Tracing 100 Years of Movie Remakes
With Aladdin, Pet Sematary, and The Lion King hitting theaters in the coming months, 2019 is set to be a big year for movie remakes. But refreshing cinema's biggest crowd-pleasers isn't a trick that Hollywood learned recently. The film industry has been remaking movies for most of its history, as musicMagpie shows in their breakdown of 100 years of remakes.
To calculate their data, musicMagpie analyzed 1438 films from 1902 through the present day. They found that A Christmas Carol is the most remade film of all time: Seven versions of Charles Dickens's classic story have been made for the screen since 1935. Albert Finney, Michael Caine, Patrick Stewart, and Jim Carrey are just a few of the actors who have played Ebenezer Scrooge.
On average, Hollywood waits about 23 years before producing a remake of an original film. Once the first remake is released, the gap between any subsequent remakes gets shorter. The longest audiences have had to wait for a remake was 80 years, when the remake of the 1920 film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari came out in 2005. The new Dumbo movie from Tim Burton comes close to that record: When it hits theaters next month, 78 years will have passed since the original 1941 Disney film.
It may feel like remakes are more popular than ever, but they've actually declined in popularity in the last 10 years or so. The 2000s saw the most remakes of any decade, with an average of 19 a year. In 2005, a record-breaking 33 remakes made it to the big screen.
You can find the full list of statistics on movie remakes here. And if you're looking to go even deeper, you can check out these remakes that were remakes of other remakes, and these directors who remade their own films.