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Hollywood remaking tons of Asian films


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13 replies to this topic

#1 of 14 OFFLINE   JohnAP

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Posted June 13 2003 - 09:01 AM

I got the new issue of Entertainment Weekly today and there's a two page article in News and Notes about the current Hollywood obsession with buying the rights to Asian films to remake as American productions. Does this practice disturb anyone else? Though the original films may see an R1 dvd release down the line (as in the case of Ringu), the studios buying the rights have little interest in making the original film available to U.S. audiences. I know they believe that American audiences hate subtitles despite the box-office successes of Crouching Tiger or Life Is Beautiful. Maybe there's some truth to this, though those films at least proved that there is a market for a good foreign film if given the right promotional push. I'd just like to say to Hollywood "Newsflash! These movies are already made!" Give a good Asian film the right promotion and it can find success. Perhaps it might not make quite as much as the remakes you are planning to use as vehicles for Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lopez, and Queen Latifa, among others, but they'll also cost you less and you'll get to help introduce American audiences to a whole nother world of cinema. Just a thought. Anyone else have anything to say about this.

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   Simon_Lepine

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Posted June 13 2003 - 09:16 AM

I think it's nothing new, Hollywood has been doing this for a while now.

There was a period where french movies were the rage: stuff like 3 Man and a Baby, Pure Luck, The Birdcage and Fathers' Day come to mind.

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Elizabeth S

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Posted June 13 2003 - 09:21 AM

It IS amazing how many people are turned off by subtitled films, though. They're much too lazy to go to the movies "to read" when they want to "relax". So I can almost understand the Hollywood compulsion to remake a tried-and-successful story, and give it the American spin. While Hollywood seems more focused on Asian cinema recently, the rip-off remake has certainly been around with such films as "Vanilla Sky" and "The Vanishing" (horrid!). I love foreign films and have more than likely seen or will see the original anyway -- it's almost intriguing trying to figure out what changes will be made for the Americanized version. I'm most curious about the upcoming remake of the Japanese film "Chaos". I have no doubt whatsoever that the ending will be totally changed, as I see no way that ending will play with American audiences. (Though that's the very reason the ending image sticks with me -- it's so uniquely Japanese! ) Yes, I certainly wish people would just have the opportunity to support the original version. However, perhaps the best we can hope for is that the American remake will prompt viewers to seek out the (more-than-likely) superior original.

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   JohnAP

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Posted June 13 2003 - 09:35 AM

Yeah, it's been happening for along time (The Magnificent Seven anyone?) and I'm not trying to codemn the American versions of The Ring or Insomnia or many others, which aren't bad films. I just think that Hollywood should give these films a chance or at least look at them as possibly being able to find success as they are without replacing the cast with English-speaking white folks. Perhaps what disturbs me is not as much that the films get remade, but that studios are buying the rights to these films without any intention of making the originals available to American audiences, making the American version the only option. The Eye, which Tom Cruise is remaking, is currently in very limited release here, but I doubt it will ever come to a theater outside a major city. If a studio gave it the right push and got it in theaters, perhaps a remake wouldn't be necessary.

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted June 13 2003 - 10:15 AM

[quote] I know they believe that American audiences hate subtitles despite the box-office successes of Crouching Tiger or Life Is Beautiful. Maybe there's some truth to this, though those films at least proved that there is a market for a good foreign film if given the right promotional push. [quote] Those were pretty atypical, though - they were made by and starred people who already had some small amount of name recognition and were also willing and available to come to the United States to do press, and were also very much rooted in a specific time and place - remaking Crouching Tiger with a non-Chinese cast would require enough modification that it would no longer be the same story (though it could fall under the category of "interesting remake").

Besides, what about the foreign films that come to the US and disappear? Paramount couldn't get folks to see The Way Home, Columbia/Tri-Star couldn't get people into Time And Tide or The Crimson Rivers (for instance), Iron Monkey didn't do that hot for Miramax, Universal couldn't get audiences for 8 Women and did okay but certainly didn't get the CTHD numbers they were hoping for with Brotherhood Of The Wolf, although you can't say they didn't try.

Folks "don't want to read" when they see a genre film, although many will put up with it for a major, prestige picture. I sort of agree with the feeling, to a certain extent: Subtitles are not always the best way to watch a foreign film. I've certainly found myself annoyed during fast-paced, visual films when my eyes are taken away from the action by the subtitles, or when I have to guess which word is being stressed in a comedy. So remaking these movies isn't wholly a bad thing, if it removes a barrier between the story and the audience.
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#6 of 14 OFFLINE   StevenK

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Posted June 13 2003 - 10:16 AM

This reminds me of the "Disney remaking movies with CGI" thread, but much more civil Posted Image

I usually prefer the original over the remake, but in the case of the Ring, I actually preferred the American version. I also understand that not all people are comfortable with subtitles...some just don't read as fast, at all, or simply to tired to keep up. Moreover, Asian films tend to have nuances and cultural references that are easily lost on American audiences.

