The story is recycled out of a 1983 French film named Les Comperes, as part of a trend in which Hollywood buys French comedies and experiments on them to see if they can be made in English with all the humor taken out.
Say you're a writer/director who has managed to make a good film outside of the Hollywood system. Congratulations! Hollywood is so impressed with your movie that they want make it for themselves and change everything. You say yes, and heck, they might even let you direct it, but don't hold your breath. First off, your script needs a total rewrite to massage out all the Values Dissonance. Then all your unknown actors are swapped out for Hollywood stars. The setting will probably get changed, and production values get upgraded by a factor of ten. The resulting Foreign Remake might turn out better or worse than the original depending on the minds at work.
Say you're a Hollywood veteran who is spending a quiet evening on the internet. Suddenly you stumble across the synopsis for a Bollywood movie that looks suspiciously like the popular film you made three years ago. In fact, it's the exact same premise. And it was released to theaters a year ago. Why haven't you heard anything about this until now? After watching the DVD, you discover that it's a garbled version of your film, where everyone is singing and dancing, and the sex scene is replaced with a walk in the rain. What the hell?
Ultimately, whenever something is remade in a different country, it's a foreign remake. Hollywood and Bollywood tend to get the most attention for theirs, but it happens all over. India, in fact, often does this internally: because different parts of India have different official languages, successful movies in one language will often be remade in one or several other languages, for the benefit of a different audience.
Related to The Remake.
The Invisible (2007) — The Invisible/Den Osynlige (Sweden, 2002)
Jungle 2 Jungle (1997) — Un Indien dans la ville (Indian in the City) (France, 1994) - Siskel And Ebert put both on their "worst of the year" lists in back-to-back years.
Just Visiting (2001) — Les Visiteurs (France, 1993) : Distinct in that the writer and the stars of the originals reprised their roles in the remake. More of an anglophone sequel with the elements of a remake, really.
K-Pax (2001, US-German co-production) — Man Facing Southeast (Argentina, 1986) : Though K-PAX is originally based on a novella.
The Lake House (2006) — Siworae, aka Il Mare (South Korea, 2002)
Paris, When It Sizzles (1964) — Holiday for Henrietta (France, 1952). Also remade as Alex and Emma (2003).
Pathfinder (2007) — Pathfinder (Norway, 1987), probably better known by its Norwegian name (Veiviseren) or Sami name (Ofelaš)
It has never been officially confirmed, but the 2004 Scarlett Johansson flick The Perfect Score is very probably an unofficial Americanised remake of the obscure 1997 Irish movie How to Cheat in the Leaving Certificate.
Point of No Return — La Femme Nikita (France, 1990), both by Luc Besson
Point of No Return (US, 1993)
Hei Mao (Black Cat) (Hongkong, 1991)
La Femme Nikita (US first-run title)/Nikita (syndication/international title) (1997, American TV series)
Twelve Monkeys (1995) — La Jetée (France, 1962) : A borderline example, since the original was a short film made up of mostly still images, and the "remake" was a fully fleshed out story. Also, Gilliam's movie is more of an Inspired By / Spiritual Successor of the original.
Vanilla Sky (2001) — Abre los Ojos (Spain/France, 1997)
The Vanishing (1993) — Spoorloos/The Vanishing (1988) : Both the original and the remake had the same director.
Welcome to Collinwood (2002) — I soliti ignoti (Italy, 1958)
The Hindi Bhool Bhulaiyaa, a remake of the Tamil and Telugu Chandramukhi, which was a remake of the Kannada Apthamitra...which was a remake of the Malayalee Manichitratazadu. Apparently, there's another remake in Bengali called ''Rajmohol". And yes, all of those are from the same country.
Pusher, the influential Danish crime thriller, was remade in Britain in 2012 under the same name. The actor playing the Serbian villain Milo reprises his role, as he is a Ruthless Foreign Gangster in both settings.
Rafoo Chakkar — Some Like It Hot — Fanfaren der liebe — Fanfares d'Amour... making this a foreign remake of a foreign remake of a foreign remake.
Saathiya (Hindi) — "Alaipayuthey'' (Tamil). Even the musical numbers were the same.
Saidoweizu (2009) — Sideways (2004): A Japanese remake, with the wine-country locale changed from Santa Barbara to Napa.
In the 70's and 80's, Turkey had this strange habit of doing remakes of blockbuster movies like Star Wars, Superman and The Exorcist on a budget of about $5 (that's $5 total, not each). It's a mystery as to why these were even made, since the real movies were in fact distributed in Turkey, but —hoo, boy— do they make for terrific Snark Bait.
24 (USA) — 24 (India). Indian actor/producer Anil Kapoor joined the cast of the original in Season 8 and thought it would work well in his home country, so he developed an adaptation and will also play the lead role.
