Remakes and Reboots Are Almost Never as Good as the Original According to a Rotten Tomatoes Study

I can already hear a lot of groaning in the comments section because I dare mention Rotten Tomatoes, but they have recently performed an interesting study regarding remakes and reboots. It feels like reboots and remakes are becoming more and more common each year, and someone decided to look at how well received by critics these movies are in comparison to their originals. Before we look at what they found, here’s the criteria they had set up:

What is a remake? – It is a movie with the same story and title (for the most part) as an earlier film.
What is a reboot? – A reboot is a new start to an already created fictional world. For example, 2009’s Star Trek is a reboot because it features familiar characters in a brand new adventure. It’s not the same story twice.
374 Remakes and 43 Reboots
306 remakes and their originals both had Tomatometer scores
68 remakes had Tomatometer scores while their originals didn’t (they weren’t included in the first three facts)

OK, so what was found? Well, as you might assume, remakes don’t typically do as well as the originals. While the list of original films averages an 81% on the Tomatometer, the remakes average 47%. Also, only 1/3 of the remakes looked at are even rated Fresh. That doesn’t bode well. However, even with all this data, they found 40 reboots and remakes (out of 417) that did better than the originals. These include Ocean’s Eleven, True Grit, Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Jungle Book to name a few.

If you’re wondering when the golden age of remakes was, it was the 1980s. The average rating for remakes was 57% which was higher than any of the other decades looked at for the study. Some mentioned specifically for their greatness were Little Shop of Horrors, The Thing, The Fly, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Scarface. Unfortunately, movies that were remakes of a film from the 1980s don’t do so well, averaging at 37%.

While the 1980s had the best remakes, 2005 and 2006 put out the most. Each year released 18 remakes and 2 reboots with 2005 also releasing 3 adaptations of TV shows. In 2005, only seven of the 23 films counted in these categories scored Fresh and the average for all 23 was 44%. Yikes.

The study also found that Horror films are remade more than any other genre. I have no idea why, but it is. However, the most successful remakes these days aren’t horror films. Instead, Disney has been doing pretty well with their latest batch of remakes including Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Maleficent, and more. That’s right, if you look at these newer Disney remakes since 2010, they average at a score of 73%. This measure of success is probably what eggs them on to keep making them with The Lion King, Aladdin, and Dumbo releasing this year.

Let’s talk about reboots a bit. There are two main points to talk about with reboots. First, reboots are typically better than remakes. They average a score of 53% and out of the reboots with scores on Rotten Tomatoes, the average difference between them and the originals is about 16% versus the 34% difference for remakes and originals. The second point talks about the king of all reboots: James Bond. There have been six reboots in the franchise and five of those scored higher than the film before it. What’s more is that if you average all six reboots, the score comes to a 75% which is excellent in the eyes of Rotten Tomato and it’s higher that the average of 64% for the films that came before each reboot.

What do you think of all these reboots and remakes? Only three remakes have won the Academy Award for Best Picture so far, but do you think that A Star is Born will be the fourth?

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