Screenwriting : Remakes by Andrew Gardner

Andrew Gardner


This is possibly a question for a different lounge, but since I would only be the writer, I figure I would ask here.

I am wanting to do a remake of a certain movie, but I am sure that by writing it, I would be violating some sort of copyright laws, or something else. What would I need to do in order to make it legal?

Shaun Michael Goldsmith

Hi Andrew. It's not an uncommon question and many writers are interested in remaking films. You're assumption is correct. You would have to locate who or which company owns the rights to the story and purchase them. Otherwise, you would be violating copyright. In some instances, the copyright may never have been registered or has expired. If the story is based on true events, you may be able to do write a similar story as is it may be in the public domain and therefore not subject to copyright laws. Hope this helps.

Andrew Gardner

Thanks for that. Yes, the project I am considering is a remake of a movie which is based on true events. My project would be a deviation from the original, in that it would focus more on a group of people as a whole, rather than giving one figure more attention when the others were more important in the events portrayed, based on his fame alone.

Andrew Gardner

Where would I find out who owns the rights?

Matt Bailey

IMDBpro --, you can contacts agents, production companies, etc. (Most of) their info is accurate and updated. Rights can change hands over the years, just follow the trail.

Shaun Michael Goldsmith

Andrew: IMDBpro is a good place to start. Essentially, it's going to require research on your part. Good luck!

Philip Sedgwick

Research and highly recommended, an entertainment attorney.

Dan Guardino

The producer or the studio if there was one would be who you would contact. The odds of them selling you the rights are about a million to one.

Danny Manus

Well, since its based on a true story, you have 2 choices. Either youre doing a REMAKE, in which case youd need the rights from the studio or producer who made the original...which unless you have millions of dollars or a package with A List stars who have already agreed to be attached, is virtually impossible to get. OR you dont do a remake, you find a totally different angle and POV for the true story and you go get rights from someone involved in the true story. but then your script needs to be totally diff from the movie alreasy made. For example, if the original was told from the pov of the main person involved, you could get tje rights from a reporter who covered it and get rights to their articles. But usually, unless you have a direct connection to those involved or the original producers, this is a lost cause.

Babz Bitela, President/Silver Bitela Agency/WGA

if you are newer to the biz break your teeth on a low budget gem; table that one until you get dough to get the rights you need.

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