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Japanese remake of Ghost by Hollywood

Ghost.jpgI think we've seen it all now haven't we? Can't we stop this remake nonsense already? Mind you, here's a time where I think a remake might actually work, where a Hollywood studio remakes its own film for a foreign market, in this case the Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore led Ghost.

Of course it does depend how the Japanese audiences view foreign films, do they prefer the original with subtitles or dubbed in their own language, or would they welcome a remake, a re-interpretation of the film taking account of their culture?

Well I say that but of course the studio could be lazy and just translate the entire film into Japanese with a Japanese location and stars, but I'm not entirely convinced that would be the way to make it work.

Speaking about the remake of Ghost Paramount Japan marketing director Hisamichi Kinomoto said through Reuters and First Showing:

"We have this great property...If the essence of that story appeals to Japanese, we should use it to attract new audiences."

Yes, they should, so why not release it dubbed and/or subtitled? Is there really such a specific requirement to see a Japanese version of the same film?

Business wise I can see it working, it could well draw in more Japanese people because as the Japanese audience demand for US films has fallen, they won't see this as a US film and might well be fooled into going to see it.

The Reuters article tries to explain things:

Hollywood ruled Japanese box offices for two straight decades into the mid-2000s, but has since struggled to compete as tastes change and audiences favor local films based on familiar "manga" comic books and TV series over the recent slew of U.S. superhero movies.

Now that just sounds overly simplistic and throws everything into neat little categories. There's been a lot more output recently than just Superhero films, and Ghost really doesn't fit into that bracket does it? What about The Cove (Filmstalker review)?!

The facts are interesting though, now foreign films account for 43% of the marketplace in Japan instead of 73% in 2002. Isn't 43% good in a foreign marketplace? Isn't 73% looking to dominate and crush the marketplace?

Aside from all this, none of which is very relevant to the remake of Ghost, I'm torn. While I can see benefit in a remake of a U.S. film to fit local cultures and use local talent - Nanako Matsushima and Song Seung Heon are set for the Moore and Swayze leads respectively - I just can't help but think it's another needless remake. Wouldn't the original with subtitles be better?

After all, if we flip the idea around, I hate seeing original foreign films remade and lose their magic, I prefer the original with subtitles.



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