Are Audiences Tired of Remakes & 3D Movies?

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 24th, 2011 at 8:20 pm,

3D Movies Remakes Discussion Are Audiences Tired of Remakes & 3D Movies?

When you’re immersed in the movie business as deeply as we movie bloggers are, it can be hard to stay in tune with the shifting attitudes and opinions of the general movie going public. Of course it’s also hard getting an accurate reading on public opinion because, frankly, the attitudes of the public are often finicky and unpredictable.

So in that sense, it’s easy to understand why sometimes it’s hard not to be skeptical when movie fans complain about trends in cinema – sometimes they are voicing legitimate concerns or objections – other times, people are just parroting a popular buzz word or phrase that has taken on a certain connotation. A perfect example of this is the word “remake” and its current dirty-word connotation in the movie fan community.

Movie remakes are nothing new (Siskel and Ebert were complaining about them way back in 1976), but since the world economy has become a battlefield of increasing uncertainty, Hollywood has tried to wrestle some sense of security and certainty from the jaws of chaos, by focusing on movies that feature familiar titles and brands. The theory is that fan nostalgia is its own brand of effective marketing – though that theory is getting more and more questionable with each new movie season.

As stated, “remake” has become something of a dirty word, these days. Doesn’t matter if upset fans are using the word in proper context or not, since connotation often overrides the legitimacy of logic and accuracy. Case in point: David Fincher’s upcoming adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which is continuously bemoaned for being an “Americanized remake,” even though it is NOT a remake of the Swedish film by Niels Arden Oplev, but rather its own, separate, interpretation of author Steig Larsson’s bestselling novel. Though Fincher’s film looks to have great potential (check out the hip teaser trailer), there is already a certain negative perception of it, since it’s thought of (incorrectly) as ‘just another stupid Hollywood remake.’

Movie Remakes Discussion Are Audiences Tired of Remakes & 3D Movies?

Another dirty word that is currently being tossed around by movie fans, is “3D.” Director James Cameron dragged the stereoscopic format out of obscurity with his revolutionary movie Avatar, and he hoped (at least for awhile) that the bar he set for the use of 3D would be the high standard amongst Hollywood’s creative visionaries. What we’ve mainly gotten instead is a return to the use of 3D as a cheap gimmick (Clash of the Titans, Alice In Wonderland, Green Lantern), with few notable exceptions (Transformers 3, Final Destination 5) and even fewer 100%  enjoyable 3D movie experiences (….um, can you think of an example?).

Here’s the thing about buzz words, though: it’s often hard to tell when people have a legitimate gripe with the topic being referenced, or if that buzz word/phrase is simply the issue du jour to complain about. Despite the objections that instantly crop up when people hear the words “remake” and/or “3D” mentioned in conjunction with a new movie, it’s hard to know which films fans will ultimately avoid and which they will embrace. (This question looms large over upcoming films like Romancing The StoneShort CircuitDirty Dancing, Shark Night 3D, Underworld: Awakening 3D, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.) Strange as it seems (sarcasm), sometimes, a movie fans have complained about at great length still manages to make a disgusting amount of money (the “Transformers Paradox”).

However, recently two 3D remakes – Fright Night and Conan The Barbarian - had the distinct advantage of being the only major new releases in the later summer lineup – and both 3D remakes fell flat on their faces at the box office.

conan barbarian fright night tv spot Are Audiences Tired of Remakes & 3D Movies?

Two very different 3D remakes, both box office flops.

Now don’t get me wrong: no one was expecting these two films to be major money-raking blockbuster hits. Fright Night is a remake of a campy ’80s movie that didn’t do well at the box office back in the ’80s, but found second life as a cult-classic on home video – while Conan The Barbarian is a movie that did alright at the box office, but really gained second life as a cult-classic Schwarzenegger flick. It’s not like either film had much of a bankable nostalgia factor to coast on, and as of right now, the Fright Night remake has earned a staggeringly bad worldwide gross of just $8 million (against a $30 million budget), while the new Conan is limping around with $16 million in pocket (against a bafflingly-high $90 million budget). Suffice to say: both films are flops.

