Remakes, Sequels and Prequels

Lucy Mazdon

in Cinema and Media Studies

ISBN: 9780199791286
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:
Remakes, Sequels and Prequels


Remakes, sequels, and prequels have long been prominent elements of Hollywood production. Since the very early days of silent cinema and the realization of the need for an increasing supply of films to meet growing audience demand, the remake—along with the sequel and the series—have become Hollywood’s stock in trade. The remake is one element of a much broader tradition of cinematic reworking: the adaptation of a literary text, “true story,” or mythic theme; adaptation from another audiovisual medium; the reworking of earlier films and/or screenplays; and parody and pastiche. However the term “remake” is commonly understood to refer to films based on an earlier film and/or screenplay: for example, sound remakes of silent films, the reworking of films from one cultural context in a new cultural context (Hollywood and Bollywood most typically) and “auto remakes” or films made twice by the same director. Thus the remake can cross both temporal and spatial boundaries as it reproduces existing material for new audiences. Like the remake, the sequel and the prequel are the product of a particular relationship with an earlier film. Given their long history both in Hollywood and elsewhere it is perhaps surprising that these practices should have received only scant critical attention—much of it highly dismissive. To a great extent this critical hostility and/or silence is due to the perceived commercial imperatives of both remaking and the production of sequels and prequels: typically all are seen as little more than symptomatic of Hollywood’s drive for profits. However, remake, sequel, and prequel should not merely be seen as industrial categories. They can also be viewed as complex textual artifacts through their reworkings and referencing of earlier films and the potential they offer for intertextual modes of reception.

Article.  5216 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies ; Film ; Radio ; Television

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »