Jump to content
Tim Bradstreet

Hollywood Remakes Of Classic Or Cult Films

Recommended Posts

William Goldman once wrote the greatest quote about Hollywood in that "nobody knows anything". With the ever increasing budgets and opening weekends properties need to be bankable to secure a greenlight. If you were to ratio original versus remakes or existing properties on the production slate - chance would have to say that the odds would be in the favor of existing works. Now that used to be primarely novel adaptations but in recent years we have seen this shift across to the realm of comics and dare I say it remakes and television.

 

I suppose in a sense it is like strip mining a creative property. A TV series allows you to snip a piece here, snip a piece there. Film remakes can be a lazy way of safeguarding a property but the common mistake is the necessary nature to 'ramp it up'. That makes for an easy pitch to both executives and to market research audiences and testers. You remember that old tv series The Beverly Hillbillies - well we've made that into a movie.

 

It is however getting to a point where anything wth an existing audience base can get a production going. There is no end to the pain and suffering that Eddie Murphy will cause with Fantasy Island. I'm suprised that we haven't yet reached a stage where some 80's TV commercial hasn't been greenlit for a $150 million production. Oh but market research tells us that 65% of people recognise the brand.

 

Studios want to play safe - they have to when they are opening across 4,000 screens now. Interesting thing with Marvel is that Spiderman opened a lot of doors. The pitch for Iron Man would have been simple - he's like Spiderman in a metal suit with guns and rockets and stuff.

 

Interesting turn of events would be to recall the ephinany that George Lucas had a while back (forgive me I forget dates) when he realised that for the price of making a $150 million film that he could make 5-10 even 20 films. But we live in a time of bigger is better.

 

Remakes are equally tricky and I dispise them to a point - unless they can inject something. I did enjoy the 3:10 To Yuma remake directed by James Mangold. Now interesting thing - which counters my theory on existing properties is that Mangold had to pick the project up in turnaround and get finance from a bank, but that wasn't because it was an existing property but instead because it was a western - and Hollywood wants to apologise for the existance of the western from the start.

 

I did not like the remake of The Manchurian Candidate, nor did I like the remake of Assault on Precinct 13 or any of those ilk.

 

Re-imagining though - now that is something I can sink my teeth into, if done right and with sincereity. If the writer and director believe in the source material it can work.

 

Yojimbo - Fistful of Dollars - Last Man Standing

Seven Samurai - Magnificent Seven - Battle Beyond the Stars (only for George Peppard)

Lone Wolf and Cub - Road to Perdition

 

All greatest artists are influenced - it is the melting pot in which stories are created. If you are to read Joseph Campbell you understand the structure of myths and legends. The reason in part that Marvel universe works so strongly is that the characters whether they be hero or anti-hero are grounded in some form of reality. They have heart. The core thing you strive for is an emotional connection to the narrative and character. The worst case of adapting existing properties is that illusion that because the audience is already aware of the characters that you don't need to ground them in any shape or form - bad mistake. Too often this skimming over process is what causes the characters to be overlooked. Much in the same way people can look at Peckinpah's work and only see violence. I think the same statement also applies to a character like The Punisher.

 

Sorry getting off track.

 

The notion of updating for a new generation is bull shit - plain and simple. It is a fast food culture that eat's its own young for a glimpse of YouTube 15 minute glory. How many hits did I get. We are now in a speed induced 1 frame edit on action sequences that imply movement but aren't saying anything. Where is the heart, where is the story. And no I'm not talking melodrama. What has also happened is that the injection of money on a free flow system has halted the creative film making process. With directors who come from tvc's and music videos directing these big films - they have no intention of developing a character or holding on a shot. Old school rule of editing - how long do you hold on a shot, as long as neccessary.

 

These guys are corporate directors - no disrespect but they make happy meal films. And their remakes are just that as well - even their attempts at serious drama. The films are cookie cutter all the way through.

