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The movies based on the novels of Stieg Larsson were produced in 2009 in Sweden, e.g. "Män som hatar kvinnor" by Niels Arden Oplev. It was published in many countries with new voices (e.g. German).

Only 2 years later in 2011 a remake was produced: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by David Fincher. Sometimes between an original and a remake there even lie decades.

What was the reason for a remake only 2 years afterwards? I heard rumors that they needed an English version (without subtitles and any translations), but that doesn't seem to make quite much sense to me.

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You answered your own question. Most Americans don't like to read their movies. They stumble over the words, losing track of the visual. – wbogacz Oct 1 '13 at 13:18
@wbogacz Yet they could have easily dubbed it into English. – Napoleon Wilson Oct 1 '13 at 13:20
Related more general question: – Napoleon Wilson Oct 1 '13 at 14:39
If you look at the list of film remakes in Wikipedia, two or three-year lapses between the original and the remake are not that uncommon. – Daniel Daranas Oct 1 '13 at 15:02
@ChristianRau Americans aren't fans of dubbing either; most anime (the biggest genre in the US I'm aware of that's mostly not produced in English) fans I know consider it the greater evil and prefer subtitling. Live action is even harder to do it without being obvious than in animated films because it's all but impossible to get translated text that is capable of syncing up with the casts recorded lip movements. – Dan Neely Oct 1 '13 at 17:21
up vote 7 down vote accepted

This BBC News report states that there was actual room for making a big business with an English language film trilogy. Quote:

Telling a story of murder, corruption and family secrets, the late author's Millennium Trilogy has sold more than 65 million copies worldwide and spawned a series of Swedish films made in 2009.

Although a hit in Larsson's native country taking 110m Swedish krona (£10.3m, $16m) within three months of release, it had a muted reception in the US and UK, taking just $10m (£6.4m) and £1.5m respectively.

Now the book has had a Hollywood makeover with a $100m (£64m) budget and Oscar-nominated director David Fincher and Schindler's List scribe Steve Zaillian at the helm.

The prediction was correct. The first Swedish film had a box office of $104,384,415 (for a budget of $13 million), while the first American film had $232,617,430 (for a budget of $90 million).

As I said in a comment above, a remake only two or three years after the original is not that uncommon - see the Wikipedia List of film remakes for several examples.

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Incredible but yet illuminating. – fiscblog Oct 1 '13 at 13:23
Further, the Swedish film was in Swedish, which means it would have to be subtitled for release in major US cinemas. Unfortunately movies where ALL the dialog has to be subtitled typically don't perform as well at the box office for a US release. – MattD Oct 1 '13 at 13:28
@MattD Yes, and having well known Hollywood stars as actors helps, too. Naomi Watts helped The Ring a lot. The film made a box office of $249,348,933, compared to the $13,005,000 of the original Japanese Ring (リング). – Daniel Daranas Oct 1 '13 at 13:32
The next question that comes up to my mind is "Will we have an U.S. remake for every successfull foreign movie shortly afterwards?" – fiscblog Oct 1 '13 at 13:37
@ChristianRau - honestly the English speaking world is spoiled for good movies made in the language, and many people (myself included) find dubbing to be very distracting. Personally I have no problem with subtitles, but they don't play well in the market here. – iandotkelly Oct 1 '13 at 16:51

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