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Are Film Reboots Necessary?

Updated on February 19, 2014

Is it really necessary for Hollywood to continue to churn out remakes or reboots of familiar franchises? Or is it just a case of that they have run stale and struggling to come up with original ideas? Maybe that is why when something original does come out, it is viewed as nothing short of the holy grail. News has recently come out that they have added to the cast of the the next reboot to the popular Terminator franchise. The film will be directed by Alan Taylor, who is famous for his work on HBO's Game of Thrones as well as Thor: The Dark World, while also casting Emilia Clark (Game of Thrones) as Sarah Connor, Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) as John Connor and Jai Courtney (Spartacus, Jack Reacher) as Kyle Reese. Hearing this news made me question, is it really necessary to try to reboot the franchise again? More importantly, we have already seen Robocop rebooted just recently which came out to mixed reviews and a poor performance at the box office, which begs the question. Are reboots really necessary? Other franchises are coming back, but is there even an audience that would welcome a modern day version of something deemed as a classic?



Everyone that has seen the original Highlander will agree that it was not a perfect film, but it was wildly entertaining and very campy. It does however have some very memorable lines that still are used today in the films we watch. In fact, I would not be surprised if someone created a drinking game for Highlander, where you drink every time someone says, "There can only be one!" I mean let's face it, if you were to play that game, there probably would only be one left standing albeit he or she would be rather wobbly. The original does however hold a special place in peoples hearts, but does that warrant a reboot? That remains to be seen as the film itself is still in early production and has just recently found it's director and hired the special effects supervisor from Snow White and the Huntsman. I think it is fair to say the film is still a bit away from seeing life on the big screen, but at some point in the near future I am almost certain we will see a reboot.

Would You Go to See a Remake of Highlander?

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The Crow

Talks of a reboot to this cult classic had started gaining traction ever since 2011 when Bradley Cooper was attached to star as Eric Draven and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was to direct. However, due to legal battles it went into development hell and both left the project. However, it did not lose traction still. After that, Ryan Gosling and Mark Wahlberg were then attached to star but were only false rumors. James O'Barr then even came out to talk about the possibility of a remake, who most likely shares the same sentiment as a lot of his fans where he said, "I don't have great expectations. I think the reality is, no matter who you get to star in it, or if you get Ridley Scott to direct it and spend 200 million dollars, you're still not gonna top what Brandon Lee and Alex Proyas did in that first ten million dollar movie." However, on May 4 of last year it was announced that Luke Evans was attached to star as Eric Draven and James O'Barr would be the creative consultant on the film. A director is still unknown as of now, but Norman Reedus of the Walking Dead is reportedly up for a role in the film as well. It is hard to tell if this film would do well in box offices today as it is incredibly dark, but that being said, dark films have done well lately.

Would you see The Crow?

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Stephen King's It

Of course Hollywood would want to re-create the one thing that haunted my dreams as a child. Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King's It was masterfully portrayed by Tim Curry, but also terrified the likes of many children growing up at that time. Lines from that movie still send chills down my spine in fact and their is certain imagery from it that I most likely will never get out of my head. To me, Stephen King's It was and still may just be one of the best horror films to date. That being said, of course it is being remade then. Ultimately, people that remember the original or are fans of the source content will most likely cringe at the sound of this news but from a business standpoint it makes sense. Horror movies make money and are very easy to market. Release a horror movie around October when people want to be scared and it will make money. The reboot already has some talent behind it as they hired Cary Fukunaga (True Detective) to direct while Chase Palmer will write the script.

Would you see It?

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Again this all brings me back to my original question, which I am still mixed on. On one hand, I will always have a special place in my heart for the originals and it does get a bit annoying and tiresome to see Hollywood constantly re-hashing the same stories over and over again putting a precedent on making the material more darker or edgier with better special effects. From the business standpoint, it is good business on their part as they have known commodities with a pre-paid audience that will surely still see the film and then if they get a noticeable star in the film, that will likely pave the way for the younger people to go and see the film and then the film would be profitable. Above all else, money talks when it comes to movies. It is a sad truth. A film could be great but it could come out at a poor time or be poorly marketed thus it does not get a good return in the box office which would deem that film as a failure. It is purely the nature of the beast. Making reboots to famous franchises are a safer bet for film studios then original ideas in most cases and that is ultimately what it comes down to, whether that is a good thing or bad thing is subjective. On one side, I do not mind film reboots but when a film like Terminator has now gotten the reboot treatment twice, then that is one time too many in to quick of a time period. The other side, it will still draw an audience and I will still most likely see it as will a lot of other people. However, I think we would all agree that every reboot does not need to be darker and edgier with more CGI as the originals were often so famous due to the fact that they were not always meant to be taken so seriously. Add in a little bit of heart to a film and it helps make the film relatable on a human level as opposed to a big CGI-fest that completely detaches the viewer from what they are seeing on screen.

