Investigation“The remakemania” (2/6). In order to seduce the American public allergic to works in a foreign language, the films which attempt to cross the border are adapted en masse in a version “made in the USA”, Hollywood imposing de facto English on the international film market… To the point to make the remake a saving in itself.
Eric Toledano is doubled over when he tells it. Untouchables, the film he made in 2011 with his friend Olivier Nakache, recorded 50 million admissions worldwide. It has also been the subject of multiple remakes: in India, Argentina, South Korea … But in theaters of Cairo, circulating an unauthorized version, Saber and rady, whose director, Akram Farid, swears against all odds that it has nothing to do with the original. “I have never seen a French film”, pleads for his defense the Egyptian. Hair of directors.
Counterfeiting is punishable by law … But if the copy is made under contract, that changes everything. But on this, the Americans are kings. In this country allergic to foreign language films, we have always preferred to adapt the successes of the rest of the world than to offer dubbing or subtitles. To interpret the supercharged father of The mess is in the bag in 1991, remake ofOscar by Edouard Molinaro (1967), Sylvester Stallone will always be better than Louis de Funès. And a lot of big boxes from French cinema, The Cage aux folles to Stupid dinner, will have had their version made in the USA.
The epicenter of cinematographic creation, Hollywood studios are paradoxically the first to systematically grab the “adaptation rights” of works from around the world – in 2010, an ad hoc exhibition, The Remakes Market, even was created in Los Angeles. For a small sum (around ten thousand euros), these rights allow them, following a roundtable, to complete a production budget, a few percentages of which will ultimately revert to the creators of the original. .
Untouchables was thus acquired on the strength of eight minutes viewed in Cannes, even before the film was released in France. Did the French director duo have a veto right over The Upside (In a different light, in French), the American version with Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston and Nicole Kidman, released in 2017? “When you are in our shoes and you hear that the Americans want to buy, you are not going to negotiate”, answers Eric Toledano with a smile. “We’re not going to tell you that we prefer the copy to the original, grimaces the filmmaker. The first half hour fits our film pretty well, even though they’ve merged characters. But afterwards, they distort the scenario: it becomes more a story of love than friendship. Is it because we don’t bring in Nicole Kidman without refocusing the film on her? “ And Olivier Nakache grimaces in his turn: “We wouldn’t do a remake, anyway. “
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