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Why are remakes so controversial?

Stephany Ortiz

For the past few years, there has been a large increase in remakes of original movies and stories. We have live-action Disney Princess movies, adaptations of book series, reboots of old remakes that flopped, live-action remakes of really famous series, and more. Why is that? Why are production companies profiting off of the same work over and over again?

Stephanie Tavares, a photographer at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, said, “I would think that production companies are making movies so that they can retell the story in a more modern way. Basically updating it to fit the current audiences instead of those who would have watched it 20 plus years ago.” 

Many argue that it gives movies a chance to redeem their bad qualities or remake it into a way that fits societal standards today. There has been a huge debate over the representation factor of most remakes. One of the most controversial debates arose because of Disney’s decision to cast Halle Bailey in the role of Ariel. 

“The actors make it a bigger thing than it needs to be. For example, the Rachel Zegler controversy over her comments about the Snow White remake generates a lot of media coverage and social media backlash,” said senior Amelia Stoll.

The attention around remakes of movies is generally made by the media rather than views and opinions. The media blows news about the shows and movies out of proportion to give the production more press. It’s the media attention around the productions that causes more viewers to come onto the scene. Even if you didn’t like the movie that was being remade, the attention around it makes you curious. 

“Social media has a huge influence over what audiences see nowadays, and that includes bringing attention to movies. An example of this is the relationship between Timothee Chamalet and Kylie Jenner. The news of this first came up through social media, and because of that attention, Chalamet’s new film, which is also a remake, Wonka, received a lot more interest,” said Tavares.

It has come to the point where it seems that production companies cannot make their own ideas for entertainment. But, some can argue that this is a way to bring in a new generation of children who love the stories just as much as adults did when they were kids. 

“Disney is a household name. Audiences get excited when they announce a film. However, not all of Disney’s remakes are winners. What makes a good or bad remake all depends on the casting choice and direction of the story. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a great example for this. The story was essentially along the same lines of the original, however it was critiqued in today’s society for the Stockholm Syndrome-esque relationship between Belle and the Beast,” said Tavares.

It can be argued from both sides that Hollywood’s new projects are remakes because of the lack of originality and current societal views. It is because of the recent movements of people fighting for inclusivity and representation in their entertainment that we have a new slew of controversial conversations surrounding the casting and thematic decisions in these new remakes.

“I believe that there’s been a stigma that remakes in TV shows and movies is just Hollywood’s way of saying they are out of new ideas. However, I don’t believe that is always entirely the case. Disney is a good example of this. The original films from the 1900s/early 2000s are iconic, classics, childhood favorites. Remakes to films like ‘Mulan’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’ inspire a new generation of Disney fans,” said Tavares.

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About the Contributors
Lena Vecchione, Copy Editor
Stephany Ortiz, Multimedia Editor/Layout Editor
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