Where do you stand with Reboots?

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    • Nickalooch profile image

      Nickalooch 4 years ago from Columbia, MD

      I'd agree on both accounts. As for The Departed, i think that got by based off of Martin Scorcese's reputation and the performances given by the actors. It isn't fair, considering it isn't an original piece of work, but sadly it is what it is. I had to watch both The Departed and Infernal Affairs in a film class of mine in College and every single person in the class agreed that Infernal Affairs was better. Hell, I love The Departed and for me to say that having seen The Departed already says a lot.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 4 years ago

      Your right that you don't see many of them winning at award shows like the oscars, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen though. Again, look at Martin Scorsese's "the Departed." That was a remake of "infernal affairs", and it won him his only Academy Award of his career. The Charleton Heston's iconic classic, "the ten commandments" was a remake of the 1923 version that Cecile de Mille made.

      Heaven Can Wait was nominated for "Best Picture", and that was a remake of "Here Comes Mr. Jordan." "True Grit's" remake got a lot of love at the oscars as well, as imdb lists that it was up for 10 oscar nominations. that's very impressive for any movie (remake or not).

      Don't get me wrong, I'm not here to advocate that Hollywood make more remakes and/or reboots, nor am i here to try to persuade you into liking the idea. All that I'm saying is just because a film is a reboot/remake it doesn't necessarily mean that hollywood is running out of ideas, nor does it mean that a reboot/remake can't potentially be as great or possibly even better than the original. Heck, even a reboot/remake can be creative as well just like an original film can. All I'm saying here is that we shouldn't dismiss a movie just because it's a remake/reboot.

      That's all im getting at.

    • rjbatty profile image

      rjbatty 4 years ago from Irvine

      The reboots (good or bad) make the big bucks for the studios, but you don't see many of them getting credited with Academy Award nominations. They may do well in venues like The Peoples Choice Awards, but otherwise... The industry awards more arty films, many of which are indeed worth seeing. It's a double standard. So, yeah, I'd have to agree that blockbuster-type films and their reboots get created because the general public wants to see them -- in numbers that make the arty films pale by comparison (in most cases). The blockbuster films, remakes and reboots get the big audience draw but are all but ignored when it comes to receiving awards -- other than in the genre of special effects or technical achievement. It's a double standard. Just another observation. I've come to accept the double standard, and don't really care. As just another audience member, all I care about is that a film is good for its genre. I usually go into a reboot with a healthy amount of skepticism. Sometimes I'm pleased, but not usually.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 4 years ago

      lol. i forgot to add this in my last comment. sorry. I was also going to say that another way we can look at reboots and remakes is that even if the remake/reboot sucks (or fails to live up to the original), it doesn't take anything away from the original at all

      Take the original "Psycho" for example. Many critics and audiences will argue saying that it's one of the best films of all time, yet that was remade recently with Matthew Vaughn. To be honest, I never seen the original or the remake, but from what I have heard though, the remake bombed at the box office, and it got hammered by critics. Was the criticism deserved? Probably. I don't know, as i haven't seen both movies. However, you'll notice that just because the remake allegedly sucked, the original never disappeared from us. People still talk about the original as if it's one of the best movies ever made. Therefore, even if a reboot/remake suck, you'll always have the original. the original will NOT disappear if a remake/reboot exists of it, as you'll always have it to go back to. Just like the nolan batman trilogy for example. I personally find the nolan batman trilogy to be arguably the best live action adaptation of batman, but I can understand why some people would prefer the tim burton version though, and that's fine. Just because the nolan version exists, you'll always have the original burton one to go back to. that's the key thing people need to remember about remakes and reboots that just because they're rebooting something you love, it doesn't mean that your dvd/blue ray of your favorite film is going to be erased from the face of the earth.

