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A remake is a film or television series that is based on an earlier work and tells the same, or a very similar, story. A reimagining however, is a remake that is not directly identical to the original.
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 Ocean's 11, while 1989's Batman is a re-interpretation of the comic book source material which also inspired 1966's Batman. In 1998, Gus Van Sant produced an almost shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho.
With the exception of shot-for-shot remakes, most remakes make significant character, plot, genre 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. The 1999 remake of The Mummy was viewed primarily as "a reimagining" in a different genre (adventure). Similarly, when the 1969 film The Italian Job was remade in 2003, few aspects were carried over. Another example is the 1932 film Scarface which was remade in 1983 starring Al Pacino; whereas the setting of 1932 version is the illegal alcohol trade, the characters in the 1983 version are involved in cocaine smuggling.
Sometimes a remake is made by the same director. For example, Yasujirō Ozu's black-and-white A Story of Floating Weeds was remade into the color Floating Weeds. Alfred Hitchcock remade his 1934 black-and-white The Man Who Knew Too Much in color in 1956. Tick Tock Tuckered, released in 1944, was a color remake of Porky's Badtime Story, released in 1937 with Daffy Duck in Gabby Goat's role. Cecil B. DeMille managed the same thing with his 1956 remake of his silent 1923 film The Ten Commandments. In 2008, Michael Haneke made Funny Games U.S., his English-language remake of his original Funny Games (this is also an example of a shot-for-shot remake), while Martin Campbell, director of the miniseries Edge of Darkness, directed the 2010 film adaptation.
Not all remakes use the same title as the previously released version; the 1966 film Walk, Don't Run, for example, 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), The Magnificent Seven (from the Japanese Seven Samurai), A Fistful of Dollars (from the Japanese Yojimbo), The Departed (from Hong Kong's Infernal Affairs), Secret in Their Eyes (from the Argentine El secreto de sus ojos) and Let Me In (from the Swedish film Let the Right One In or Låt den rätte komma in).
Remakes occur less often on television than in film, but have happened from time to time, especially since the early-21st century. Examples include Battlestar Galactica (1978, 2003), He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983, 2002), Knight Rider (1982, 2008), La Femme Nikita (1997, 2010), Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210, V (1983, 2009), Hawaii Five-O (1968, 2010), and Charlie's Angels (1976, 2011).
One area where television remakes are particularly common is trans-Atlantic ports, where US shows are remade for the UK (see List of British television series based on American television series) or more frequently, UK shows are remade for a US market (see List of American television series based on British television series). A notable 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 not, strictly speaking, remakes, television adaptations of theatrical films have occurred (e.g. La Femme Nikita, The Odd Couple, M*A*S*H, F/X: The Series). There also have been TV series that are (more or less) direct spin-offs of successful films (e.g. Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003), Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), Highlander: The Series, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Stargate SG-1, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles).
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 or Silent Hill: Shattered Memories being a whole re-interpretation of the original Silent Hill. Some of them are simply the original game with some added content, such as the Xbox 360 and Wii versions of Bully. Others are essentially the same game, perhaps with some added content, simply ported to newer video game consoles or operating systems. 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 Nintendo DS and Super Mario 64 DS. OpenTTD is a fan-made remake of Transport Tycoon Deluxe. Video games can be remade using better technology to enhance graphics such as Nintendo's translation of Nintendo 64 games to the 3D via Nintendo 3DS.
Sometimes it is just graphics, sounds and performance improvements.
Reimagine or renovate
In the 2000s reimagine (or re-imagine) and, to a lesser extent, renovate became popular in reference to remakes which do not closely follow the original. The terms are 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 one. Reimaginings and renovations often contain tongue in cheek references to the original, with characters of the same name and similar concepts, while remaining significantly different from the original. In Tin Man, a reimagining of The Wizard of Oz, for example, 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.).
