Home Arts ARTiculate: The summer of the re-hash

ARTiculate: The summer of the re-hash

by Amanda L. Shore August 28, 2012
ARTiculate: The summer of the re-hash


Reduce, reuse, recycle; so the old adage goes, but must we subject ourselves to recycled films as well as cans and bottles? Year after year, Hollywood subjects moviegoers new movies spilling over with old content, and this summer theatres were littered with recycled material from Hollywood’s blue bin.

There was not one, but two Snow White story adaptations, another remake of Spiderman and adaptations of both Total Recall and Prometheus. Not to mention the countless sequels, such as Madagascar 3, Ice Age: Continental Drift and Men in Black 3, which are the same formulas as the first few films, but with a fresh coat of paint thrown on to make them look new again.

Summer has always shown a propensity for re-hashed films, mainly because they are the movie industry’s highest earning releases and summer is when most studios release films that are aspiring for Blockbuster status.

According to Box Office Mojo’s yearly box office results, re-hashed and sequential films released this summer were among the top ten highest grossing films of the year thus far. The Dark Knight Rises, ranked number two in worldwide gross, Ice Age: The Continental Drift ranked third, The Amazing Spiderman ranked fourth, MIB 3 and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted ranked sixth and seventh and Snow White and the Huntsmen brought up the rear in ninth place.

Recycled films beat out even very popular films such as The Hunger Games, which ranked fifth in worldwide gross behind The Dark Knight Rises, Ice Age  and The Amazing Spiderman. Last summer The Hangover: Part II brought in $581.5 million dollars worldwide, beating out the original comedy Bridesmaids.

The Hunger Games and Bridesmaids were both well received by critics and yet they could not overcome the popularity of these re-hashed films. Among this summer’s highest grossing films worldwide only two of the top ten films, (Brave and The Intouchables), did not originate from a previous movie conception. This would seem to illustrate that more people will pay to see a film they are already familiar with, rather than one that is relatively new to them, even when it gets rave reviews.

Therefore, by all evidence, movies that have been re-made from old, adapted from fairy tales or are part of a sequence, are much better received financially than more original films. Proving that for Hollywood, a summer of the re-hashed pays off, and we viewers don’t mind one bit.

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