 

Where I prefer to see things if we are looking at it from a budgetary perspective is the 10-25 million films. These are the ones that don't have to have that broad opening weekend, that can allow for breathing space. I think of The Mist in that perfect example - if the budget had been pushed up by 30-40 million then you wouldn't have been able to secure that ending - it wouldn't have been allowed.

 

So in summary.

 

Don't put Bridget Fonda in a remake of La Femme Nikita,

 

Leave well enough alone.

 

regards

 

Andrew

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually a footnote to my previous post.

 

When assessing a remake of a film I guess the biggest question I ask is - why?

 

why?

why?

why?

 

If some rationale can be applied then I'm more than accepting.

 

If not then I'll ask again:

 

why?

why?

why?

 

No matter what the performances or productions values are if it doesn't layer something upon the very nexus of the original then there is no point at all to it. It is self indulgent.

 

Andrew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are precious few remakes that I enjoy and I do think it has to do with offering something new that adds to the story. I feel that remakes usually happen when people run out of ideas.

Here are my thoughts on soon to be Horror remakes:

 

1. I have no love for A Nightmare on Elm Street as a remake, because Robert Englund CREATED Freddy Kruger, and he will not be playing Freddy in the new film.

 

2. Suspiria as a remake infuriates me, because it is one of the most beautiful horror films I've ever seen, and that kind of art should not be fucked with.

 

3. I don't care AT ALL about the remake of Prom Night or Motel Hell, because they're funny to begin with...certainly NOT sacred!

 

4. I'm excited about My Bloody Valentine, and Friday the 13th because they have really creepy stories that haven't really been explored yet.

 

 

 

 

I also do not understand why anyone would make a sequel to a film that was pretty bad in the first place (Rise of the Silver Surfer, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tiara, I dissagree with everything you said.

 

Meryl Streep is a much better actress than Angela Lansbury. I don't care if Lansbury was from the so called "Golden Age" of cinema. Streep is superior.

 

"Schreiber was better as Orson Welles"? "Washington attached himself so the film could get made"? I don't even consider those valid criticisms of the film.

 

Basically your reason to hate on this film is the sole fact that it's a remake of another film you enjoyed alot. That's it.

 

-TL

 

Streep better than Lansbury...imagine it.... :P

 

I will give props to Streep in the beginning of her career, but now..ummm..NO. And the Schreiber/Washington reference was not a critique...just so we are clear on that. And I definitely enjoy our exchanges... :P

 

Here's my conspiracy theory on remakes and please everyone if you can, test this out and report back in this thread. It is my belief that when you cannot locate a foreign film, whether Blockbuster or Amazon.com, these movie studios, per their agreements with these companies, have those films yanked in order to generate a greater demand for a remake. If you can, engage in a conversation with someone from Blockbuster and listen to their response.

 

It definitely happened with “Ringu“, the original Japanese movie upon which “The Ring” was based. The Japanese original wasn’t available widely until the Hollywood remake came out, and the original sequels were also not available until the Hollywood sequel to the remake came out.

 

I just find it is such a waste to try to do remakes. Case in point:

 

Meet Joe Black

Alfie

The Ladykillers

The Truth About Charlie

Poseidon

The Pink Panther

City of Angels

Down to Earth

The Stepford Wives

The Hitcher

101 Dalmatians

The Island of Dr. Moreau

The Out-of-Towners

Get Carter (don't let me get started on that one)

When A Stranger Calls

Swept Away

The Wicker Man

The Fog

Rollerball

#1 for me is Psycho

 

Anyone else want to add theirs?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I want to comment on these! ;)

 

Here's my conspiracy theory on remakes and please everyone if you can, test this out and report back in this thread. It is my belief that when you cannot locate a foreign film, whether Blockbuster or Amazon.com, these movie studios, per their agreements with these companies, have those films yanked in order to generate a greater demand for a remake. If you can, engage in a conversation with someone from Blockbuster and listen to their response.