The imagining of a franchise often leads to controversy within established fan communities as to which is more legitimate or more popular. Remakes that have become most associated[by whom?] with the reimagine or renovate terms include:
- Stephen Sommers' The Mummy
- 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
- Samuel Bayer's A Nightmare on Elm Street
- Ronald D. Moore's Battlestar Galactica
- David Eick's Bionic Woman
- Nelson McCormick's Prom Night
- Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead
- Kenneth Johnson's V
The 1999 action-adventure remake of The Mummy is possibly the film that inspired the terminology due to it's significant box office success, yet vastly different nature compared to the original 1932 Boris Karloff Horror film. The film is considered a remake mainly because it was made by the same studio, has some very minor plot similarities and the titular villian had the same name.
Tim Burton has denied that his 2010 film Alice in Wonderland is a renovation of Lewis Carroll's classic novel; however, the plot line of the film bears very little resemblance to the original or derivatives of it, such as the classic 1951 animated film from Walt Disney. Interestingly, several characters from Disney films serve as the core characters in the television series Once Upon a Time, in which the characters' names that were used in the films are retained but are given a previous life backstory to explain their origin.
The reimagining or renovation practice has also occurred within other media, such as video games and comic books. One example in gaming is Bomberman Act: Zero, a more hardcore version of Bomberman, which was not well received. Another is Bionic Commando Rearmed, which changes some elements of the game and story to fit into a sequel, while paying homage to the original. In comics, the new Sgt. Rock, with the Rock character as a member of the U.S. 442nd Infantry regiment, and the unknown "Easy Company", as well as Unknown Soldier, which takes place in Uganda in 2002, both change the character's background or setting. The term reimagine has also been applied to music releases, such as Brian Wilson Reimagines Gerswhin (Disney, 2010) and Cirque du Soleil's "Viva Elvis: The Album" (Sony Legacy, 2010).
A relatively recent phenomenon in television production, re-versioning (also known as reversioning or revisioning) is the process of re-releasing an existing production or an entire series, updated in some form, as a "new" show. It is an alternative to a straight rerun of a series. This process should not to be confused with a retool, revival, reboot, remake, adaptation or spin-off of an existing production or an entire series as those actually are new.
Completed television shows that have already aired are re-edited or supplied with new voice-overs, graphics or music, and then aired, usually with a new title, often for a new audience. Sometimes the changes are relatively minor, as in the case of Prehistoric Planet, which was made from the original series Walking with Dinosaurs. Sometimes, though not always, this process may also include remastering. This can lead to the misconception that the two processes are one and the same, especially if the "remaster" part is emphasized in the "new" show, but they are not. One such example of this would be the "Remastered Edition" of the original Star Trek. Sometimes this process may also result in an abridgement, like in the case of Dragon Ball Z Kai which was made from Dragon Ball Z.
Other recent television series examples include the Transformers: Generation 2 animated series, which was made from the Transformers: Generation 1 animated series, NFL Network's NFL's Greatest Games series, American Idol Rewind, That's Funny! (a re-versioning of America's Funniest People), or the updated 2010 version of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers which introduced a new logo, alternative extra special effects and comic-book referenced graphics to the original 1993–1995 version of the show. The teen game show Peer Pressure was reversioned twice, with the second re-version renaming the show Pressure 2 to coincide with a new companion show, Pressure 1.
A re-versioned film is also possible. An example of a re-versioned film is Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily?, in which the director wrote new English dialogue for the Japanese film International Secret Police: Key of Keys for comic effect. A director's cut, extended cut or special edition of an existing film is generally not considered "new" as it is with a television production. However, these updated versions of films can be similar to a re-versioning depending on the extent of what is done. The updated versions of Superman II and the Star Wars Trilogy would be examples of films similar to a re-versioning.
- Reboot (fiction)
- List of film remakes
- List of British television series based on American television series
- List of English-language films with previous foreign-language film versions
- Cover versions of songs
- Video game remake
- Adam, Keplerjuly (July 22, 2015). "In Hollywood, It's a Reboot by Any Other Name". The New York Times. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
- Fleming, Mike (February 9, 2011), "‘Glee’s Ryan Murphy Courted To Direct ‘Annie’ With Willow Smith". Deadline Hollywood.