It’s hardly a mystery why Hollywood studios keep putting out remakes and sequels — they make money, lots of it. But why do audiences eat it up so readily? The answer isn’t so flattering.
“If the cake tasted good the first time, why not eat it again?” asks professor of film studies Christopher Sharrett of Seton Hall University. “There’s not much of an inclination to find a new recipe. There’s a very condescending attitude toward the audience.”
Hollywood, Sharrett says, is basically owned by six different corporations, and as a result, “they treat cinema as one more commodity. They look to see what’s been paying off lately and might lend itself to 3-D remakes.”
What’s been paying off seems almost exclusively to be stories that are already ingrained in pop culture.
“In the ’90s they made a ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ movie and a ‘Coneheads’ movie and those were from late- ’60s/early-’70s television,” says Dave White, movie critic at Movies.com. “As you find what people are nostalgic for, what people reference, somebody at a studio says, ‘Hmmm.’”
That familiarity guarantees a stress-free movie-going experience — perfect when everyone is in the summer vacation mindset.
“The bulk of [summer films] are about turning off your brain, sitting in the dark where it’s air conditioned, eating candy and watching robots blow things up,” says White.