OPINION: Foreign films are too often unfairly stolen by American filmmakers


Tatiana Serrano-Zeledon

Oftentimes, American remakes of foreign films garner more revenue, which is unfair to original creators.

Though some people are comfortable watching a movie in a foreign language with subtitles, many still enjoy watching movies in English. “Godzilla” is one of these movies and was originally made in Japan but remade as an American version. Because people tend to watch the American remake, foreign directors are earning less money on their films. Americans should come up with their own ideas rather than copying them from other countries.

Every year, hundreds of films are created internationally, but most of them go overlooked. This could be because of bad advertising or because audiences dislike reading subtitles. According to IndieWire, a website that evaluates film, there was approximately a 61 percent decline in foreign movies shown in America in the last number of years.

According to The Wrap, a news organization that covers the entertainment business, the American remake of “Godzilla” (2014) earned $200.6 million in contrast to its Japanese predecessor in 1954 that had originally made about only $2 million during its height of popularity. Not only did American filmmakers steal the idea from Japan, they used it to earn more money.

Similar to “Godzilla,” the French movie “The Intouchables” (2011) was remade by Americans in 2017 but was called “The Upside.” The list goes on, including recent films such as “Alita: Battle Angel,” (2019) an American remake based on the Japanese manga by Yukito Kishiro.

The bottom line is that American film industries are not using their imagination to the fullest but are instead copying ideas from other countries to make more money.

While creating original films should take precedence, American film industries should put their own and possibly contemporary spin on remakes and not create the exact same film as the original if they are going to use ideas from foreign markets. This would be more beneficial since they can still use the original content but incorporate their own idea to create an original movie while paying homage to the inspirational film.

If producers don’t add unique ideas, they are just remaking a movie without originality simply for profit. Further, remaking films can be offensive to the original creators and can also be seen as creative or intellectual theft.

To combat this, companies should start imposing stricter copyright rules or other laws to protect foreign movies and film ideas from being copied by American filmmakers. Further, when remakes are released, American theaters should promote the original film to help people appreciate the original version as well as the remake.