There's been a lot of talk of Hollywood running out of ideas and building franchises and redoing older movies, many that don't seem necessary. One that is coming out is IT, based on the novel from Stephen King. There was a TV-movie made in 1990. A lot of sites have called the upcoming movie a remake and that bothers me. Lately, remake, adaptation, and reboot have been used somewhat interchangeably.
The new version of IT, is not a remake. It's an adaptation. An adaptation is taking the story and characters from one medium, like a novel, and bringing it into a different medium, like film. Many great films are adaptations: The Shawshank Redemption, Jaws, Schindler's List, The Silence Of the Lambs, and a host of others. The new IT is simply another adaption of the same book. Quite a few novels and short stories have been adapted several times over. How many different versions of Romeo and Juliet have there been. It's not limited to books to film. It can go the other way too. The movie novelizations that are tie-ins for the films are adaptations and when they make a video game based on a move, that's an adaption as well.
A remake is different. It's taking the story and characters from one medium and retelling it in thew same medium. Again, film is the most common version. 2010's A Nightmare On Elm Street was a remake because Wes Craven's original work was a film. It wasn't a novel or play or comic book. The key, at least to me, is that both versions must be in the same medium; whether that's film or print or music.
A reboot is a little harder for me to define. It seems one of the characteristics, though, is that most of them are starting a series. Reboot sounds less harsh than remake. The latter sounds like you are discarding everything and starting from scratch. Reboot sounds a bit nicer, and conjures up the images of computers, which is probably where it came from. A rebooted film, to me at least, sounds like all the previous parts are there but they weren't working well together, so the filmmakers are trying to find what did work and give it another go. Most reboots aren't direct adaptations but they don't seem to be flat-out remakes. Reboots seem to have previous films but the new film ignores the previous continuity. Casino Royale with Daniel Craig is a reboot (and quite a bit of an adaption of Ian Flemming's novel). 2009's Star Trek is a reboot. The goal of reboots, as opposed to remakes, seems to be restarting a series or franchise.
There you have it. My definition of these terms, which, of course, you are very welcome to disagree with.
As always, thanks for reading!