The most remade movies of all time


Music Magpie has analyzed over 1,483 movies since 1902 to determine which ones have been remade the most, and the average time between original and remake. It turns out that the most remade movie of the last century is Scrooge, the festive favorite based on Charles Dickens’ novella, A Christmas Carol. Since the 1935 original, which starred Seymour Hicks as Ebenezer Scrooge, there have been seven remakes, with the most recent being the 2009 version with Jim Carey.

There are 13 films on the list produced by MM which have been remade five times, including Brewster’s Millions, Jungle Book and Robin Hood. Meanwhile, films of classic literature, like Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, and Oliver Twist have all seen success on the big screen, but directors seem to think they can improve on the last versions, and have remade each of them five times since the original releases.

According to the analysis, the average time between an original film and its first remake is 23 years, with this gap becoming shorter with each subsequent remake. The movie with the longest time between remakes was The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, with the original coming out in 1920 and the remake in 2005, 85 years later. Following closely behind is Dumbo, with 78 years between the 1941 original and 2019 remake, due out later this year.

Despite conventional wisdom, Hollywood is not currently at its peak when it comes to remakes. The noughties was the decade which saw the most remakes, with a total of 189, an average of 19 per year. It appears that 2005 came out on top overall, with an 33 remakes released that year, closely followed by 2004 with 30. Drama proved to be the most popular remake genre, followed by comedy, romance and horror.

According to IMDb ratings, the remakes in the conducted analysis received a score of 1.85 lower on average than their predecessor. However, this isn’t always the case. Reefer Madness saw the biggest rating increase, with the 2005 musical comedy remake earning an IMDb score of 7.1, while the 1936 original only managed a score of 3.7. At the other end of the scale, 2019’s The Upside, which stars Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart and Nicole Kidman, takes the crown as the worst remake of the last century. The 2011 French original, The Intouchables, earned a score of 8.5, being nominated for a number of other international awards. The American remake didn’t enjoy quite the same success, being panned by critics, and receiving a score of just 3.6 on IMDb.

Anyone care to mention their favorite remakes on here? You can discover more of Music Magpie’s data here: https://www.musicmagpie.co.uk/movie-remakes/

Published by

Martin Dew

editor

23 Comments

  1. The most unnecessary remakes:

    * Psycho (1998) — I still don’t understand how this movie ever got funding. A “shot-by-shot” remake of the original — but without Alfred Hitchcock directing. It may have been a “shot-by-shot” remake, but the second-by-second tension of the original was never there.

    * Total Recall (2012) — This thing started with a huge strike against it: No Arnold! Then it followed that up by setting all the action on an overpopulated Earth: No Mars! Why did they even call this thing “Total Recall”? Oh, yeah: The girl with 3 breasts!

    * Ben-Hur (2016) — This one never had a chance: The 1959 version — already a remake — is heavily ingrained as a cinema classic. Charlton Heston *is* Ben-Hur. And the movie is seemingly released every other year on various home video formats.

    A good remake:
    King Kong (2005) — While the original 1933 King Kong still has more heart, at least Jackson had the right idea: Redo a classic special effects monster movie with up to date CGI effects. Only problem: CGI effects were barely 10 years old in 2005 and have improved immensely since then (Blue Genies not withstanding). So he may have been about a decade too soon, and the movie is definitely a little bloated, but Jackson’s version is stiil the best rendition of “King Kong” to date and an overall improvement over the original.

  2. Joseph Bolus

    A good remake:
    King Kong (2005) — While the original 1933 King Kong still has more heart, at least Jackson had the right idea: Redo a classic special effects monster movie with up to date CGI effects. Only problem: CGI effects were barely 10 years old in 2005 and have improved immensely since then (Blue Genies not withstanding). So he may have been about a decade too soon, and the movie is definitely a little bloated, but Jackson’s version is stiil the best rendition of “King Kong” to date and an overall improvement over the original.

    I think the 2005 King Kong is fantastic (though I wouldn't say it's better than the original) but one of my favorite things about it is that you can see that Peter Jackson LOVES the original version and the whole thing is a love letter to the '33 one.

  3. Joseph Bolus

    The most unnecessary remakes:

    * Psycho (1998) — I still don’t understand how this movie ever got funding. A “shot-by-shot” remake of the original — but without Alfred Hitchcock directing. It may have been a “shot-by-shot” remake, but the second-by-second tension of the original was never there.

    * Total Recall (2012) — This thing started with a huge strike against it: No Arnold! Then it followed that up by setting all the action on an overpopulated Earth: No Mars! Why did they even call this thing “Total Recall”? Oh, yeah: The girl with 3 breasts!

    * Ben-Hur (2016) — This one never had a chance: The 1959 version — already a remake — is heavily ingrained as a cinema classic. Charlton Heston *is* Ben-Hur. And the movie is seemingly released every other year on various home video formats.

    A good remake:
    King Kong (2005) — While the original 1933 King Kong still has more heart, at least Jackson had the right idea: Redo a classic special effects monster movie with up to date CGI effects. Only problem: CGI effects were barely 10 years old in 2005 and have improved immensely since then (Blue Genies not withstanding). So he may have been about a decade too soon, and the movie is definitely a little bloated, but Jackson’s version is stiil the best rendition of “King Kong” to date and an overall improvement over the original.

    Want to add The Day the Earth Stood Still & Fahrenheit 451….very disappointed in both of them!

  4. Joseph Bolus

    * Psycho (1998) — I still don’t understand how this movie ever got funding.

    Gus Van Sant was coming off a massive hit with "Good Will Hunting" so he had box office clout.

    I also think the studio figured the novelty of the concept and the name value of the property would sell tickets…

  5. Joseph Bolus

    The most unnecessary remakes:

    * Psycho (1998) — I still don’t understand how this movie ever got funding. A “shot-by-shot” remake of the original — but without Alfred Hitchcock directing. It may have been a “shot-by-shot” remake, but the second-by-second tension of the original was never there.

    * Total Recall (2012) — This thing started with a huge strike against it: No Arnold! Then it followed that up by setting all the action on an overpopulated Earth: No Mars! Why did they even call this thing “Total Recall”? Oh, yeah: The girl with 3 breasts!

    * Ben-Hur (2016) — This one never had a chance: The 1959 version — already a remake — is heavily ingrained as a cinema classic. Charlton Heston *is* Ben-Hur. And the movie is seemingly released every other year on various home video formats.

    A good remake:
    King Kong (2005) — While the original 1933 King Kong still has more heart, at least Jackson had the right idea: Redo a classic special effects monster movie with up to date CGI effects. Only problem: CGI effects were barely 10 years old in 2005 and have improved immensely since then (Blue Genies not withstanding). So he may have been about a decade too soon, and the movie is definitely a little bloated, but Jackson’s version is stiil the best rendition of “King Kong” to date and an overall improvement over the original.

    That's a debate for another thread as I thought we were just discussing which movie has been remade more often.

  6. Johnny Angell

    Are the multiple variations of Frankenstein and Dracula considered remakes? If so, they might be the champions.

    I don't think of properties like those – or Robin Hood or Alice in Wonderland or Christmas Carol – as true "remakes".

    They're "re-adaptations", IMO.

    For me, a true "remake" has to be a new version of something that only existed as a movie/TV show, not another filmed version of a book or play.

    There are exceptions. For instance, the 1960 "Psycho" was based on a book, but the 1998 version was still clearly a remake of that film, not a new version of the novel.

    But otherwise, it's murky. The 2018 "Robin Hood" wasn't an actual remake of any prior movies – it was just another version of that story…

  7. A Star is Born of course has had plenty, but good stories can work; which makes me, reading through this list, remember that there could be opportunities for a few remakes that I think done in new time periods pay off..

    IE, a Brewster's Millions update today (let's say Billions?) could be fun.
    And while Robin Hood gets remade frequently, I keep waiting for someone to make: "Digital Robin Hood" make it a film like Ocean's 8/11 except the grand heist is, I don't know, wiping out tons of student loan debt. 😉

  8. Depends on how you define remake. If you take Shaw's Pygmalion, for instance, you have:

    • the 1935 German film
    • Hoi Polloi (1935 — the Three Stooges version)
    • the 1937 Dutch film
    • the 1938 British film (screenplay by Shaw)
    • My Fair Lady (1964)
    • The Opening of Misty Beethoven (the porn version)
    • Pretty Woman (1990)
    • She's All That (1999)
    • "Selfie" (2014 series with John Cho as Henry and Karen Gillan as Eliza)
    • The Duff (2015)
  9. The Time Machine has had 4 direct adaptations:

    1949 – Live tv program
    1960 – Theatrical motion picture
    1978 – TV movie
    2002 – Theatical motion picture

    I think I read they’re doing a tv series adaptation coming soon. I’m actually really interested in that. I wish I could see the 1949 version, but it was only broadcast and bot recorded.

  10. Since Martin asked "Anyone care to mention their favorite remakes on here?"

    The best remake that comes immediately to mind for me is John Carpenter's The Thing.

    I have a few personal favorite remakes, which most people tend to not like as much as the original, so I'm not exactly expecting any agreement about them.

    Let Me In (Let the Right One In)
    City of Angels (Wings of Desire)
    Sorcerer (Wages of Fear)
    The Ring (Ringu)

    Just a few that came to mind right away. I'm not including literature based movies that have multiple filmed versions.

Leave a Reply