      It also doesn't mean that if the reboot/remake sucks that it'll automatically cast a bad light on the original. Again, look at "Psycho" for proof that a lousy remake will never affect how fondly loved the original is. However, if the reboot/remake is a hit, then that might be a good thing because that'll draw in new fans to the story, and these new fans might go out of their way to check out the original, so isn't that a good thing?

      Hell, a lot of trekkies agree with rjbatty in that the new star trek rebooted series is a poor representation of the original series. However, whether you like the new abrams star trek films or not, the reality is that it's success is actually a good thing for all trekkie fans of the original series. Why you may ask? because star trek was a dying franchise before abrams even touched it. that's jut a fact. the past two star trek films prior to the reboot were flops, and enterprise was a ratings fiasco on upn, so star trek would've died in a few years had it not been for abrams. granted, im not going to sit here and say that i agreed with everything that abrams did in the star trek films, but he did draw in more interests with his rebooted series. Plus, with the new fans coming on board to keep star trek alive in the mainstream again, they're going out of their way to check out the older series as well; which should be a good thing for all fans involved whether you cared for abrams bold new revision of star trek or not.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 4 years ago

      I don't disagree with you nick, as i even said in my last comment in most cases, reboots and remakes are made with the main intent to make a quick buck on a marketably known product. In fact, I agree with you and rjbatty that i'd rather see more original content on the big screen. I never said I was an advocate for more remakes and reboots.

      However, what i don't get is the knee jerk reaction that whenever a reboot or remake is even announced, people are always b****ing by saying, "Oh no! Hollywood is running out of ideas! the fact that they're remaking x-movie is proof of that!" Or they'll say something like, "Movies are becoming a water down commercialized piece of garbage instead of being the alternate art form they 're supposed to be!"

      Not saying you guys are like that, but I'm just speaking in generalities when it comes to most people it seems.

      First of all, I do agree with you both that most remakes and reboots aren't that good. And in most cases, studios do make them for the sake of making money off a known commodity, as you have alluded to. However, that's not to say that all reboots are bad though. Like i said before, some of the best movies of all time were remakes. Take the 1939 wizard of oz for instance. I know a lot of people like to think that was the original wizard of oz, but in reality, that was actually a remake believe it or not.

      Because back in in the early 1900's there was a short silent film of the wizard of oz that was technically the REAL ORIGINAL of the story on the big screen, and there was even another remake of that one in the 1920's i think, and it was a silent film as well.

      So technically speaking, the 1939 version of the wizard of oz that you and i probably grew up with was actually a remake, yet people regard that film as one of the greatest movies of all time. Plus, what about the departed? that was a remake of a foreign film called "Infernal affairs", and clint eastwood's classic western, "A fistful of dollars", was actually a remake of the classic foreign film, "Yojimbo." However if you were to ask most western fans about "a fistful of dollars", then many of them would praise it as being one of eastwood's best. It's the same thing with "the departed", as that film got a lot of love at the oscars. Yet, you still have people crying foul saying, "Oh my god! hollywood is running out of ideas. Remakes are horrible! Ahh!!" Again, not all remakes and reboots are horrible, as i just named 3 examples to prove otherwise. I know your not like that, but it seems like most people are.

      Plus, I don't think it's fair to say that it's entirely the studios fault why we keep seeing so many reboots and remakes on the big screen though, as it's like what danny devito said in "twins", "Money talks, and bulls**t walks." That's kind of the reality when it comes to movies. If audiences really want more original content, then prove it by seeing movies that aren't sequels, reboots, remakes or prequels then.

      People want movies to be more of an art form instead of being commercialized garbage? then prove it by seeing movies like "Tree of Life", "The Master", "Life of Pi" and etc in theaters instead of pieces of crap like "Transformers 3." The reality is most artsy style films, and movies that have original content, don't make as much money as most sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots do; hence why you don't see that much of an emphasis on them from hollywood.

      Hell, Pacific rim was an original movie. Granted, wb did a piss poor job marketing it, but it was still a good movie. Nobody went out to see that movie, but people sure do flock to see michael bay's god awful films no matter how badly written the movies are (i.e. transformers 2).

