The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Columbia Pictures

Why did Hollywood feel the need to make the film version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo right after the Swedish version came out?
—Stacy Holmstedt, via Facebook

You expect Americans to read subtitles and follow high intrigues among the fjords? You flatter your brethren.

Americans, I am told, do not want to read subtitles, and our pickiness doesn't end there:

We also want a familiar director (hi, David Fincher), perkier chase scenes, a recognizable male lead (preferably one who doubles as James Bond), and so on. Hence, we're getting a Girl who looks like Rooney Mara, even though there's already one out there who looks like Noomi Rapace

Don't take my word for it.

"American audiences typically hate subtitles," says Tonia Edwards, who teaches film and media at Georgia State University, specializing in international cinemas. "For most foreign films, it's an insurmountable challenge."

Indeed: Even though Girl was based on a bestselling novel, the Swedish version only grossed $10 million or so in the U.S.

Wait, you cry!

Isn't it more profitable to import a movie that makes $10 million than to spend a estimated $100 million on a new version?

The answer? No!

Get this: Hollywood stands to make more money worldwide if it shells out for the remake. Really.

"Even with a smaller initial investment, the margins aren't appealing for larger firms that have the ability and resources necessary to offer large-scale distribution of a film," Edwards explains.

The result: We get two girls with two dragon tattoos. Skaal.

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