Summary

  • Movies that heavily rely on the prestige of their predecessors often fail to stand on their own, lacking the quality and charm of the originals.
  • Remakes and reboots that attempt to recreate the success of iconic films often fall short, lacking character development and originality.
  • While some films may achieve monetary success, they often fail to capture the essence and cultural impact of the originals they are trying to emulate.


Whether a traditional reboot or a chock-full of references to the original work, movies that rely heavily on the prestige of their predecessors are often destined to fail. In recent years, there has been an uptick in revivals of well-known IPs featuring new casts, or bringing back older actors who have been with the franchise since the beginning. However, this practice of mining the past to pay for the future is a tradition that has existed since storytelling started. If done right, an homage to a classic movie can be a great aspect of a film.

Unfortunately, what often happens instead is that the modern film fails to stand on its own, and can’t live up to the success of the first film. This can be due to the writing, performances, or overall production value, but it’s always clear to audiences when a film will not be remembered as well as the original. These films may not fail monetarily, and might even go on to incur a franchise themselves, but that doesn’t mean that their quality can ever live up to the originals.


10 The Meg (2018)

Copied: Jaws (1975)

Jason Statham in The Meg.

The Meg

Release Date
August 10, 2018

Director
Jon Turteltaub

Cast
Jason Statham , Rainn Wilson , Robert Taylor , Page Kennedy , Bingbing Li , Cliff Curtis , Jessica McNamee , Ólafur Darri Ólafsson , Ruby Rose , Masi Oka

Runtime
113 Minutes

Writers
James Vanderbilt

Studio(s)
Gravity Pictures , Di Bonaventura Pictures , Apelles Entertainment , Maeday Productions , Flagship Entertainment Group

Distributor(s)
Warner Bros. Pictures

Steven Spielberg has said he regrets the impact Jaws had on sharks due to the way the film shifted public perception of the creatures. While The Meg also deals with the dangers of sharks, it presents an even more improbable story, that an extinct megalodon shark has been waiting deep in the ocean and has returned after millions of years. This concept may not have impacted the lives of sharks as much as Jaws did, but it didn’t impact the culture as much either. Unfortunately, The Meg didn’t capture the power and charm that the original did.

Jaws was so successful because it didn’t try to deal with an enormous scale, choosing to focus on the effect one shark had on one small town. The character development and interpersonal dynamics were just as compelling as the hunt for the shark. In The Meg, the filmmakers attempted too much, and making the scale and stakes too high drowned out any heart that the film might’ve had. Though The Meg is the type of film that’s harmless fun, it could only be compared to Jaws through its shark connection.

9 Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)

Copied: Lady Snowblood (1973)

Kill Bill

Release Date
October 10, 2003

Cast
David Carradine , Michael Madsen , Uma Thurman , Daryl Hannah , Lucy Liu , Vivica A. Fox

Runtime
111 minutes

Franchise(s)
Kill Bill

Kill Bill: Vol 1 has many elements of a great film. The action is well-choreographed, Uma Thruman gives a dedicated performance, and Quentin Tarantino supplies his keen directorial eye. However, it completely steals its concept from Lady Snowblood but lacks its cultural roots and leans toward exoticism instead of appreciation of the traditional elements of samurai culture. Positioning the Asian characters as outsiders and the white woman as the violent “hero” could have been an interesting allegory for Western imperialism, but the film takes the side of The Bride (Thurman).

8 Jurassic World (2015)

Original: Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic World Indominus Rex Escape

Jurassic World

Release Date
June 12, 2015

Director
Colin Trevorrow

Runtime
124 minutes

Writers
Amanda Silver , Colin Trevorrow , Rick Jaffa , Derek Connolly

Studio(s)
Universal Pictures

Distributor(s)
Universal Pictures

Another attempt at capturing the magic of a Spielberg summer blockbuster, Jurassic World, doesn’t have the magic of Jurassic Park and forgets the most important origins of the original movie. Jurassic Park had such a charismatic cast because it introduced Ellie (Laura Dern) and Alan (Sam Neill), who had just as much appreciation for the dinosaurs as hesitation about their existence. Additionally, Jurassic World leans into the exploitation and capitalist gain of the park without following through on an honest critique of it. The budget and the action scenes are increased, but the message is lost in the chaos.

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7 Ghost In The Shell (2017)

Original: Ghost In The Shell (1995)

Scarlett Johansson laying on a bed while machines work on restructuring her body in Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell

Release Date
March 31, 2017

Director
Rupert Sanders

Cast
Chin Han , Michael Pitt , Juliette Binoche , Rila Fukushima , Scarlett Johansson , Pilou Asbæk

Runtime
1h 47m

Writers
William Wheeler , Jamie Moss

Studio(s)
Paramount Pictures

Distributor(s)
Paramount Pictures

Ghost In The Shell starring Scarlett Johansson has been widely acknowledged as a failure to end the whitewashing of roles meant for people of color. The original film is an anime that draws heavy inspiration from films like Blade Runner but is distinctly Japanese in its themes and stylization. Casting Johansson as Motoko was a decision that not only tanked the film’s performance but made it subject to derision. This is a shame as the initial Ghost In The Shell is full of gorgeous set pieces that could have been beautiful when brought to live action in a faithful adaptation.

