Hollywood is known for reeling out sequel after sequel, often to the point where they begin to ‘beat a dead horse,’ so to speak. Every year, dozens of popular movies, TV shows, and books are revamped, recycled, or straight-up copied. But come January 1st, Hollywood has a chance to bring back a handful of iconic movies that have been long forgotten.
In 2023, heaps of movies will enter the public domain, and no doubt, studio executives and producers all over Hollywood are currently scratching their chins and rubbing their hands together in anticipation…
Public Domain Day
You might see January 1st as a day to lounge around and eat naughty food whilst perhaps nursing a delicate hangover. Hollywood, however, sees it as an exciting new year for making movies – and lots of them! While the year’s slate is already well and truly planned out, they can start planning for the next few years as well.
When original content such as a screenplay, a book, or a play is published and is issued a notice, that copyright protection lasts 95 years. After those 95 years, the domain is up for grabs again, and studios can then compete with each other to get the rights.
Last year the classic children’s character, Winnie the Pooh, entered public domain, and Hollywood threw a twisted take at us that we did not see coming. Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, a tale of a feral Pooh and Piglet who go on a killing spree after Christopher Robin goes to college, will hit our screens on February 5th, 2023. While many movie fanatics are super hyped up for the sinister reboot of sorts, others are saying it is an insult to original author A.A. Milnes. The latest poster kicked up quite a fuss earlier this week when it landed:
Up For Grabs in 2023
The movies that entered public domain on January 1st are movies that were released in 1927. At that time, most movies were still silent unless the budget was big enough to allow sound. This means that any movie from this list that gets a rework or revamp will be reignited with new life and new depth. Some of these films are truly iconic, and it would be interesting to see what the impressive slate of directors we have today could do with the material.
Here are some movies entering public domain in 2023 that we’d love to see revamped…
The Lodger: A Story of London Fog
Before achieving worldwide fame for his classics Psycho, North by Northwest, and Vertigo, the master of suspense that is Alfred Hitchcock released a string of silent movies as well. Two years before Hitchcock released Britain’s first-ever film of sound, he released the silent mystery thriller, The Lodger: A Story of London Fog. A dark and suspenseful tale inspired by the London Ripper about a landlady who suspects her lodger to be the culprit in a string of murders around London. There are definitely grounds here for a revamp as the serial killer genre is now bigger than ever, thanks to streaming giants Netflix and Amazon Prime.
The King of Kings
The King of Kings is set around the last weeks of Jesus’ life. While Mel Gibson has explored this with the controversial film, The Passion of the Christ, he focused his movie on the last few days and the horrific torture Jesus went through. It would be refreshing to see this from a different point of view and focus on the good that Jesus did in the weeks before he was betrayed.
If there is one genre we know that will never get old, it’s the gangster genre. Made classic with the likes of The Godfather, Goodfellas, and Donnie Brasco, the complex world of life in the Mafia, has always fascinated audiences since the early stages of film. Underworld tells the story of an alcoholic lawyer who finds himself up against a ruthless gangster when he falls in love with his girlfriend. Underworld won the first-ever Oscar for Best Writing, Original Story and paved the way for gangster movies at Warner Bros.
Other notable movies that attended the Oscars that year were 1927 releases The Jazz Singer, 7th Heaven, and Best Picture winner Wings. All three will also become public domain in 2023.
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