Disney’s remake of its 1994 blockbuster “The Lion King” — scheduled for theatrical release on July 19 — is just the latest high-profile movie to be based on an earlier film. In recent months theaters across the country have screened remakes of “Aladdin,” “Child’s Play,” “Pet Sematary,” and “Dumbo,” among others. And while these films had varying success at the box office, each has turned a profit, indicating a winning formula for Hollywood.
Remakes and reboots can often be seen as cynical cash grabs by movie studios, which are using previously successful movie ideas — and many of them indeed fail as in the case with the worst movie remakes of all time. Still, many others have much to offer. In certain cases, the remake is even better than the original movie.
24/7 Tempo identified 25 movie remakes that are better than the original based on audience and critic ratings on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and Rotten Tomatoes. The movies are listed in order of most highly rated.
For a remake to surpass the quality of its original version, its creators must often have a fresh vision for the story. Simply recreating what already exists won’t cut it. Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s Eleven” is a slick caper that leaves the Rat Pack-starring original looking tired. Director David Cronenberg’s “The Fly” is imaginative and tragic in ways that its B-movie predecessor is not, placing it among the best horror films of all time. The original films are not necessarily bad, but the remakes are exceptional.
Other remakes are successful because of technology that was not available when the original movie was released. The 2016 version of “The Jungle Book” is visually stunning thanks to its combination of live action and computer graphics. For many modern audiences, the simple animation of Disney’s original movie cannot compare.
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 — both remakes and originals — 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. Only movie remakes for which the final rating exceeded that of the movie’s original version were included.
All of the films included are labeled “remake” on IMDb. For our list, we included reimaginings in addition to strict remakes. We excluded films based on television series.