Hollywood movie remakes and Ben-Hur as your research topics

For your term paper, you can write about how Hollywood prefers movie remakes and nostalgia when releasing the latest movies—the new Ben-Hur movie is a classic example. Remakes and reboots are popular throughout motion picture and television history.

Learn more about the Ben-Hur movie for your research paper. (Credit: Mountain Xpress)

Learn more about the Ben-Hur movie for your research paper. (Credit: Mountain Xpress)

Here are some interesting research paper topics on the popularity of the remake in Hollywood movies.

Everything old is new again

No one takes the above cliché to heart more than Hollywood. A good term paper topic is to compare remakes and reboots. Someone said that Hollywood is terrified to be the first to do something new, but once it becomes popular (and money making), everyone rushes to be the first to be second. For example, before Star Wars came out in 1977, no one thought science fiction was profitable. After Star Wars, everyone rushed to put out an epic science fiction movie or TV show, the best example being the 1978 Battlestar Galactica.

As the Baby Boomers age and due to Hollywood’s aversion to putting money into ideas that don’t have a proven track record of success, nostalgia takes over. Hollywood spends its time and money to reboot and remake (and serialize, spin-off based on a book, true story, foreign film version or video game) popular shows from decades ago. Star Wars came back in 2015 with The Force Awakens, a story that was nearly the carbon copy of the original 1977 movie. Battlestar Galactica was rebooted into an epic television series in 2004. Director Chris Columbus, who is remaking the 1984 Gremlins, says that remakes “touch into that emotional connection we have with our past,” posted in “Why Is Hollywood Hooked on Remakes?” by Christopher Stevens in Daily Mail August 28, 2015.

New Ben-Hur movie is a “reworking” not a “remake”

The newest high-profile remake of an epic movie, Ben-Hur, replays the nearly 4-hour 1959 original starring Charlton Heston. Producer Roma Downey calls her 2016 remake of the sword and sandal epic that takes place during the time of Christ a “reworking.” Downey said in “Roma Downey, ‘Ben-Hur’ Cast at L.A. Premiere: The Film Is Not a Remake,” by Arya Roshanian in Variety August 17, 2016, “It’s been almost 60 years since the Charlton Heston film. There is a whole generation of people who haven’t even seen the 1959 film. And there are so many differences in this version, so if you brought grandpa along, he wouldn’t recognize it.”

Ruining your childhood

Another good term paper topic is to write about the effects and intensions of remaking old movies and TV shows. A reboot or remake of a much loved classic, while conjuring nostalgia, could also backfire. Change it too much and forget to include the elements that made it a classic in the first place, and Hollywood risks alienating the viewers it was courting. It also needs to draw in younger viewers who will latch onto the new version as the version they grow up with.

In the article, “Don’t call it a reboot: how ‘remake’ became a dirty word in Hollywood,” in The Guardian August 24, 2016, Ben Child reports how Hollywood types don’t want to give the impression that they are rehashing old material, even when they are. Child said, “If the term ‘remake’ has become taboo in Hollywood, studios only have themselves to blame. From the slash-and-burn cinema of Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes, with its slew of ill-considered horror rehashes, to Sony’s incessant attempts to bring back Spider-Man with almost exactly the same story as last time…, audiences are simply fed up with an approach to cinema that looks a lot like asset stripping.”

For more information, check out Questia’s library on Television History and Motion Picture Industry.

Do you think Hollywood should make more or fewer remakes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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