Movie remake graphic

Opinion columnist Jalen Collier discusses the problems with movie remakes and emphasizes the value of original storytelling.

Opinion

It seems like every movie that has come out recently is either a sequel to something, a remake or adaptation in some shape or form. It is made more apparent with every movie release. I find this to be exceedingly irritating. I would enjoy films more if there were less remakes and especially less Disney remakes.

This first came to my attention five years ago with Disney’s release of "Maleficent," which is a remake of Disney’s "Sleeping Beauty." I remember watching the film and thinking to myself, “how could they have done this?” Why would Disney remake a timeless movie and make something that showed almost no love for the original story? I was annoyed, but eventually I calmed down and went about my business. After this, I noticed more and more movies were starting to take on the same shape as "Maleficent."

Of course, Disney started remaking many other classics such as "The Jungle Book," "Cinderella," "Beauty and the Beast," "Dumbo" and, most recently, "The Lion King" and "Aladdin. My main problem with these films is that, while they might introduce some new aspects, songs or characters, ultimately they are all the same story. The reason I have a problem with this is that the main motive behind these remakes is to make more money, instead of new engaging stories. It is disdainful that there is little regard for the original movie. 

When "Maleficent" hit theaters, its box office reached $241 million domestically, and its production budget was $180 million. Since the film gained a profit, I believe that Disney saw an opportunity for an increase in cash flow, and it decided to continue creating remakes. This can be seen as each new remake is released, each new edition requiring a smaller budget each time. "Beauty and the Beast" had a domestic box office of $504 million and $1 billion in worldwide box office sales. The film only required a budget of $160 million.

It is clear to see that with each remake Disney creates, it doesn’t require a huge budget. Disney knows that the movie will sell itself. Each remake has a target audience of either fans who enjoyed the original, younger viewers who haven’t been exposed to originals, or anyone who wants to shut their children up for a few hours. The largest audience are the people who loved the original stories and want to see the new adaptation. This makes it easy to take advantage of someone’s nostalgia.

I find Disney’s motives for these remakes to be in poor taste. I think that the creation of remakes should have a higher motive than simply trying to earn a quick buck. If a film was remade, shown the love that it deserved and brought something new and interesting to the table, I wouldn’t mind films being remade. Instead, Disney recycles old scripts and stories and fleshes it out for the public to flock toward, so Disney can make a profit.

I want Disney to stop this trend that it has created. I think it would be amazing if Disney worked on remaking some of the films in its library that haven’t received the attention that they deserve. Films like "Fantasia," "The Black Cauldron," or "The Sword in the Stone" all can receive updates and additions to make those old stories new and creative. This is not to just slap a fresh coat of paint on them but to go back and fix their problems to give them to a new generation. 

I challenge you to remember this as Disney remakes come to theaters. The thing is we all have the power to do something about it. We can stop going to the theaters when a new Disney remake comes out. We are the consumers, and we have a part to play in what we want to see in our movie content, specifically our Disney content.

Jalen Collier is a senior from Gardner studying English.