There’s nothing inherently wrong with a sequel, or a remake, or an adaptation. The Godfather Part II is two of those, and it’s one of the greatest movies ever. But they’ve become dirty words because it’s shocking when an original film is released, especially during the summer blockbuster season. Of the 10 most $$$uccessful movies this year, only one, San Andreas, is “new”; the rest have numbers in the titles, or were based on books, comic or otherwise.
I decided to take a look and see if this is a new phenomenon. Below, you’ll find the 10 top-grossing movies for every year since 1990, divided by whether they’re Original or an Adaptation/Remake/Sequel.
Some notes: I counted all the James Bond movies as Adaptation/Remake/Sequel, because even though Skyfall told a new story, it’s still the 23rd film in a series that’s based on a book character. But the first Pirates of the Caribbean is Original (it’s not as if the Disney ride has a plot), as is The LEGO Movie. Films based on real-life events were evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Titanic is Original because the story isn’t lifted from a specific book, unlike Adaptation/Remake/Sequel Schindler’s List, which is.
(Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ is somewhere in the middle.)
It’s a judgment call. Now let’s solve Hollywood.
Original: Home Alone, Ghost, Pretty Woman, Kindergarten Cop
Adaptation/Remake/Sequel: Dances with Wolves, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Hunt for Red October, Total Recall, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Dick Tracy
Original: City Slickers
Adaptation/Remake/Sequel: Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Beauty and the Beast, The Silence of the Lambs, Hook, The Addams Family, Sleeping with the Enemy, Father of the Bride, The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear
Original: Sister Act, The Bodyguard, Basic Instinct, A League of Their Own
Adaptation/Remake/Sequel: Aladdin, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Batman Returns, Lethal Weapon 3, A Few Good Men, Wayne’s World
Original: Sleepless in Seattle, In the Line of Fire, Cliffhanger
Adaptation/Remake/Sequel: Jurassic Park, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Fugitive, The Firm, Indecent Proposal, The Pelican Brief, Schindler’s List
Original: The Lion King, The Santa Clause, Dumb and Dumber, Speed, Pulp Fiction
Adaptation/Remake/Sequel: Forrest Gump, True Lies, The Flintstones, Clear and Present Danger, The Mask
Original: Toy Story, Se7en
Adaptation/Remake/Sequel: Batman Forever, Apollo 13, Pocahontas, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, GoldenEye, Jumanji, Casper, Die Hard: With a Vengeance