WEIRDLAND: Hollywood passion for remakes

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hollywood passion for remakes

"In Hollywood, the script goes something like this: a visionary filmmaker in Sweden, France, Japan or Korea creates an original, thought-provoking movie that chills and delights audiences. The film travels the world to festivals, collects awards, is beloved by critics and, along the way, hits the radar of Hollywood studio executives.

Before you can say "remake", a studio buys the rights to make an English-language version.

Hollywood's thirst for remaking foreign gems appears to be growing.
In the early 2000s, Hollywood was infatuated with Asian horror films, with Japan's Ringu snapped up by Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks studio, rebranded as The Ring and remade with Naomi Watts as a journalist terrorised by a cursed videotape.
Sequels followed and by the time Jennifer Connelly starred in 2005's Dark Water, a remake of another Japanese horror film, audiences were tired of the Asian reboots and Hollywood searched other parts of the globe to make a buck.

The hot territory at the moment is Scandinavia but Hollywood is having mixed success.
Tobey Maguire, his wife Jennifer Meyer and their kids Ruby and Otis out for breakfast at the Brentwood Country Mart in Brentwood, CA.
Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal in "Brothers" (2009)

Last year, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire and Natalie Portman starred in Brothers, a sound remake of the 2004 Danish drama-war thriller Brodre and a film that had been billed as an Oscar chance but which failed to pick up awards traction and failed at the box office.

Los Angeles Times Oscar expert Tom O'Neil says Hollywood studios are addicted to remakes because they are considered a safer bet than trying an untested story.

"Hollywood right now wants some proven success before they'll make a movie," O'Neil said.

Warner Bros snatched Hollywood's holy grail, the Oscar for best picture, in 2007 with the Martin Scorsese-directed Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon crime thriller The Departed, based on the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. Infernal Affairs made $US8 million at the global box office, whereas The Departed took in $US290 million.

While Hollywood manages to get it right every now and then, the remake trend will continue.

Martin Scorsese with Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio filming "The Departed" (2006)

"The Departed is a good example of where Hollywood got it right but it was in the hands of a master filmmaker like Scorsese, with a brilliant cast," O'Neil says.

"My advice to audiences is go see the proven hit to appreciate it. Chances are, with the remake, Hollywood is just serving up re-fried beans that aren't very tasty." Source:

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