Our relationship with Hollywood reboot culture is a bit of a contradiction. We resent the lack of originality but we all turn out in droves to see old favourites brought to life. We didn’t really need another Godzilla reboot. And we could definitely have done without that RoboCop, or Total Recall.
Most reboots of old franchises have one thing in common – they’re not particularly good. Heavy on special effects and with an uncomplicated plot, it’s easy to appeal to international markets. Of course, this usually comes at the cost of lowering the standard for great storytelling.
Of course, whether domestic or imported, films that do tell great stories tend to miss out on mainstream distribution. That is, unless they carry a name like “Christopher Nolan” somewhere in the credits.
A rise in VOD services means the role of the cinema has changed. These days, casual cinema goers are only likely to shell out for a ticket for those big blockbuster events. So it looks like the popcorn reboot culture will be sticking around for a while, and these following 15 movies are what it’s going to look like.
20. Pet Sematary
Remake of: Pet Sematary (1989)
Honestly, Pet Sematary is probably as good a candidate for a reboot as there is. The original was not a critical success, so a reboot could possibly do it better. Based on a Stephen King novel, there’s some brand recognition to help with publicity. And because it’s a horror, expectations are going to be around floor level.
The film involves a group of people discovering the sinister powers of the burial ground in the land behind their house. Dead things that get buried there have a habit of coming back to life.
The reboot has no announced release date.
19. The Orphanage
Remake of: El Orfanato/The Orphanage (2007)
Would you put up with subtitles to watch a great film? For some it’s a deal breaker, and that’s unfortunate. It means they miss out on gems like the original ‘El Orfanato,’ a Spanish horror film produced by Guillermo Del Toro.
Like the best horror films, El Orfanato relies on slow building tension and a sense of unease, to frighten its audience. Forget the cheap scares. They can’t hold a candle to the creepy game that’s played towards the end of this film.
For the remake to succeed it just needs to duplicate everything from the original, but in English.
18. Dirty Dancing
Remake of: Dirty Dancing (1987)
Dirty Dancing is an iconic film, and the source of Ryan Gosling’s ultimate pick-up move in Crazy, Stupid, Love. And when Lionsgate gets its way, the classic movie will have a remake.
The remake appears to have vanished recently. Originally slated for a 2013 release it was pushed back to 2014. Now it appears to be on hold. Originally, High School Musical director Kenny Ortega was set to take the helm of this reboot.
17. Starship Troopers
Remake of: Starship Troopers (1997)
Somehow, sticking with the name of the 1959 novel ‘Starship Troopers’ seemed like a great idea for the 1997 original film. And in a baffling move, that’s happening a second time with the latest remake.
The film follows space travelling humans from the future waging war against insect-like aliens.
The original film wasn’t an immediate success but it found a devoted following in the years following its release. There’s speculation that the remake might try to differentiate itself by being more faithful to the original novel than the 1997 film was.
No release date has yet been announced.
16. The NeverEnding Story
Remake of: The NeverEnding Story (1984)
Responsible for the greatest film-related childhood trauma of millions, the original NeverEnding Story film has still become a classic kid movie in the past few decades. Despite the novel’s author hating the thing.
Michael Ende, the man who wrote The NeverEnding Story, hated the film so much that he sued to try to prevent its release. He failed and two more films followed.
The remake was announced in 2009 and is supposed to stick a bit more closely to the novel. However there have been so many rights issues that it’s quite likely the film will never be made at all.
15. American Psycho
Remake of: American Psycho (2000)
This remake is troubling for a few reasons. First, nobody wants it. Second, it almost died, but was saved when it became a TV show. That’s right. This pointless remake got bigger than it would have been as a movie.
The original film is based on Bret Easton Ellis’ novel of the same name and follows a psychopathic businessman with an interest in killing people. It’s surprisingly funny and features a great performance by Christian Bale.
The film received good reviews when it was released and has only become more beloved as time has gone on. Again, remake unnecessary.
FX will be producing the show, which has yet to lock down a cast.
14. Romancing the Stone
Remake of: Romancing the Stone (1984)
This one does not make a lick of sense. American Psycho came out recently enough that people recognize the name. The other films on this list have dedicated fans or big industry names to push the English remake. Romancing the Stone has none of these things. It’s an enjoyable adventure film in the vein of Indiana Jones. That’s all.