The question at hand is: Are movie fans doing more than just reciting buzz words now? Are they truly tiring of high-priced 3D gimmicks and rehashed remakes to the point that they’re making a clear and distinct statement with their wallets? We won’t mention any names, but we’ve been hearing increasing word from the Hollywood sector that seems to indicate as much – and the box office numbers are there to analyze and interpret, for anybody curious. You may be surprised at how much these 3D films aren’t making.

In our Fright Night review we deemed the movie to be one of the few worthwhile remakes, even if the 3D wasn’t necessary; our Conan The Barbarian review deemed that movie to be wholly unnecessary on all fronts. So there was a difference in the quality of the respective films, in our opinion: one deserved viewers’ ticket money, the other didn’t. But both failed to draw an audience.

3D Movie Slogan Are Audiences Tired of Remakes & 3D Movies?

Maybe it was the subject matter (vampires are a worn out trend, too) or the ineffectiveness of the marketing (nothing in the trailers or TV spots for either film was particularly enticing). But maybe, just maybe, it’s simply the case that audiences are tired of seeing movies they’ve already seen before (and still remember fondly). Maybe audiences are also tired of being forced to pay considerably more for an often unsatisfying effect gimmick. As much as I enjoyed the film, my $17 Fright Night 3D experience would’ve been better as a $10 2D experience.

We now pose the question to you guys: Let us you know where you currently stand in regards to the issue of movie remakes and 3D. Who knows, maybe somebody in Hollywood will actually listen to what it is you have to say…

Image Sources: Header Image courtesy of EZ Mode Unlocked; Movie Remakes image courtesy of Red Carpet Refs

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    • You know what?? I never thought of that. That makes sense…

  1. The problem which occured is most film maker endured in remaking the subject which already received a positive reaction by fans, one of the evidence that proved the effects of remake brought franchises and film down is Conan The Barbarian.

  2. I don’t object to remakes per-se. Anyone whose seen “The Fly” or “The Thing” would definitely say they were improvements over the originals – so remakes can be positive pieces of work.

    The problem is Hollywood seems to have run out of ideas; or rather is refusing to look for/invest in new ideas!

    Sorry; but do we need – I mean _actually_ need – two versions of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, yes the new trailer for the US version looks great; but are we really going to pay to see _both_ versions?

    Why is Spiderman being remade so soon after the “originals” (ignoring bad 70s TV spin-off movies of-course). As for the entire Marvel back catalogue being converted to celluloid. WHY? (great comic does not always equal great film!!!)

    The sad fact is that money is tight, and times are hard; so the industry is playing it safe. The problem with this approach is that it drives audiences away, and make a bad situation worse in a downward spiral.

    C’mon guys – sometimes you have to speculate to accumulate!

    • “you have to speculate to accumulate” – WORST. LINE. EVER. ;) – nah just teasin’

      But the reason Spidey is being rebooted, is because (IMO) the original trilogy didn’t really capture what “Spider-Man” really is. The first 3 movies were depressing and while it had a solid story, I never felt that it was really a Spider-Man movie. A REAL Spidey-flick should be funny, it shouldn’t be so overly SERIOUS as the first trilogy, and they should have the right actor to play the “Web-head” (i.e. the actor should have a great personality, be funny, dorky, and lovable – McGuire didn’t have ANY of those qualities).
      Just keep in mind, this is only my opinion.

      • Spiderman is not now nor has it ever been a comedy. Occasional comedic elements perhaps…very occasional, but not a comedy. Spidey cracking wise during fights does not a comedy make. just sayin’ so don’t be hatin’!

    • The previous version of “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” came out a whopping TWO YEARS AGO.

      Was this remake really, truly, absolutely necessary?

      It was made for the simpletons who don’t want to “read no subtitles.”

