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I think a lot of it has to do with Americans being impatient. If it isn`t in their language and they don`t get instant gratification (Movies usually lacking plot, usually due to the fact that they have to be fast paced and move quickly onto sex scenes and/or explosions) they don`t watch it. It`s a shame that our country is like that a lot, but...
For example, "Shall we Dance" was originally a Japanese movie, and mostly dealt with the cultural shame of a man taking dance lessons. It was really interesting, and good, and totally didn`t need a remake... But we remade it anyway, changing some of the most interesting plot (Dealing with culture) along the way. I`m on a bit of a rant, aren`t I? :-
...of the original cast. Example: The Grudge, The Ring.
Anyways, many Japanese films are simply remade in the States with approval