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Is The Color Purple (2023) A Remake Of The Original Movie?

Alice Walker's acclaimed novel "The Color Purple" is receiving another silver screen adaptation. After Steven Spielberg brought the poignant coming-of-age story of young African-American woman Celie Harris to life in 1985 with his film adaptation of the book, fans are getting treated to a new vision through a 2023 film of the same name directed by Blitz Bazawule. Revisiting a classic isn't anything too out of the ordinary for modern Hollywood, though some prospective viewers of the new version may be wondering whether it's a remake of Spielberg's 1985 version.

While the 1985 and 2023 versions of "The Color Purple" tell similar stories, the new film is crucially not a remake of the original one. In fact, outside of both taking the core narrative from Walker's book, they have surprisingly little in common. One major difference is that the 2023 movie is not only an adaptation of the book, but also an adaptation of the musical "The Color Purple," which has sporadically run on Broadway since the mid-2000s. If readers are familiar, a similar example would be the distinction in continuity between Peter Jackson's "The Lord of Rings" films and Amazon's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" TV series. 

2023's The Color Purple still has some small connections to the 1985 version

While Blitz Bazawule's new take on "The Color Purple" isn't a remake of Steven Spielberg's version, the two do share a couple small connections — mostly on the behind-the-scenes front. For one thing, the new movie was developed by the exact same production companies that made the original, those being Warner Bros. Pictures and Amblin Entertainment.

Arguably even more interesting is the shared creative talent between the two versions of "The Color Purple." Spielberg and Quincy Jones, who served as a producer on the 1985 movie, are both back in a producer role for the new iteration. They are also joined by Oprah Winfrey, who appeared in the cast of Spielberg's "The Color Purple" as Sofia and has worked as a producer for the stage musical that the second adaptation is based on.

Winfrey in particular had a great amount of creative input on developing the new take on the story, including working to find a fitting director to carry on the mantle. "Finding the right director was the most crucial part of the process, and Blitz, you have such a unique voice and a singular artistry," the actor said at a 2023 CinemaCon panel (as reported on by Oprah Daily). "We knew you were the director to bring this version to the screen."