6 Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny (2023)

Original: Raiders Of The Lost Arc (1981)

Indiana Jones riding a horse on Moon Day in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Indiana Jones is one of the best-known action-adventure franchises of all time, and having Harrison Ford reprise his role as Indiana was a compelling twist for the recent reboot, Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny. However, the franchise had already had one failure in the 2008 Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, and the latest film did little to fix its mistakes. Despite putting Indy back on the horse and having him get up to his usual adventures, the mystery and sense of adventure were not present in the film.

What made the Indiana Jones films so special was the feeling that the audience was being led into a hidden world they had never experienced before. Yes, the original films still incorporated adventure movie tropes, but they are also credited with creating some of them. The latest movie had the opportunity to tread new ground and capitalize on setting the tone for a modern take on the adventures but ended up copying the formula of the old films to diminished success.

5 Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (2005)

Original: Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)

Living up to Gene Wilder’s performance as the iconic Willy Wonka is an enormous task, and though both films have unsettling elements, the 2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was too surreal. Based on Roald Dhal’s children’s book, the story is full of magical realism and isn’t afraid to put the children in real danger, but the second film leans too heavily into making the elements that should be charming and mystical downright creepy. Additionally, Johnny Depp’s performance as Wonka is the most otherworldly take on the chocolatier, making it unlikely that any child would want to take after him.

4 The Fast And The Furious (2001)

Copied: Point Break (1991)

Dom and Brian sitting on a car with their friends in The Fast and the Furious

The Fast And The Furious

Release Date
June 22, 2001

Director
Rob Cohen

Cast
Jordana Brewster , Michelle Rodriguez , Rick Yune , Vin Diesel , Paul Walker

Runtime
106 minutes

Writers
Gary Scott Thompson , David Ayer , Erik Bergquist

Studio(s)
Universal Pictures

Distributor(s)
Universal Pictures

Though the Fast and Furious franchise has gone on to become a massive success monetarily, few take the films seriously, and in comparison to the film that inspired the first movie, it’s practically a flop. Point Break starred Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze as the undercover FBI agent and the criminal surfer he pursues. The Fast and the Furious follows the same format with Paul Walker and Vin Diesel taking on those roles, but they don’t have the chemistry of Reeves and Swayze or the star power.

Additionally, Furious doesn’t have the same stakes as Point Break, which ends in the death of Swayze’s character and doesn’t develop the relationship between Walker and Diesel half as well. Trading in surfing and bank robberies for illegal car racing might have been more relevant, and the car chase scenes are compelling, but it’s clear that action took precedence over the story in the film. Though Point Break isn’t a perfect movie, it manages to have more substance than most of the Fast and Furious films put together.

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3 13 Going On 30 (2004)

Copied: Big (1988)

Jennifer Garner dancing on bed in 13 going on 30

13 Going on 30

Release Date
April 13, 2004

Director
Gary Winick

Runtime
98minutes

Writers
Gary Winick

Studio(s)
Sony

Distributor(s)
Columbia Pictures , Sony

Jennifer Garner is perfectly charming as Jenna in 13 Going On 30, a romantic comedy where she makes a wish as a preteen and wakes up in the body of her 30-year-old self. However, while the film borrows the child-in-an-adult-body concept from Big, starring Tom Hanks, it fails to deliver on its best themes. 13 Going On 30 focuses on fixing Jenna’s mistakes in her adult life, namely her love life. Big lets Josh (Hanks) realize that he shouldn’t wish away his childhood and that he still has a lot to learn in a more sympathetic story arc.

2 Palm Springs (2020)

Copied: Groundhog Day (1993)

Sarah and Nyles by the side of the road in Palm Springs

Palm Springs

Release Date
July 10, 2020

Director
Max Barbakow

Cast
Dale Dickey , Jena Friedman , Camila Mendes , Cristin Milioti , Meredith Hagner , Conner O’Malley , Tyler Hoechlin , Chris Pang , June Squibb , Andy Samberg , Tongayi Chirisa , Brian Duffy , J. K. Simmons , Peter Gallagher , Jacqueline Obradors

Runtime
90 minutes

Writers
Andy Siara

Studio(s)
Hulu

Distributor(s)
Hulu

Groundhog Day is a classic for a reason, and trying to redo what the film already perfected wasn’t the best use of the talent in Palm Springs. Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti created easy characters to spend time with, but what makes Groundhog Day fun is how unlikable Phil (Bill Murray) is at the beginning of the film. He has a lot of personal growth to do and has to do it alone. In Palm Springs, both Samberg and Milioti are in the time loop together, making their falling in love inevitable, and decreasing the stakes of the plot.

1 The Mummy (2017)

Original: The Mummy (1999)

The Mummy

Release Date
June 9, 2017

Director
Alex Kurtzman

Runtime
1h 50m

Writers
Christopher McQuarrie , Jon Spaihts

Studio(s)
Universal Pictures

Distributor(s)
Universal Pictures

Though there are many franchises that Tom Cruise could help reboot, The Mummy wasn’t one of them. Though Cruise is one of the last remaining classic movie stars in Hollywood, he couldn’t save The Mummy from losing the charm of the first film. The 1999 The Mummy was a touch gritty and campy, making the world the characters inhabited feel real and full of mystery. In the new The Mummy, the story attempts to read more like an action movie than an adventure and lacks the intimate feel of the now-classic original.



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