 

It definitely happened with “Ringu“, the original Japanese movie upon which “The Ring” was based. The Japanese original wasn’t available widely until the Hollywood remake came out, and the original sequels were also not available until the Hollywood sequel to the remake came out.

 

There is also this to consider. Until there is a US remake there is simply no high demand for the film in question. I was in on the ground floor with John Woo back in the salad days of Laser Disc - Well, not the ground floor but certainly when he started to make his mark with films like A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, and Bullet To The Head. Only word of mouth was spreading the disease. John Woo was really only known to the fringe (here in the States) back in the early to mid 80's, then he took off and grew much in popularity until finally we refer to certain types of action films as "Woo-like". Now with the internet going full bore, access to info about new and interesting films from around the globe are there to be discovered at our fingertips. Companies are on the lookout for the next big wave. But it's really that same small crowd of fringe genre fans that bother to look. That crowd has grown since the 80's but it's still a small group in comparison to the general film going audience. Then throw in the "foreign film equation". A LARGE percentage of filmgoers don't like to read subtitles. That's why the selection is so wanting at the vid store (no real demand). It's a sad but true (an ultimately realistic) fact that remakes of foreign films generate more interest in the foreign language originals. Which to me explains why it's harder to find that stuff until we have a remake in our own language to stir the interest. Once the floodgates are open and a remake meets with popularity then the studios are more than happy to collect your dollars by obtaining distribution rights to release the source material. It doesn't make sense to them to risk the investment until they have tested the waters. That's why I thank goodness for Video companies like Anchor Bay. They see the value of the original.

 

I just find it is such a waste to try to do remakes. Case in point:

 

Meet Joe Black - Didn't mind it because I love Martin Brest. Hopkins and co made it easy to buy into (for me). Then I saw Death Takes A Holiday and loved it.

MJB introduced me to the original and that was cool. I liked both films.

Alfie - I saw the Michael Caine version years ago and don't remember much of it. Haven't seen the remake.

The Ladykillers - I've not seen the original I'm sad to say. I loved Hanks, JK Simmons, Stephen Root, and Tzi Ma in the remake.

The Truth About Charlie - Another Demme mistake. Stanley Donen's Hitchcockian original with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn it pure wonderment. Mark Wahlberg in the Cary Grant role? Be serious. I stopped watching after the second act.

Poseidon - Uh, yikes. Absolutely terrible. The perfect example of a useless and empty remake.

The Pink Panther - Couldn't force myself to watch it.

City of Angels - Wasn't aware this was a remake. I enjoyed the film.

Down to Earth - Never seen it.

The Stepford Wives - The phrase "Big puddles of barf" doesn't even begin to tell the story of my distain for this bad film.

The Hitcher - Haven't given it it's day in court. Not sure I want to. Love Sean Bean though.

101 Dalmatians - Haven't seen it.

The Island of Dr. Moreau - Hard to believe this was directed by Frankenheimer coming off of a masterpiece like Ronin. Then I said the same thing about Reindeer Games, which next to Snake Eyes might be one of the worst films ever made. Still, I could watch David Thewlis count marbles.

The Out-of-Towners - Haven't seen either.

Get Carter (don't let me get started on that one) - Don't get me started either. At least Sly looked good.

When A Stranger Calls - Haven't seen the remake.

Swept Away - A Guy Ritchie film I haven't had the pleasure to be disappointed by ;)

The Wicker Man - Nick Cage called Tom Jane and asked him if he wanted to play the main guy (which Cage ended up doing). Thank God Jane knows a bad script when he sees one. The original is one of my favorite films. This remake had a few interesting ideas but it all went wrong. Hard to watch, harder to block out of my mind. Pure dreck.

The Fog - Good luck to anyone remaking Carpenter, this one fell flat. Another example of a remake with none of the substance of the original, stylistic or otherwise.

Rollerball - McTiernan was once a hero to me. Then he did this sorry excuse for a film. I'd rather eat glass than see it again.

#1 for me is Psycho - Ack! Like I said, with proper casting perhaps this stood a flicker of a chance, but you're already fighting an uphill battle when you choose to remake one of the most popular gothic horror films in cinema history.

 

- TB

 

Anyone else want to add theirs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know you're in for hell when they use the following word in the pitch:

 

UPDATE

 

As in let's take this classic and UPDATE it for a modern audience.

 

Andrew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"City of Angels" - Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Riiight . . .

Love Paris Texas and Until The End Of The World, need to absorb more Wenders!

 

VIM! ;)

 

- TB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Riiight . . .

Love Paris Texas and Until The End Of The World, need to absorb more Wenders!

 

VIM! ;)

 

- TB

 

Tim,

 

also check out End of Violence - love the Ry Cooder score on that one. Everything with Wim Wenders is so addictive, soaks you into the story.

 

Andrew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With regards to The Hitcher remake, there's no point to seeing it. All they really do is change it from one person to a couple, it's almost like a melding of The Hitcher and The Hitcher II: I've Been Waiting (only with 100% less Jake Busey). Really the only good thing I can say about this film, is the "getting ripped in half scene," the sound the body makes is sickening.

 

Also, you know in the original, how there's that feeling of dread that Hauer is going to rape C. Thomas Howell, it's completely lost in the remake. Also, it has the worst us of "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exclusive from Eisner on "Creature from the Black Lagoon":

 

Eisner on Creature from the Black Lagoon Remake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What are your thoughts on these impending remakes?

1. The Day The Earth Stood Still - with Keanu playing Klatuu (surely not? . . . Nope, I mean it)

 

Or these recent ones -

1. King Kong (Peter Jackson)

 

Or Foreign films poached and remade for the English speaking audience -

- TB

 

Various thoughts:

If you want to cast someone in the role of a human looking non-human, I think Keanu fits the bill. The original film was fascinating and meaningful in the relatively new age of possible annihilation by nuclear war. But the special effects did leave something to be desired, especially by today's standards. So I can see where an "update" could work here if the folks involved are competent.

 

Peter Jackson's King Kong is a remake of a remake. I didn't have any interest in seeing it because, frankly, I already know that story and it makes me sad. So why should I do this to myself again? In all fairness, though, I did catch some of it on TV the other day when I was flipping channels, and watched the scene where Kong is fighting the dinosaur critter. It was cool and I can see how the story can be made "better" in a sense with more advanced special effects. Maybe this is true of other stories in films. I don't know. All I know is, after the cool fight scene was over, I went on channel surfing because I didn't want to see how Kong is screwed over by stupid humans again. That's just me, I guess.

 

Lastly, I'm one of those people who hates having to read subtitles during a movie. I read too stinking slow. I always feel like I'm missing something on the screen. So I only watch a foreign (non-English speaking) film if I've heard lots of positive buzz about it. But I do watch them once in a while. :)

 

K-skye

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had some more time to think and here's another please do not remake wish list:

 

Patton

Birth of a Nation

Metropolis

Napoleon

Clash of the Titans

Soylent Green

Ben Hur

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have had some more time to think and here's another please do not remake wish list:

 

Patton

Birth of a Nation

Metropolis

Napoleon

Clash of the Titans

Soylent Green

Ben Hur

 

Tiara,

 

Ben Hur is currently in pre-production as a mini-series to be directed by Christian Duguay.

 

http://www.variety.com/article/VR111798375...yid=19&cs=1

 

"The new version will be based more closely on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel than either the 1959 version or 1925 silent adaptation.

 

Wyler intends to skew the lead role younger, placing Ben-Hur in his mid-20s. New version will also downplay the religious aspects of the source material."

 

Thoughts?

 

Andrew

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wyler intends to skew the lead role younger, placing Ben-Hur in his mid-20s. New version will also downplay the religious aspects of the source material."

 

Thoughts?

 

Andrew

 

Sounds very politically correct. Apparently it's fine to skew if it fits the "Hollywood" formula.

