Why We Remake Certain Movies Over and Over Again

This is a good follow up to my post from earlier today on the movie reboots.

Ars Technica: New study could explain why we remake certain movies over and over again:

It’s the question that every movie fan asks in summer: why are there so many remakes and sequels and reboots? It turns out that science may have an answer. Unfortunately, if you’re hoping for more original stories, the prognosis is not good.

Two network theorists in the Netherlands, Folgert Karsdorp and Antal van den Bosch, just published a study on story networks in Royal Society Open Science. Story networks, they write, are “streams of retellings in which retellers modify and adapt retellings in a gradual and accumulative way.” There is also a basic structure that seems to underly how these networks function. To explore retellings, the researchers looked at more than 200 versions of the Little Red Riding Hood story, which had been retold over the past two centuries. They measured the stories’ similarity to one another with the amusingly named “bag-of-words” technique, which reveals how many words two texts have in common. Then they created a network diagram showing relatedness between stories over time. Earlier stories became what the researchers called “pre-texts” that inspired later retellings.

Once again, everything is a remix.