The modern era of cinematic remakes

Is this age of only sequels and remakes ruining modern cinema?

Alexander Molony as Peter and Ever Gabo Anderson as Wendy in “Peter Pan and Wendy”; Halle Bailey as Ariel, top right, in “The Little Mermaid”; and Daniel Radcliffe, bottom right, in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” wand scene. Disney; Disney; Warner Bros.

In the modern age of cinema, it seems that studios and streaming have become all about how to make old stories new. Many opinionated figures and influencers have partaken in the idea that remakes are nothing but a decline of original ideas and it is changing cinematic entertainment for the worse.

There have been many debates about forced colorblind casting, changing the stories that people have grown up, and even how studios are ‘paying homage’ and ‘doing justice’ to films that aren’t even ten years old.

For example, Disney and Dwayne Johnson have announced their upcoming live-action “Moana,” even though the original movie has only been around for about seven years.

In addition to the dozens of live-action remakes Disney is currently in production of, other studios and streaming services have hopped onto the remake train. For instance, though “Harry Potter” already has a total of eight movies and seven books in existence, HBO has decided to take on the project of remaking it entirely, this time as a television series. 

The main debate here is why these studios, writers and production companies are deciding to recreate and regurgitate the same stories rather than adding to the story or making an entirely new one.

There are two simple answers to this: money and simplicity.

This doesn’t mean that the productions themselves are simplistic — in fact, it is probably far from it. It just means that these kinds of stories are the easiest and quickest to write. 

For years, writers and storytellers have used the same stories and changed the names, as well as taken inspiration. Writing these stories, even with adding an original twist, are simply easier to write than coming up with a completely original idea.

Remakes are a quick and easy way to make money. The idea is already thought through and it derives from something that people already love. So, it’s almost guaranteed that fans are going to watch the remake, even if it’s just to compare it to the original.

The main question is: Is this ruining modern cinema?

The general answer would be yes. It is a decline of creativity and it detours lovers of cinema, leaving them bored with nothing truly new and exciting to see.

On the other side of this debate, some might say that this era of remakes only puts current original films and ideas under a spotlight that shines brighter than it would have before. People will have more of an appreciation for those original ideas and stand-alone films because they will be different and new.

Opinions may differ, for there are some who thoroughly enjoy the sequels and remakes and look forward to more. Whatever the opinion may be, one thing should surely be considered…

Are all of these remakes really necessary when it is simply recreating what already exists?