In their perpetual pursuit of profits, movie studios often remake films rather than take a risk on something completely new. These safe bets often pan out, as audiences flock to the theater to see the new version of a familiar title. In some instances — such as Steven Soderbergh’s remake “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001) — moviegoers prefer the remake over the original.
The likelihood of a remake being great largely depends on the reasons behind its production. When films are remade to cash in on the original’s success, they frequently fail to recapture the magic. This often happens with genre movies, such as with horror director John Carpenter’s cult classic “The Fog.” The 2005 remake was not only a subpar, critically panned horror flick, but one of the worst movies of all time.
When a movie is remade because the filmmakers see ways to reinterpret or improve on the telling of the story, the films are often excellent. The recent retelling of “A Star Is Born,” aided by the talent of modern-day music industry powerhouse Lady Gaga, is one such example.
Even when a remake is great, it’s not always better than the first movie. This is often true when movies are remade for different markets or updated after long periods of time. The American horror film “Let Me In” and the original Swedish “Let the Right One In” are both considered to be good movies – one version was simply made with the English-speaking market in mind.
A terrible remake, however, is generally worse than its predecessor.
To determine the best and worst movie remakes, 24/7 Tempo created an index using each film’s Rotten Tomatoes average critic rating, Rotten Tomatoes average audience rating, and Internet Movie Database average user rating. To be considered, each film had to have at least 10,000 total user ratings between IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes and 10 approved Tomatometer critic reviews.
We averaged the user ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb and weighted by the number of votes for each. The combined user rating was then averaged with the Rotten Tomatoes critic rating.
All of the films included are labeled “remake” on IMDb. For our list, we included re-imaginings in addition to strict remakes. We excluded films based on television series. Internationally produced films in which English was not the primary language were also removed from consideration.