      I, for one, refuse to watch the remake. I recently read one of the most flimsiest, lamest and most laughable defenses of this “new” movie. The person said it’s NOT A REMAKE, but a whole new adaptation of the book.

      Well, isn’t that special? Talk about splitting hairs.

      I saw the trailer, and, golly, geez, it looked a whole lot like the previous movie. I wonder why that is!

  3. Once again I see you are claiming these movies are bombs and they have barely been in the theaters for over a week. They havent even had a chance to rake in the over seas market and then DVD sales. But that is ok, most of the critics were damning Conan long before it came out, just like the did the first movie and it went on to cult status.

    Remakes have a place if they are executed well and have a strong updated and well written story, unfortunately most have neither.

  4. Regarding remakes
    1 – Bring something new and worthwhile that adds to the story while respecting the old.

    Regarding 3D
    1 – Full 3-D filming or don’t do it at all.
    2 – Make it add something to the movie (i.e. Avatar) and not just for the jump out and make you cross-eyed gimmick.

  5. Cowboys and Aliens wasn’t in 3-D and wasn’t a remake, and it flopped too. So who knows what the audience is truly lookimng for.

    • I think what killed Cowboys vs Aliens is that people are getting tired of seeing alien films ( and the fact it was in 3D)

      • COWBOYS AND ALIENS was not a 3D flick. The producers/director VERY specifically avoided making it 3D.

    • Cowboys & Aliens was a lazy, greedy money-grab, that’s all. It was born within the bowels of the offices of the accountants, investors and bean-counters.

      It was not born of a place with anything remotely resembling cinematic inspiration.

      And I’m glad it flopped. Hollywood just thought it could throw in cowboys, aliens, CGI and some big name director and writers, producers and actors and have a hit on their hands. They had tons of producers and too many scriptwriting chefs in the kitchen, and the movie was a monumental failure. It had no vision, but DOLLAR SIGNS.

      If they weren’t so lazy, conservative and greedy, they might actually make some good movies along the way.

  6. Give me good writing and characters that I can care about, or give me guns, explosions, and bikinis in movies. I kid, I kid about the last part.

    remakes are OK if they are truly creative reinterpretations of the material. remakes are bad when they are shot for shot like Psycho or just vomit on celluloid like Fright Night or Conan.

    Give us something good and we will go to see it in the theater.

    3-D can be good if it is the full film and worth the money due to good writing, compelling characters, and great cinematography/direction. Bolt and Up were really great 3-d movies. Avatar was a lot of spectacle, but little meat to the story. Superman Returns was awful story and 4 sequences in 3-d.

    If you are going to charge that price for admission, if it doesn’t blow my socks off, I’m staying home the next time the studio releases something.

    And 3-D at home is a joke. My brother tried to turn me on to it with his battery operated glasses. Too cumbersome and strange shifts of color. No thanks!

  7. And what the hell is this new “4D” thing I keep hearing about?
    The humans race doesn’t even have “4D” for crying out loud! :( We can only perceive things in 3D!
    Nah, GIMMICKS. That’s all this is, gimmicks…

  8. Great question. Yes, yes we are. Why would I go see a lesser quality film I’ve already seen made better the first time. And 3D totally takes me out of any story there might be in any film I’m watching, I didn’t even like it in the 80′s when it was all the rage. Please stop.

  9. I remember a back when Roger Troutman, on his album The Many Facets of Roger (yeah, that far back… I think I still have a cassette of that too) did a remake of I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE. He said in an interview that rather than remake it like everybody else he took in another direction, utilizing his own style and unique musical talent. The remake was not only a hit, but an example of how to do something that was already great better, and able to stand on it’s own.

    As someone posted above, the QUALITY of the remake is what should be important. Too many of these remakes lately just don’t hit the mark. Some things just don’t need to be remade. Can anyone see someone doing a remake of Citizen Kane? Maltese Falcon? Casablanca? Once Upon A Time in the West? The Godfather? But if you undertake a remake it has to be good or it is doomed? And while I liked the first Fright Night, when the remake came up I said “What the &*%$ for?!