Among all of the remakes of Married... with Children, the Russian one is notable because not only the entire show was remade (except for some of the less good episodes and some that couldn't be remade for various reasons) , but the show now continues with completely new episodes, some of which are co-written by writers from the original show's staff.
Overspel (Adultery) (Holland) was remade as Betrayal (USA). According to an LA Times article about how shows pick titles (whether they're short ones like Scandal or quirky ones like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo), execs went with "Betrayal" over "Adultery" due to fears that female viewers would get turned-off by the latter while the former sounds more enticing, and plot-wise there's many ways to betray someone besides adultery).
Prison Break has been remade in Russia and is currently showing.
Spitting Image had at least Spanish, Portuguese, French and Russian follow-ups. It helps politicians are laughable everywhere. There was also an attempt to bring it to the US during the Reagan years. Several specials were aired, but the show never caught on.
The Power Rangers franchise (American-produced, but filmed in New Zealand since Power Rangers Ninja Storm) is officially viewed as a "remake" of the Japanese Super Sentai franchise. Each Power Rangers season imports the action footage from a corresponding Super Sentai series (since the heroes' identities are concealed in their full body suits) and films new scenes around them featuring English-speaking actors. This began a minor trend of "remaking" Japanese tokusatsu shows for American audiences using the same method.
Most Korean dramas will get a Filipino remake if the original was so popular there. Examples include My Girl, Only You, Green Rose and recently, Temptation of Wife.
Name any popular Telenovela, and there surely will have a couple of foreign remakes at least. The most famous one is El Derecho De Nacer, born in Cuba and remade for radio and TV twice by decade since The Fifties. Mexico, being the Hollywood of Soap Operas, makes regionalized remakes of every Colombian and Argentinian popular soap since the Nineties.
The Israeli sitcom Traffic Light was adapted unsuccessfully in the US and successfully in Russia.
The Nickelodeon LatAm Teen Drama Grachi gets one for the US: Every Witch Way, also by Nickelodeon.
Other Media Remakes
The Captain Future series of novels were adapted into a tokusatsu series in Japan titled Captain Ultra, which was unrelated to Tsuburaya's Ultra Series despite the name, although it was treated by the network as such since it was picked up as a filler series between the finale of Ultraman and the premiere of Ultra Seven.
The NES game Flying Warriors by Culture Brain is a remake of the Famicom game Hiryu no Ken 2 developed on the Hiryu no Ken 3 engine, rather than just being a straight localization of either game (in contrast to its predecessor Flying Dragon, which was just an English version of the original Hiryu no Ken).
In Nomine is an American remake of French tabletop roleplaying game In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas.
There was recently an American comic-book remake of the Japanese Visual NovelSaya no Uta. And, unlike in the original, they actually decide to show her true form.
As a kind of homage to this trope, the very-Japanese-style-horror PS2 game Siren was remade as Siren Blood Curse on PS3, along with all the changes that normally get applied to Hollywood remakes of Japanese horror (though the original Siren and its sequel did both get English releases first time round). While Siren Blood Curse is still set in a Japanese village, the all-Japanese cast of the original has been replaced with an American TV crew sent in to do a documentary about the legends surrounding the area.
"The Wizard of the Emerald City" is a loose Russian translation of The Wizard of Oz. After the first novel the book series follows its own direction.
In the early 20th century, many musical shows from London, Vienna and Berlin were imported to New York with the scores largely or completely replaced. In the case of Blossom Time, the American version of Das Dreimäderlhaus, the score was newly adapted from the same source (Franz Schubert).
Not Quite Remakes
Black Swan is not exactly a remake of Perfect Blue, though it's almost the same plot—but with the setting changed from idol singing to ballet. It is so similar, however, that the director actually did license Perfect Blue in order to include a scene taken from the anime.
In the early years of talking pictures, a number of movies were filmed simultaneously in different languages, using the same sets but mostly different casts and crews. Perhaps the most famous is the Spanish version of Dracula, whose direction by George Melford is widely reckoned to be superior to Tom Browning's direction of the English version.
Another good example is the 1932 German film F. P. 1 antwortet nicht starring Hans Albers and Peter Lorre, which was simultaneously produced in English (as Flying Platform 1 Doesn't Answer) with Conrad Veidt and in French with Charles Boyer.
Comic example: DC Comics has made several attempts to launch a Judge Dredd comic in America, but none of them lasted very long.
Belarus had a sitcom titled The Theorists which was their version of The Big Bang Theory. It was also completely unauthorized. CBS had begun legal proceedings when the cast of The Theorists discovered their show was a rip-off and quit en masse, forcing its cancellation.