      Anyway, the point I'm trying to make here is this. People can whine all they want about studios making too many reboots and remakes, and there is some truth to that, but you want to know who they should also blame for that? Themselves. Why? Because in reality, as long the reboot or remake make money at the box office over original films like "Philomena" and etc, then the reality is you're always going to see a bigger emphasis by hollywood to pump out sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots because they want to see a return on their investment. If people are that dead certain about seeing more original content, then perhaps they should consider the possibility of seeing an original movie like say "the Lego movie" for example over something like "robocop." Or an even better example instead of spending your money on seeing rio 2, then maybe you should try spending it on some indie film that has original content like "Philomena" if you want to see more original content on the big screen.

      just food for thought.

    • rjbatty profile image

      rjbatty 4 years ago from Irvine

      Just a couple of comments.

      I agree with Stevennix that "The Next Generation" in most cases topped the original series -- both as a TV series and in the films. I think the presence of Patrick Stewart added an incredible degree of gravitas to "The Next Generation," adding a sense of realism and humanism that was lacking in the original series .

      I still occasionally enjoy watching an episode or two from the first series. What I especially liked about the first series is that many of the episodes did NOT focus too much on individual characters but stuck with an action-driven plot that often made one's imagination soar.

      The follow-on Star Trek movies are poor. (What is Spock doing having a love affair when he only procreates maybe once in his life?) I liked "Star Trek" a great deal even though certain episodes were lacking. I couldn't even stand to watch the last iteration. I do not think the new Star Trek movies are as good as the older material. The effects are great, but the plots are weak, and the acting is only so-so. Nothing to match "The Next Generation."

      Some re-makes demand to be made (or so it seems). I'm thinking of "Superman Returns," which I realize disappointed many fans. I thought the task at hand (at the time) was to make a bridge between the Christopher Reeve films and a modern continuation -- and, in this respect, I think it did a very good job. My friends and I walked out of the theater after viewing the film and did not feel cheated. I wanted to see where things would go next -- with Lois and her son especially. I thought Kevin Spacey was a wildly more menacing character than Gene Hackman. But, the fan base was expecting something that dropped the older way of seeing Superman, and thus we eventually got "The Man of Steel," which was a huge departure.

      The point here is that a re-make can be good, solid, but if it isn't what the fans are expecting, then we aren't going to see the movie reach blockbuster status. "The Man of Steel" got up there is terms of fan approval and box office sales. I had a lot of qualms before seeing it while eventually admitting it was a daring plunge in a new direction -- something that seems to have been dictated by the success of the Nolan Batman trilogy.

      I don't necessarily agree that because something is darker and more super-realistic that it automatically deserves great accolades. For example, I'm not really sure that the Nolan take on Batman was more entertaining to me than the first Tim Burton Batman. I remember sitting in the audience and being wowed by the Danny Elfman score as we traveled through a maze-like tunnel of the Batman logo. I didn't get that feeling from Nolan's work or the edgy orchestration by Hans Zimmer. If it weren't for the uncanny performance by Heath Ledger, I'm not sure the darker-is-better motif would have taken root.

      As far as the X-Men goes, I'd have to say I'm pretty well lost. The movies haven't followed a linear track and there have been sizable off-shoots for Wolverine. These are not re-boots, but when a movie presents a prequel, well, it might as well have been.

      I have to conclude that I haven't seen any reason for a Spider-Man reboot. I thought the Tobey Maguire series was endearing, and the new films, while well done, are not really adding much to the franchise.

    • Nickalooch profile image

      Nickalooch 4 years ago from Columbia, MD

      I don't think all remakes are bad, but I agree with Rjbatty in the sense that studios too often resort to reboots for a quick cash grab. They think that hey we can make it slightly darker and edgier with better effects and make a quick buck. I'm not saying all remakes are back or reboots, hell I loved Man of Steel. I like the new Star Trek trilogy too. Even the rebooted Evil Dead I enjoyed but more often than not reboots/remakes fail. I completely agree about your statement on nostalgia goggles as it is difficult to distance yourself from loving the original above all else, but most reboots I have seen I have not enjoyed. Above all else I feel like it is almost becoming a crutch in Hollywood when they run out of ideas to pump out a known commodity. But thanks again for stopping by for the comment buddy. Hope all is well with you.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 4 years ago

      To answer question Nickalooch, I'm just going to quote what John Campea said on amc movie talk. No movie is absolutely necessary to make. Do we need a sequel to any movie? Not exactly. Just like we don't need any reboots or remakes per say either.