    As for 3D, it has it’s place, but I think it makes the studios compromise the film’s ability to tell a story just for sake of the gimmick, and that will have a short attention span (read: people will stop spending the extra dough).

    One more thing: Hollywood needs to stop dredging the depths for crap to put on the screen. BATTLESHIP?! NUFF SAID.

    Iron Biker

  10. I have no problem with remakes, and even though I never went to see them, I have never had any problem with 3D movies. If you don’t like it, don’t go watch it. The studios keep making them, because people go to see them. I think this is simply the case of people not giving a crap about a couple of movies. It does happen. Sometimes, people just aren’t interested in a movie. Not really necessary to create a conversation about it lol.

  11. remake is the wrong word? thats’ just semantics, referring to david finches entirely differeint ‘interepretation’ of the girl with the pearl earring or whatevcer the film was called. who cares, really? one foreign movie made firt then a second american copied and had it’s own ‘interepretation’ why dont we just start doing that with books too. or comics. or the news even? really, honestly, hollywod is not creative. partly because they are just lazy and partly ebcause yeah, fans say oh, sounds promising, or some cornball critic-wanna be voyeur expression they picked up soemwhere. and the remakes, like the ones titled in this article, are so far off form the orignial, why not just change teh title completelyand make it their ow sotry, just like the new star trek they shold have done teh same things.

    • It bothers me when it seems that bloggers, writers, etc., are just shilling out for Hollywood. I totally agree on the semantics, the hair-splitting.

      Almost all these remakes, reboots, reimaginings, re-interpretations… all come from the same place, and are virtually the same thing.

      To try to cast this completely unnecessary “re-interpretation” of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is ridiculous. Why give David Fincher a pass. I like some of previous movies, but when I saw the trailer for this “new movie” it looked and felt very much like that 2009 original movie. The only reason why this “new” movie exists is to pander to the simpletons an ignoramuses who don’t like to read subtitles.

  12. yea remakes/ reboots/ reimaginings/ 3d its all crap. i watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2, Cowboys & Aliens, Transformers Dark of the Moon (twice!!!) and Pirates of the Carribean: on Stranger Tides ALL in 2D and only one of them wasnt offered in 3D

    • I’m so old I remember when people complained everything was sequels.

      • @ Tim

        Only sequels ive seen come out mostly are sequels to remakes/reboots.

  13. I can’t wait till they hack Escape from New York and Highlander just leave the movies alone Evil Dead was a great movie because they did’t spend 90 million dollars on it !!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Once they’ve pilfered the 1980s, are they going to go to the 1990s or the ’70s? If the 1970s, are they going to make an unnecessary remake of Escape From Alcatraz? Maybe they’ll throw in all sorts of fistfights, brawls, prison riots and plenty, plenty of CGI… including helicopters armed with gatling guns. And the finale will include the main prisoner character jumping in a copter and taking on the prison warden, mano y mano, helicopter y helicopter.

      And then he and his prisoner buddies will fly off into the sunset. In 3D.

    • Hopefully HIghlander remake will star Thomas Jane. Because we see how the last two highlander movies came out. grrrrrrrrrrh

  14. The thin line between remaking and reimagining is where my opinion sits. Am looking forward to Robocop but not Total Recall.

    3D cinema has lost it’s way. Not been impressed by the hype and thought Transformers 3 dud not deliver on the 3D canvas as much as I had heard and hoped for. That movie cost me a lot of money to take my family too and feel duped. My confidence in 3D cinema is now lost.

    Actually still pissed off with the industry standard LCD widescreen TVs that still give black bars on expensive DVD and BLU RAYS.

    Hollywood…all I want is a good movie delivering a good genre and then the ability to reproduce it at home as the director intended on a 2:35 tv and no gimmicks just a clean transfer to my screen.

