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Why do so many Remakes and Reboots fail to impress their Audience?

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Let’s assume the Rotten Tomatoes score of a movie is a good metric for its quality. It might be, as it is based on scores given to a movie by professional critics and viewers, perhaps with a bit of an influence from the marketing effort attached to a big screen production. There are movies that critics hate and audiences love, there are movies that critics praise and viewers fall asleep at, and there are times when these two agree that a movie is a masterpiece or a big pile of crap. This is the case of “The Mummy“, one of the most anticipated horror films 2017 has thrown at us. “Rotten” ratings outnumbered “Fresh” ones five to one, and just about a third of all the circa 45,000 viewers who rated the movie liked it. That’s a result easily beaten by this year’s Power Rangers reboot.

Not all remakes and reboots are bad. The perfect example was this year’s big-screen rendition of Stephen King’s “IT“, which found its way to the viewers’ hearts and successfully reignited their hidden fear of clowns. But “IT” is the exception, unfortunately, not the rule: Flatliners, for example, a remake of the 1990 psychological horror movie with the same title from 1990, failed to impress despite its more than decent cast. And it wasn’t the fault of the actors – even though the cast of the original, featuring massive star power like Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, and Oliver Platt, has left behind some big shoes to fill. Back then, the movie was dark and original. Today’s version, in turn, is bland, flat, and – as most critics have said – “dead on arrival”.

One of the reasons why these remakes and reboots may fail on so many levels is that the audiences have unrestricted access to the originals – so they have something to compare the modern versions with. Classic movies are not only remade, franchises are not only rebooted, but remastered, and re-released in a variety of forms, from anniversary box sets to digital downloads and streams. Chances are, the news of a studio trying to reboot a classic will determine a series of viewers to actually watch the source material they base their work on – which makes it easier to point out the flaws of the new movie.

When asked about why the remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” failed to impress audiences and critics alike (even if it was a pretty decent horror movie), legendary actor Robert Englund blamed the timing of the release – which happened less than a year before the release of the remake.

Could this be the reason why so many other reboots and remakes fail? Or could it be the lack of talent and creativity on the part of filmmakers?

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