      And to be honest, I think the main reason why most people don't like remakes and reboots in general (even if it turns out to be good) is because we have a tendency to look at things through what I like to call "Nostalgia goggles", where we hold the original film up to so high of a standard that it's almost impossible for any remake or reboot to come even close to beating it in our own eyes; even if the remake/reboot turns out to be superior to the original when looking at it objectively.

      Take the original star trek tv series for example. I don't know if your a fan of star trek or not, but I grew up watching star trek the next generation as a kid. I also loved Star trek deep space nine, and followed a few episodes of enterprise and voyager until I found out both those latter two series sucked. Anyways, I haven't seen all the episodes of the original series, but i have seen a fairly good amount of them.

      Although most star trek fans will tell you that the original series is the best, and how the next generation can never come close, but lets look at things objectively here for a moment. Lets take off the "Nostalgia Goggles" to compare Star Trek the original tv series to "Star Trek the Next Generation."

      Granted, I'll admit that the original star trek series had most of franchise's iconic characters, and it had a very unique "western" theme in space vibe that made the series original in a lot of ways. However, that doesn't excuse the fact that the show still featured a lot of over the top cheesy acting from Shatner. Not to mention the special effects are severely dated by today's standards.

      Whereas Star Trek the Next Generation, it benefits because technology advanced further by that point; hence allowing the writers to delve deeper into the star trek mythology that the original series couldn't do. Not only were the special effects better, but they could still arguably hold up to this day; unlike the original series' special effects.

      And unlike the original that only focused on Spock, Kirk and Bones (while making everyone else support characters), the next generation was able to expand on all their characters; hence offering more story possibilities than what the original series was confined to. When you stop and think about it, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" was in every fathomable way superior to the old show. The acting was better. The stories were better, and even the effects were better. Yet die hard trekkies will argue to the death that the original is better; with logic and reasoning be damned. It's like what mike myers said in "Wayan's World", "In every way it's superior, yet it'll never be fondly as remembered as the original."

      Granted, Rjbatty has a point in the sense that most remakes and reboots do often suck because most of them are made for quick cash grabs by studios to cash in on a known commodity rather than caring about the quality of said product. But, I don't think it's fair to say that all reboots and remakes are bad.

      I personally don't think you can make a remake or reboot out of most films unless that story can somehow benefit from a modern retelling of it. Take Superman for example. I loved the original superman movie with Christopher Reeves, as I even said in my "Man of Steel" review that film will always hold a special place in my heart, but we have to be honest with ourselves for a minute. The special effects in that movie are dated by today's standards. That's just a fact, so a character like superman would benefit from a modern retelling of his story because of the advancement of technology.

      Or if you have a way to retell the same story in a different way like the remake of True Grit did by focusing more on the girl's quest for revenge aspect, while the original had more of the classic John Wayne western hollywood feel to it, then that might be acceptable as well. However, it just depends on how it's handled.

      In most cases, remakes and reboots are bad because majority of the time the studio making them are only making them for the sake of capitalizing on a product's name. whereas when the product was created the first time, there was a lot effort and care put into it.

      However, I don't think it's fair for people to say that all remakes are bad though because some of the best films of all time in the usa were remakes.

    • rjbatty profile image

      rjbatty 4 years ago from Irvine

      Most reboots do not work because the original is so firmly rooted to a time, a place and a feeling from the past to which the audience has become attached. In other cases the reboot is just lousy stuff (did you see Dredd). inherently, there is nothing wrong with the idea of a reboot. How many films and playhouses have given their interpretation of anything written by Shakespeare? We accept this as "interpretation." However, producers usually try to make a newer/better versions of pictures like "The Poseidon Adventure" or "War of the Worlds." If the producers want to spin the dice on risky projects like this, well, that's fine. If they want to put their own spin on something that inspired them, they're certainly entitled to do so -- if they can get the studio(s) to support what will almost certainly be a silly/disappointing "re-make" of an earlier film release. There is a difference between "interpretation" and "remake." While dozens of summer playhouses may put on their interpretation of "Hamlet," the studios only get one shot at creating a motion picture that causes an audience to nearly forget about a first release. Despite the costs involved, film producers have found no material sacrosanct. Look up how many versions there have been of "War and Peace" (foreign and domestic) or "Anna Karenina." They all seem to think they can do it better. At least they are picking material that has meat on the bone. Re-doing a light-weight flick like "Robo-Cop," for an expensive re-do, is really scraping the bottom.