  15. These movies didn’t make money simply because it was a slow month. 3D is crap but it still tends too draw audiences for some reason, I don’t know this reason, even though I’ve watched it happen with my friends who fell victim to the 3D monster. I for one LOVED Fright Night and think it’s one of dreamworks’best movies to date. the reason why no one saw these movies is because THERE WAS NO MARKETING. Nobody even knew about fright night until the day it came out. there was no hype for either of the movies, and that brought they’re doom. As bad as 3D is, and as many remakes there are. These films are not decent examples of failure of either cases. Still want to see Conan anyway!

    • Wasn’t a slow month for “The Help”. ;)

  16. “If you can’t make it good, make it 3D” EXCELLENT

  17. You know sometimes I like remakes and sometimes I don’t. I think it depends on how good it is and the buzz around it otherwise it might not turn up so cool. But you know original films and original 3D films can turn out bad enough that no ones doesn’t want to see it.

  18. It just seems like there is no originality anymore. Why would we go spend 20 dollars on a piece of crap 3D remake, when we can see the superior original on our DVD or VHS for free. Or a a cheap rental….. Hollywood has gotten lazy, and we have gotten more savvy. Conan and Fright Night had no gimmick that grabbed you and made you want to go see it. I have better things to spend my money on right now then the crap that’s out in the cinemas. And the glasses are getting old………….

    • Dannyboy IMO the Fright Night remake is better than the original. I’d rather pay 20 bucks for the remake than buy a 5 cent copy of the original.

      Conan however, I equally don’t want to see the new one as much as I don’t want to watch the original again.

  19. BOYCOTT 3D…unless it’s porn :-)

  20. I’m sorry, there’s something I don’t udnerstand in your article:

    You refer to “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” as NOT a remake “but rather its own, separate, interpretation of …(the)… novel”?

    Yet every time you mention John Carpenter’s “The Thing”, you call it a “remake of the 1950′s film”?

    Why the double standard?

    If anything Dragon Tattoo is FAR closer to an actual remake than The Thing was. The 1950′s Thing from Another World is SO unlike the novella, it shouldn’t even be “based upon”, but more “inspired by”. Meanwhile, Carpenter’s “The Thing” is an almost scene-for-scene translation of the novella.

    Sorry, I know it’s a bit off topic…

    erm… sick of remakes, … and… erm… 3D too.
    there, I was on-topic at least for one line.

    But PLEASE remake Fantastic Voyage.. and in 3D!!! but without Will Smith.
    (ok, I admit, not THAT sick of remakes, nor 3D)

    • @Mike E.

      You’ve pointed that out in the past. Believe it or not, I’ve taken it to heart. :-)

      • you see? now it makes me curious to compare the original and american remake versions of Dragon tattoo..

        the french translation of dragon tattoo (actually, all three films) has been a HUGE hit here, and my sister in law has been pestering me to see it with her. It’s just not my type of flick, but now I’m curious!

  21. Imo, i always find remakes/reboots to be better aslong they don’t having anything reminisant from the previous franchise no matter how big or how little what’s shown or said. That’s the thing that irritates me about remakes/reboots is theres somthing i notice thats too familiar thats been done or might of been said in the previous franchise. 3-D doesn’t bother me depending on the film because most films i get the choice to see that film in 2D or 3D anyways. I kinda like 3D films, not alot but like i said it depends on what movie.

  22. Id like to add i do hate CGI blood. It looks bad.

  23. 3D or 2D, both movies are no more worth then a trip to the dollar theatre.
    unless someone shoots a movie the way AVATAR was shot, the studios need to stop making 3D movies just to make a buck.