I'm currently reading "The Children of Men," after seeing the film quite a while ago. Almost all of the religious aspects were gutted from that story as well. I'm not sure how to communicate my feelings about this trend. Who decides what is acceptable in major media? Are they afraid it will bore us, confuse us, anger us, provoke thought?

 

I'm guessing the lead will go to someone who looks like a young Kevin Sorbo.

 

A disgusted K-skye

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sounds very politically correct. Apparently it's fine to skew if it fits the "Hollywood" formula.

I'm currently reading "The Children of Men," after seeing the film quite a while ago. Almost all of the religious aspects were gutted from that story as well. I'm not sure how to communicate my feelings about this trend. Who decides what is acceptable in major media? Are they afraid it will bore us, confuse us, anger us, provoke thought?

 

I'm guessing the lead will go to someone who looks like a young Kevin Sorbo.

 

A disgusted K-skye

 

Hey, Children of Men is a great movie period.

 

David Eick who is a producer on Battlestar Galactica is going to be doing a Children of Men series, which I've read will be a lot closer to the novel and have no connection to the movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sounds very politically correct. Apparently it's fine to skew if it fits the "Hollywood" formula.

I'm currently reading "The Children of Men," after seeing the film quite a while ago. Almost all of the religious aspects were gutted from that story as well. I'm not sure how to communicate my feelings about this trend. Who decides what is acceptable in major media? Are they afraid it will bore us, confuse us, anger us, provoke thought?

 

I'm guessing the lead will go to someone who looks like a young Kevin Sorbo.

 

A disgusted K-skye

 

One of the other reasons that religion is removed from the equation is presales and distribution in order to bring the finance in for the production. But BEN HUR without religion. Isn't the whole tag line a story at the time of christ

 

What will it be now?

 

Can't really make much more comment than though. The only reason I was actually aware of the remake is that the director Christian Duguay has been suggested for one of the projects I'm working on.

 

regards

 

Andrew

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey, Children of Men is a great movie period.

 

David Eick who is a producer on Battlestar Galactica is going to be doing a Children of Men series, which I've read will be a lot closer to the novel and have no connection to the movie.

 

I agree that Children of Men is a great movie. It was fantastically well done. But the movie basically takes the germinal idea from the book and then runs with it quite differently. Not necessarily in the wrong way, just differently. Perhaps the way they did it was better for the big screen. Anyway, in this case, I'm glad I read the book after seeing the movie. I think I would have been disapointed in the film if I had done it the other way around.

 

And thanks for the info about the series. I hadn't heard about that.

 

K-skye

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two more remakes coming up and both have some great director's attached.

 

The first one Werner Herzog is apparently going to be directing Nicolas Cage in a Bad Lieutenant remake.

 

and David Cronenberg is in talks to do the American remake of a recent Spanish film Los Cronocrimenes (TimeCrimes).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, but it is Herzog, and like the article says I think he would be able to get a good crazy performance from Cage.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As cool as it would be to have one of these, I hope this does not push the idea that Hollywood needs to remake Bullit. The movie was perfect, don't fuck with it, just rerelase it in theaters.

 

I actually don't see why there aren't more re-releases like they did with the LEONE films. Was great seeing them all remastered on the big screen. If they start doing HD Masters of things - wouldn't it be a damn cool move to re-release BULLITT pretending it was a new film. I mean I hate to say it but the majority of kids these days don't know who MCQUEEN is.

 

Nah, they'd still want to fuck with it. Like they did with the sound effects on The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

 

People do have a short term memory. There was a scam in the Italian film industry a few years back where people wanting development monies were changing titles on scripts written in the 50's and 60's and pretending it was a new screenplay. Nobody knew the difference.

 

Somebody tried that scam with Casablanca at one stage with a slightly different intended outcome.

 

http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/Hoaxipe...lanca_Rejected/

 

Andrew

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant was fantastic, and Harvey Keitel is 50 times a better actor than Nicolas Cage.

 

-TL

I agree. And originally the film was written for Christopher Walken. Crazy.

 

JO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...