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Movie remakes bring to light old, successful ideas

As often as original movie ideas are created, production companies continue to revamp old ideas.

Movie remakes come to the big screen as often as new ideas.

Dan Shoemaker, instructor in the popular culture department, said when it comes to figuring out why production companies remake movies or television shows it’s because of “pre-sold properties” or ideas that already have “an existing audience.”

“The cost of making movies has gone up steadily since the 1970s,” Shoemaker said. “The investors get nervous and they want … the allusion of a guarantee that they’re going to get their investment back.”

Becca Cragin, associate professor in the popular culture department said a big reason for remakes is because production companies feel safe knowing the success of the original film, which will provide positive feedback.

“The main reason for remakes is that studios can recycle previously successful material rather than taking a risk on new, unproven material,” Cragin said.

Some original movies have made a name for themselves, drawing people to see the remakes.

Shoemaker said people will go see remakes because of how much of an avid fan they were of the original film.

“If I’m a film producer, it’s easier for me to get people into see Godzilla 2014 than it is for me to get people to come see a movie called Giant Lizard Attack [because] there’s already Godzilla fans.” Shoemaker said.

This affects a nostalgic response for those who are already fans to the film or television series being remade.

Those who saw the original can be more curious about the remake than those who did not, Shoemaker said, but it is unlikely that the remake would encourage new viewers to see the original.

Junior Connie Santangelo said even after the movies have left theaters, production companies have the opportunity to capitalize on remakes.

“It’s to make money,” Santangelo said. “Not only do they pull in new viewers, they encourage old viewers to see how good the new movie is, which means buying tickets or buying DVDs.”

Remaking a movie or a television series brings change to the screen in many different ways that may be used to gain the needs of a new audience.

“People that have grown up in the past 20 years … [are] used to their screen image changing … [about] every five seconds,” Shoemaker said. “From that perspective it might be difficult for somebody who’s used to that rapid visual pace to go back and really enjoy something that has a slightly more leisurely pace.”

Technology has changed giving movies and television shows an advantage over the originals like the “Star Trek” franchise, Cragin said.

“Because remakes are often technologically superior … they can make the originals seem poky, outdated and less desirable by comparison,” Cragin said. “When ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ came out, it seemed to be a big advance … [but] with the recent ‘Star Trek’ reboots, The Next Generation looks inferior.”

There may be better ways to use screen time.

“We are now at a point in our film technology that we can put anything on the screen we can imagine and if that’s the case then it’s kind of a pity that what we are doing is just rehashing what we’ve seen before,” Shoemaker said.

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