OPINION: Disney’s movie remakes are lazy cash-grabs

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Disney seems to love doing remakes recently. Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Aladdin, and Dumbo are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Not to mention there’s a Mulan remake coming out soon and according to the internet, Disney is planning about 15 or so more live-action remakes.  

Remakes are a great way to make money

The goal for all movie studios is, ultimately, to make money. Remakes are a great way to make money, because the executives already know they have an audience willing to watch the movie.  Remakes also save production time because the script is already written, although Disney tends to like to “modernize” the plot by giving the female characters something to do and removing any of the racist or sexist undertones that were in their older films. (Disney appears to think that by removing these problems in their newer versions and pretending they never existed is the safest path forward for them).  

People love seeing their favourite characters again

Ultimately, Disney is playing on nostalgia to the point that even if the movie is not that amazing, the fact that everyone gets to see their favorite character on the screen again makes them more likely to ignore the quality of the movie. Not that there’s anything wrong with enjoying movies that aren’t the pinnacle of storytelling or technology, of course. Although if the movie is bad enough, like Star Wars Episode 9, even the nostalgia isn’t enough to distract moviegoers from the fact that they took a pile of trash and slapped the Star Wars label on it. 

Disney needs to focus on new ideas

But the problem with Disney focusing all its time on making sequels and remakes is that they don’t get to create as many new things. Sure, they make some new movies, but a lot less than they could be doing given their size. The more time Disney spends appealing to nostalgia, the less time they have to create something new. There’s something nice about seeing your favorite Avenger on screen for the seventh time, but what interesting ideas and characters are not getting made because Disney continues to focus on what already exists? Making similar stories over and over again eventually becomes very boring. Think about those three Shakespeare books you had to read in high school. Wouldn’t it be annoying if Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth all had the exact same characters and very similar stories? I think it would.  

Are movie remakes becoming boring?

And so while I’m hardly a film critic, the idea that the next 10 years of big films are just going to be very similar stories with the exact same characters feels exhausting. Will we still be excited for Frozen 5 and Infinity War 3? Will we still look forward to the next Batman reboot or the 16th Fast and the Furious? Or perhaps the better question is… should we be? At what point does too many similar ideas become too much?