At least Hollywood is bringing some light to these great films.

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Dan Rudolph

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Posted June 13 2003 - 11:19 AM

What it comes down to is dubbing doesn't work well for live-action and many people have trouble following subtitles. Plus there are cultural barriers. And the US remakes can generally get a bigger budget and be flashier. The foreign originals are often regarded as a proof of concept more than a movie in and of themselves in the US. In most cases, I like the US remakes more. OF course, thsi largely because I'm an American and the remakes are aimed at me and the originals weren't.
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#8 of 14 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted June 14 2003 - 08:17 AM

And since these nuances are "lost on American audiences" what does that say about our country? That it's time to get in touch with things that happen outside our borders. The worst thing is when the studio will buy a film and sit on it, intending to remake it, and then when they finally release it, it's dub only and/or has 20 minutes lopped out for no good reason. Shall we Dance? only works as a Japanese film, it depends on a different cultural ruleset, and no matter how many Richard Geres or J-Los you throw at it that won't change Miramax supposedly has the rights to Battle Royale (remake only) and a horrific new script. Again, the ENTIRE point of the film is gone.

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted June 14 2003 - 09:11 AM

[quote] Miramax supposedly has the rights to Battle Royale (remake only) and a horrific new script. Again, the ENTIRE point of the film is gone. [quote]
Two hours of a highschool class killing each-other off. Yeah.. This'll be really good after the Hollywood PR/PC machine is done with it Posted Image

But on the same topic, I can't recommend the original film's DVD enough. Excellant picture , thunderous LFE, and the movie has the best score I've heard since...um....ever.

But a Disney/Miramax DVD re-authoring of Shaolin Soccer I wouldn't mind. The subtitles are terrible!

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#10 of 14 OFFLINE   JohnAP

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Posted June 14 2003 - 11:41 AM

Oh god, a remake of Battle Royale would be terrible. I can just imagine it recast with a bunch or wb actors. Still, I don't think that will ever really happen. Ditto on new subs for the Shaolin Soccer R1 dvd, although I'd rather watch it with the current subs than the dub that's going to be hitting theaters. Dubbing a live action film just doesn't work. When I first saw the trailer they're using for the American release, I was very dissapointed. Still, at least they're not trying to remake it and I'm sure their dvd release will include the original language/music track. I don't want to be a film snob about this whole remake thing, it just seems to me that the U.S. is way too secluded when it comes to cinema, not to mention everything else. Our movies are seen in every country that has movie theaters, but only one or two films from outside the U.S. are given wide releases here and only get there through word of mouth promotion. It doesn't make sense to me and I refuse to believe there's no audience here.

#11 of 14 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted June 14 2003 - 12:37 PM

[quote] dub that's going to be hitting theaters. Dubbing a live action film just doesn't work. When I first saw the trailer they're using for the American release, I was very dissapointed. Still, at least they're not trying to remake it and I'm sure their dvd release will include the original language/music track. [quote]

Posted Image

This is MIRAMAX! Also known as MiramAXE, infamous for chopping up and dub only-ing Asian cinema on a regular basis

In fact I challenge anyone to name a Hong Kong film that's even been released at the original running time from them. According to reports they decided the opening 5 minutes that introduce the entrie antagonist/protagonist situation was unneccessary, because they had to cut SOMETHING!

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Brook K

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Posted June 14 2003 - 07:10 PM

Is Jim Carrey still going to remake God Of Cookery?
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#13 of 14 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted June 15 2003 - 03:05 PM

[quote] Ditto on new subs for the Shaolin Soccer R1 dvd [quote]

Which DVD is this? I thought that wasn't out yet...

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#14 of 14 OFFLINE   Fredrik Olsson

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Posted June 15 2003 - 11:00 PM

I can't understand this about cultural barriers and why some people don't want to see a film just because it isn't targeted for their specific culture!?

It's exactly the cultural differences that make me love foreign film. To get a glimpse into another culture there history, society etcetera. And also the art of the film itself. There are so many god directors around the world with there unique style both when it comes to visuals and how they chose to present the story. Not forgetting all the compositors, actors and everybody ells that's involved in making a film. It all sums up in a unique experience and an a bigger comprehension for other cultures. Not to forget how interesting it is to see how things work in other places of the world when it comes to family, honour, work, celebrations, food, marriage, school, abortion, how people live... I could probably go on forever but I will spare you that Posted Image

I'm not a big fan of remakes but I believe they do serve a purpose, apart from being a accessorie to a big bowl of popcorn and a coke, and that's hopefully introducing people to the originals so that maybe they may widen there horizons and not miss out on all the wonderful foreign film out there.

I believe the companies could make a lot off money if they were to promote the dvd-release of the original movie at the same time they showed the remake on the big screen. I mean, if they are going to release it anyway why not make use of the publicity for the remake to kick of the sales of the original.




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