  24. ABSOLUTLY – but more importantly is the hype we are forced to buying into – Like every movie has got to be in 3-D. My Wife and I were going to catch the Re-make of Fright Night last weekend and it was only offered in 3-D – REALLY?? It has that many effect in it – will I be actually flying in this movie – Come on! And with that it turned an early bird movie of 6.50 to a 10.00 a piece charge. I really is not about the money to see a movie but in some cases it is all about that – who wants to spend $16.00 in CA to see a movie that you can get the same thing from with the exception of a few fleeting effects that – well really have no real significant to the actual feel of the movie. So a bolt comes at you or an empty ammunition shell – do you really flinch? Come on – NO – and if you do then you are way over responsive. Added to this; I have partial frontal vision blindness in one eye – I know here it come go ahead – but the fact is I have little depth perception and it is basically a waste of money for me to see some mediocre movie in 3-D, Especially one that they remade worse than the original – added even if the original sucked as well – LOL Man come on!

    • Yikes I live in California as well, but 3D here is 12 bucks and I thought that was to much lol. That’s insane. 16 ? Forget that. I wouldn’t watch 3D if it were the same price as 2D it hurts the quality of the film for me and adds nothing worth seeing so paying that much more is just not an option.

  25. Added – I remember the 3-D thing was a special event for special “high end” flick it has and is loosing its appeal as it is now offered with just about every special effects movie. Kinda takes away from the actual movie itself.

  26. Some remakes are very enjoyable. And they open people up to the original, which they may have never seen. Like “Dawn of the Dead.” When i saw it in 2004, I had no clue it was a remake. When I found out, I went to Blockbuster and rented the original, and loved it just as much as the remake.

    If done right, with a good cast, good director, and good writer, remakes can be great.

    But I am totally against 3D. It’s an overused tactic now, and I’m fed up with it. They’re putting everything in 3D now, and it’s only a matter of time before they stop showing 2D in theaters. 3D is a tired concept, and to me it takes away from the movie-going experience. Because if the 3D is good, I end up distracted looking for what’s popping out at me and what’s not. And this might just be me, but I think CGI sequences look god-awful in 3D. It’s already obvious it’s CGI, but the 3D really makes it even more obvious.

    • In regards to your 3D comment Gary, it is more clear now than ever that you (and most moviegoers) don’t appreciate 3D because you misinterpret what it’s purpose is for.

      Let me start off by saying that 3D in the theaters is not for stuff coming out (popping out) at you. Its main and most useful purpose is for depth. Don’t get me wrong, 3D is overused and is completely unnecessary for most movies. But movies where there is a lot of action, or space type sequences (Thor, Green Lantern, Transformers)3D makes sense. Green Lantern is to me one of the best examples. When you are able to see each individual particle on the screen and distinguish where in space it is, it only enhances the experience. In the case of Avatar, it actually felt like you were Superman flying next to the actors filming them (so to speak). Traditional 2D is great, but you will never get a true immersive experience like you will with 3D.

      As far as remakes go, I think it needs to cease. Classics should be left alone. Also, there are lots of cool and unique scripts that are begging to be made. However, movie studios hate taking chances on them, which is sad for us consumers that want something fresh (like Inception).

      • +1 for me on that..

        3D can be fantastic if well executed & used in the right kind of films where it adds to the viewing experience. Cheap 3D implementation is where the idea of things popping at you, etc is used (which it seems most people tend to relate to / have in their minds).

        For 2D lovers (or those not willing to shell out extra for 3D), there should always be that option.

        PS: I have a 3D 55 inch TV so don’t go to the cinema at all – just love 3D movies (the good ones)

  27. Conan was not a remake, same title totally different movie. I saw it in 2d as I see all movies given a choice. I hope for the franchise the movie has legs, I thought it captured the feel of Howard’s books pretty well.
    True grit was a remake, while a fine movie it did not surpass the original so in my eyes it failed. I believe remakes should be limited to movies that have much more potential than the original.

  28. From my perspective, 3D is another mechanism to artificially increase profits. Simply put, it’s driven by GREED.

    • I agree. And I add, almost all the remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels, adaptations, re-imaginings (or whatever hair-splitting term is in vogue now) are driven solely by greed as well. They’re lazy money-grabs by the Hollywood bean-counters. They’re exploiting brand names and the faith of moviegoers.