. Scooby-Doo, The Addams Family, Mission: Impossible).

Video Games

See also Video game remake.

There are video game remakes as well. Some are more complete remakes where much of the game was changed such as Metroid: Zero Mission being a remake of the original Metroid. Some of them are simply the original game with some added content, such as the Xbox 360 and Wii versions of Bully. There are even some that are a mixture of the two, where there is a good mix of old and new content, such as the Final Fantasy remakes for the DS and Super Mario 64 DS

Not a remake

Some notable examples of films based on common material, but not considered remakes of each other:


Remakes occur less often on television than in film, but have happened from time to time. Examples include Battlestar Galactica (1978, 2003), He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983, 2002), and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987, 2003).

One area where television remakes are particularly common is trans-Atlantic ports, where US shows are remade for the UK (see List of U.S. television series remade for the British market) or more frequently, UK shows are remade for a US market (see List of British television series remade for the U.S. market). An interesting example is Three's Company, a US remake of the British Man About The House: not only was the original show re-created (with very few character or situation changes made, at least initially), but both series had spin-offs based on the Ropers (in the UK, George And Mildred, in the US, The Ropers), and both series were eventually re-tooled into series based on the male lead (in the UK, Robin's Nest, in the US, Three's A Crowd).

While television remakes of theatrical films have occurred (e.g. The Odd Couple, F/X: The Series), far more common are TV series that are (more or less) direct spin-offs of successful films (e.g. Highlander: The Series,The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Stargate SG-1, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles). Template:See


Recently, the term reimagining has become popular to describe remakes that do not closely follow the original. The term is used by creators in the marketing of films and television shows to inform audiences that the new product is not the same as the old. Reimaginings often contain tongue in cheek references to the original with characters and concepts of the same name, but significantly changed. In Tin Man, a reimagining of The Wizard of Oz, the main character is named DG (a reference to Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz), and the land she enters is called the Outer Zone (O.Z.). Reimagining a franchise often leads to controversy within established fan communities as to which is more legitimate or more popular. Examples of remakes that are most associated with the reimagining term are Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes, Nora Ephron's Bewitched, Marcus Nispel's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th, Rob Zombie's Halloween, Ronald D. Moore's Battlestar Galactica, David Eick's Bionic Woman, Nelson McCormick's Prom Night, and Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead. This has bled over to video game and comic mediums with games like Bomberman Act: Zero, a more hardcore edge to Bomberman that wasn't well received. Bionic Commando Rearmed, which changes some elements of the game and story to fit into an upcoming sequel but pays homage to the original. In comics with the new Sgt. Rock, with the Rock as a member of the 442nd and the unknown "Easy Company" and Unknown Soldier, which takes place in 2002 Uganda, both which change the setting or the character to be more realistic and modern.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Remake" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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