Ariel The Little mermaid
(Image: Halle Bailey/Twitter)

Last month my local cinema was screening 12 films -- nine of which were remakes, sequels, or franchise expansions. If you pay even the scantest attention to the business of Hollywood, it’s obvious that its back catalogue is being extensively plundered.

This, of course, is nothing new. Since the dawn of the industry, with the advent of every new technology, studios go back and remake the old stuff with the latest whiz-bang gizmos and gadgets. Disney is no stranger to this -- the studio, after all, has made four versions of Freaky Friday and three of A Christmas Carol -- and is now slap-bang in the middle of a decades-long fever of remaking its animation inventory as live-action features.

While new technology is part of this updating process -- use of sound and colour achieved this in earlier eras, CGI more recently -- it's also updating through social issues. Movies are being remade to appear suitably woke; to look as though a studio has done a tad more than simply blown the cobwebs off an old script.