There’s one word that typically comes up in response to news of yet another movie remake: Unnecessary. Setting aside the existential wormhole that word conjures (what is really “necessary” in this life, anyway?), some remakes are certainly more valuable than others—quantifiably so. Take the results of this analysis conducted by the folks at Casumo (an online casino, apparently), who looked at the ratings and profitability of remakes in comparison to the original works to find out which remakes were, essentially, worth a shit in the eyes of those who behold them. “In recent years,” according to Casumo, “as many as one in 20 of Hollywood’s highest-grossing movies have been revamped versions of an original.” That tracks: We’re only halfway through 2019, and we’ve already seen remakes of Aladdin, Dumbo, and Pet Sematary, with several more on the way before the year is through.
The results of Casumo’s analysis—which tracks both viewer and critical reactions to remakes and their original counterparts—are interesting, though only occasionally surprising. Critics largely prefer original films to their remakes, favoring 87% of the former over the latter; audiences, however, rank 91% of the original films higher than their remakes. The remakes that ranked highest among critics are 2018's A Star Is Born and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, with 2005's King Kong (really...?) and 2007's Hairspray tying for third. The top three remakes among general audiences are The Departed, 2006's Casino Royale, and 2018's A Star Is Born.
But those are just, like, opinions, man. Looking at the actual numbers (facts, some might call them), the top three most profitable remakes of all time are 1976's A Star Is Born, 2003's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and 1978's Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. (Don’t worry, Lady Gaga stans; 2018's A Star Is Born came in fourth place.) The least profitable remakes of all time are Spike Lee’s Oldboy (a film I had completely erased from memory until this moment), 2001's Mean Machine (a remake of The Longest Yard), and, in dead-last place, 1993's Body Snatchers. Casumo’s analysis also looks at which remakes were more (and less) successful than their originals; The Departed was understandably far more successful than Infernal Affairs, while The Wicker Man and Gus Van Sant’s Psycho were far less successful than the original films on which they were based.
Okay, so what can we learn here? Some remakes are good. Some are bad. Some are profitable. Others are not. The more you remake a film, the more you dilute its brand. We’re probably like two months away from people declaring 2018's A Star Is Born the best film of all-time. Perhaps most enlightening: There was a remake of The Longest Yard in 2001.