As the old adage goes, “There are no new stories; it all depends on how you handle them.” Or, how you make audiences want to buy another ticket. Remakes have been a part of Hollywood for decades — Alfred Hitchcock made The Man Who Knew Too Much twice — but the process has seemingly sped up in recent years: This summer, Sony is reviving Total Recall after just 22 years. Is that too soon? Audiences will decide, but here’s a look at Hollywood’s recent obsession with remake culture — and how the box office has responded. Arthur (2011) Years between: 30 years Reboot/remake worldwide gross: $46.6 million If the underwhelming Arthur taught Hollywood anything, it’s that Russell Brand is no Dudley Moore.
King Kong (2005) Years between: 29 years Reboot/remake worldwide gross: $646.8 million From Middle-earth to the middle of Manhattan. Peter Jackson used his technical prowess to bring the classic film King Kong back to the big screen after 29 years — and 72 years after the original.
Ocean’s ELEVEN (2001) Years between: 41 years Reboot/remake worldwide gross: $584.3 million The rare remake that actually improves on the original — both in gross and content. Steven Soderbergh turned Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack classic into a playground for George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts. It worked.
Get Carter (2000) Years between: 29 years Reboot/remake worldwide gross: $25.8 million The revenge thriller flopped at the box office, pushing star Sylvester Stallone back to what he does best: Playing Rocky and Rambo.
Fright Night (2011) Years between: 26 years Reboot/remake worldwide gross: $41.8 million Last summer, Colin Farrell had no box-office luck with Fright Night, a genre classic remake. Fingers crossed his remake of Total Recall, another genre classic, fares better here in 2012.
Casino Royale (2006) Years between: 4 Reboot/remake worldwide gross: $676.4 million Just four years after Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry made the derided Bond film Die Another Day, the franchise was rebooted back to square one with Daniel Craig. Casino Royale made 007 dark and brooding, but that didn’t stop audiences from showing up in droves.
War of the Worlds (2005) Years between: 52 Reboot/remake worldwide gross: $695.3 million Steven Spielberg dusted off H.G. Wells’ classic novel, and added some harrowing 9/11 imagery and Tom Cruise. The results are the most successful reboot ever — at least until The Amazing Spider-Man shuffles out of theaters.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) Years between: 5 Reboot/remake worldwide gross: $654 million (and counting) Sony was chastised for rebooting the Spider-Man franchise just five years after Spider-Man 3, but the studio has had the last laugh. Amazing Spider-Man could top $800 million worldwide, making it he biggest reboot ever.
Alfie (2005) Years between: 39 years Reboot/remake worldwide gross: $41.3 million What’s it all about, Alfie? Apparently, an unwanted remake. Like Get Carter, this was another failed attempt at remaking a once-successful Michael Caine film.
This story originally appeared in Huffington, in the iTunes App store.