The term "remake" is generally used in reference to a movie which uses an earlier movie as the main source material, rather than in reference to a second, later movie based on the same source. For example, 2001's Ocean's Eleven is a remake of Ocean's 11, while 1989's Batman is a re-interpretation of the comic book source material which also inspired 1966's Batman. In 1998, Gus Van Sant produced an almost shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho.
With the exception of shot-for-shot remakes, most remakes make significant character, plot, genre and theme changes. For example, the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair is centered on a bank robbery, while its 1999 remake involves the theft of a valuable piece of artwork. The 1999 remake of The Mummy was viewed primarily as "a reimagining" in a different genre (adventure). Similarly, when the 1969 film The Italian Job was remade in 2003, few aspects were carried over. Another example is the 1932 film Scarface which was remade in 1983 starring Al Pacino; whereas the setting of 1932 version is the illegal alcohol trade, the characters in the 1983 version are involved in cocaine smuggling.
Sometimes a remake is made by the same director. For example, Yasujirō Ozu's black-and-white A Story of Floating Weeds was remade into the color Floating Weeds. Alfred Hitchcock remade his 1934 black-and-white The Man Who Knew Too Much in color in 1956. Tick Tock Tuckered, released in 1944, was a color remake of Porky's Badtime Story, released in 1937 with Daffy Duck in Gabby Goat's role. Cecil B. DeMille managed the same thing with his 1956 remake of his silent 1923 film The Ten Commandments. In 2008, Michael Haneke made Funny Games U.S., his English-language remake of his original Funny Games (this is also an example of a shot-for-shot remake), while Martin Campbell, director of the miniseries Edge of Darkness, directed the 2010 film adaptation.
Not all remakes use the same title as the previously released version; the 1966 film Walk, Don't Run, for example, is a remake of the World War II comedy The More the Merrier. This is particularly true for films that are remade from films produced in another language, such as: Point of No Return (from the French Nikita), Vanilla Sky (from the Spanish Abre los ojos), The Magnificent Seven (from the Japanese Seven Samurai), A Fistful of Dollars (from the Japanese Yojimbo), The Departed (from Hong Kong's Infernal Affairs), Secret in Their Eyes (from the Argentine El secreto de sus ojos) and Let Me In (from the Swedish film Let the Right One In or Låt den rätte komma in).
Although it is rare, some remakes are also sequels to the original film. In this situation essentially the remake repeats the same basic story of the original film, and may even use the same title, but also contains notable plot and storyline elements indicating the two films are set in "the same universe". An example of this type of remake is the 2000 film version of Shaft which was the second film adaptation of the original novel, but was also a canon storyline sequel to the original 1971 film adaptation.
The Italian film Perfect Strangers (Perfetti sconosciuti; 2016) was included in the Guinness World Records as it became the most remade film in cinema history, with a total of 18 versions of the film.
Remakes occur less often on television than in film, but have happened from time to time, especially since the early 21st century. Examples include Battlestar Galactica (1978, 2003), He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983, 2002), Knight Rider (1982, 2008), La Femme Nikita (1997, 2010), Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210, V (1992, 2009), Hawaii Five-O (1968, 2010), and Charlie's Angels (1976, 2011).
One area where television remakes are particularly common is trans-Atlantic ports, where British shows are remade for the US market or, less frequently, American shows are remade for the UK. For example Three's Company is an American remake of the British Man About the House: not only was the original show re-created (with very few character or situation changes initially), but both series had spin-offs based on the Ropers (in the UK, George And Mildred, in the US, The Ropers), and both series were eventually re-tooled into series based on the male lead (in the UK, Robin's Nest, in the US, Three's a Crowd).
A video game remake is a video game closely adapted from an earlier title, usually for the purpose of modernizing a game for newer hardware and contemporary audiences. Typically, a remake of such game software shares essentially the same title, fundamental gameplay concepts, and core story elements of the original game. Remakes are often made by the original developer or copyright holder, sometimes by the fan community. If created by the community, video game remakes are sometimes also called fan game and can be seen as part of the retrogaming phenomenon.
A relatively recent phenomenon in television production, re-versioning (also known as reversioning or revisioning) is the process of re-releasing an existing production or an entire series, updated in some form, as a "new" show. It is an alternative to a straight rerun of a series. This process should not to be confused with a retool, revival, reboot, remake, adaptation or spin-off of an existing production or an entire series as those actually are new.
Completed television shows that have already aired are re-edited or supplied with new voice-overs, graphics or music, and then aired, usually with a new title, often for a new audience. Sometimes the changes are relatively minor, as in the case of Prehistoric Planet, which was made from the original series Walking with Dinosaurs. Sometimes, though not always, this process may also include remastering. This can lead to the misconception that the two processes are one and the same, especially if the "remaster" part is emphasized in the "new" show, but they are not. One such example of this would be the "Remastered Edition" of the original Star Trek. Sometimes this process may also result in an abridgement, like in the case of Dragon Ball Z Kai which was made from Dragon Ball Z.
Other recent television series examples include the Transformers: Generation 2 animated series, which was made from the Transformers: Generation 1 animated series, NFL Network's NFL's Greatest Games series, American Idol Rewind, That's Funny! (a re-versioning of America's Funniest People), or the updated 2010 version of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers which introduced a new logo, alternative extra special effects and comic-book referenced graphics to the original 1993–1995 version of the show. The teen game show Peer Pressure was reversioned twice, with the second re-version renaming the show Pressure 2 to coincide with a new companion show, Pressure 1.
A re-versioned film is also possible. An example of a re-versioned film is Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily?, in which the director wrote new English dialogue for the Japanese film International Secret Police: Key of Keys for comic effect. A director's cut, extended cut or special edition of an existing film is generally not considered "new" as it is with a television production. However, these updated versions of films can be similar to a re-versioning depending on the extent of what is done. The updated versions of Superman II and the Star Wars Trilogy would be examples of films similar to a re-versioning.
- Adam, Keplerjuly (July 22, 2015). "In Hollywood, It's a Reboot by Any Other Name". The New York Times. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
- "'Perfetti Sconosciuti' da Guinness, la commedia di Genovese è il film con più remake di sempre". Repubblica Tv - la Repubblica.it (in Italian). 2019-07-15. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
- Fleming, Mike (February 9, 2011), "‘Glee’s Ryan Murphy Courted To Direct ‘Annie’ With Willow Smith". Deadline Hollywood.