It’s the year of the reboot, with popular film titles making their way back to the big screen, including Little Women, What Men Want, Pet Sematary, Aladdin, Hellboy, and The Lion King. While these original films are classics in their own genre, why mess with what’s already been done—and done well—for the chance at another successful box office run? That’s what Rotten Tomatoes analyzed in a recent study, comparing the ratings of original films to their reboots.
Rotten Tomatoes’ “Tomatometer” rating system shows that remakes and reboots don’t even come close to the ratings of the “original” predecessors. On average, remakes scored around 47 percent, with rebooted films scored around 53 percent. Both compare to original features, which scored around 81 percent for remakes and 69 percent for reboots. Further, the movie review site found that only 40 films had better rating scores than the original in the franchise, which ends up at less than 10 percent all remade films.
The site even found that 84 remakes had a 50 percent difference in scores between the new and preexisting film, and only 33 percent of the remakes included had a “Fresh” rating, as compared to “Rotten” ones, in a one-to-two ratio.
According to Rotten Tomatoes, only 40 remakes and reboots since 1978 have higher scores than the original films on which they are based, including True Grit, The Departed, The Jungle Book, Ocean’s Eleven, and Mad Max: Fury Road. Additionally, the most remakes and reboots in theaters were released in 2005, with 18 remakes, two reboots, and three television adaptations, including Batman Begins, War of the Worlds, King Kong, and Bewitched.
Remakes in the 1980s had the highest “Fresh” scores compared to reboots from other decades, including Little Shop of Horrors, The Fly, Scarface, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, while horror movies feature the most remakes, as more than 100 films studied were horror remakes with a 39 percent average rating.
In comparing reboots and remakes, the study found that reboots tend to have higher ratings than remade films, such as Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Trek, and Spider-Man: Homecoming. For example, the James Bond franchise, 26 films later, includes reboots with similar average scores, and Disney has mastered the modern-day remake with successful re-imaginations of classic tales, such as Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast, which have score well on the Tomatometer.
While Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born landed a Best Picture Oscar nod for the fourth remake of the musical, only three remakes have won Academy Awards for Best Picture since 1927: The Mutiny on the Bounty, Ben-Hur, and The Departed.
Photo: Rotten Tomatoes