The Case For Rebooting Old Movies

Paul Hair

Rebooting (or remaking) old movies has been a trend for the past few years. People are divided on whether this is a good or bad thing. But here is the case for remaking some old films: Rebooting them makes them known to generations of people who otherwise never would have heard of them.

“Oh, great! Hollywood is remaking another old movie! Can’t it come up with anything new?” This is a common complaint. It is valid in certain instances. Yet in other instances it is not.

Gone with the Wind remains the highest-grossing movie of all time in America when adjusted for inflation. But how many people today do you think have watched the four-hour movie? How many people are even familiar with it any longer?

I’m not suggesting that Hollywood should reboot Gone with the Wind. My point in noting that it is obscure to modern audiences is to show that even the biggest films fade from memory rather quickly. Pick your favorite movie franchises of today. Most of them will be a lot less popular within one generation. Within two or three generations they may all but be forgotten.

Films are not like books. They don’t survive time very well. People who watched them when they initially debuted may always have a place in their heart for them. But those who weren’t around for their premieres often don’t know about them or don’t care about them if they do.

So if you want to keep older movies from fading into obscurity, rebooting some of them actually is a good idea.

Variety reported on April 13 that production is underway on a remake of Nosferatu. And the Hollywood Reporter reported on Dec. 16 that there are plans to remake Metropolis as a miniseries.

Both Nosferatu and Metropolis are considered to be classic films. Yet the average person has probably never heard of them. And no wonder. They’re both silent movies.

And while many people will think it is a horrible idea to remake such classics as Nosferatu and Metropolis, if you’re a fan of either movie you should probably be at least somewhat happy about the news.

I’ve no idea how the new interpretations are going to turn out. But they undoubtedly will bring attention to the original productions. And that attention will put the memory of those films back into the general public’s consciousness, which as of now has forgotten they even exist.