Mike Goodridge discusses the value of film remakes in his latest editorial for Screen International. The point he argues is a good one – remakes broaden the audience for any given film, particularly if the original film is foreign language. The problem I have with that is that I don’t really believe that the studios offer up remakes in some philanthropic desire to please people worldwide, instead I draw more attention to one line in his article where he writes:
“There is a proven audience for the concept and therefore it is less of a risk than shooting an untried original story or script.”
This is what worries me. In a world where there are literally hundreds of thousands of budding screenwriters churning out fresh ideas in potentially brilliant and classic screenplays, shouldn’t the studios be investing more in originality and accepting the risk that comes with that? The danger is that the heart of film is lost because the businessmen take prominence over the artists. Delivering remakes in English usually always offends a core of film fans who don’t want the industry ‘dumbing down’ to pander to film goers who won’t watch a film if its subtitled. Instead, those same fans would have a lot more respect for the big names in the industry if they shot more original films, taking risks that might well pay off (just as they did with Oscar Winner ‘The Hurt Locker’). Fresh film ideas are definitely out there, it’s just going to take a studio with balls to start utilising them.