For some reason, that’s enough for Fox, which has had a Romancing the Stone remake in the works since 2007. According to a Screen Rant article from 2011, at one point the studio was looking at Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler to fill the main roles. There has also been talk of a TV series adaptation over at NBC.
13. Young Sherlock Holmes
Remake of: Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)
This might be the worst concept ever, and it could be getting a remake. Hollywood needs an intervention.
Young Sherlock Holmes is exactly as awful as it sounds. It pairs teenage versions of Holmes and Watson and has them solve mysteries at their boarding school. Between the Sherlock Holmes movies, the BBC’s Sherlock, and CBS’ Elementary, you’d think there’s enough Holmes going around already. But it looks like Hollywood doesn’t know the meaning of the word “saturated.”
There’s nothing set in stone for this, but Christopher Columbus, writer of the original film, is set to return as a producer on the remake.
12. The Transporter Legacy
Reboot of: The Transporter (2002)
The original films in the Transporter series released from 2002 to 2008, which means rebooting the franchise in 2015 makes perfect sense.
Actually, this reboot serves as a perfect sample of why reboots are often so artless. There’s nothing inherently wrong in making a new Transporter film, or even in making a reboot. So why give the protagonist the same name as in the originals? Is “Frank Martin” really the brand, here?
The originals centered on Martin, played by Jason Statham, and followed his high-stakes life transporting things for cash – no questions asked.
The Transporter Legacy comes out on June 19, 2015.
11. I Am Legend
Remake of: I Am Legend (2007), The Omega Man (1971), The Last Man on Earth (1964)
Finally, a film that needs a remake. Though the 2007 adaptation was popular, it also threw out everything that made the novel great. The other two films also didn’t quite get the point. Can someone finally do this thing right?
See, the novel plays with the idea of morality, arguing it’s very much a subjective thing. The films are a bit less nuanced, with the latest just abandoning all pretence and just turning into a monster film.
The novel was one of the original inspirations for the zombie film genre, so it’s understandable that Hollywood would try and shove it into that style. Still, the story deserves better. Maybe this new remake will get it right.
10. Escape From New York
Remake of: Escape From New York (1981)
Let’s take a deep breath and acknowledge that, even though it has its share of badass moments, Escape From New York is not exactly a triumph of storytelling. That makes it a perfect candidate for the kind of mindless reboot Hollywood loves, but it also means there’s next to no reason to make the thing.
Let alone three.
Yes, there are Escape From New York movies in the work. Plural. The idea is to do a trilogy, inspired at least in part by the plot of Batman: Arkham City, which sees a section of Gotham transformed into a prison – much like New York is transformed into a prison in the original Escape movie.
Reports in 2014 suggested Charlie Hunnam was the top contender for the role.
9. The Legend of Conan
Continuation of Conan the Barbarian (1982)
That the Conan series is getting a reboot is hilarious. A Conan the Barbarian reboot was just released in 2011, and saw Jason Momoa take over the role from Arnold Schwarzennegger. Now, Arnold is back in the lead role, making this more of an un-reboot than a reboot.
Better yet, the film is also going to ignore the sequel to the original, released in 1984. If that’s not a sure sign that Hollywood just doesn’t care anymore, I don’t know what is.
The Legend of Conan has had some script trouble over the past couple of years, but it’s looking like filming will finally begin in early 2015. Barbarian warlord Arnold is 67.
Remake/Reboot of: Gremlins (1984)
Don’t get them wet, and definitely don’t feed them after midnight. Can we get don’t remake them on that list?
There’s something special about the adorable mogwai and gross looking gremlins that populate the original Gremlins film. Even the madness of the sequel has its redeeming qualities. But there’s not enough material to justify remaking them. We’ll be left with inferior CG mogwai cartwheeling around. No thanks.
According to Den of Geek, Chris Columbus is set to produce the remake or reboot, meaning all the new crew needs is for Spielberg to give his approval. Thankfully, nothing is set in stone so there’s still a chance all of this falls apart.
7. The Naked Gun
Reboot of: The Naked Gun (1988)
Between this and the upcoming National Lampoon’s Vacation reboot, Ed Helms is cementing himself as the go-to guy for redoing beloved 80s comedies. And that’s okay. Guy’s gotta eat.
Still, Leslie Nielsen’s a tough act to follow, which makes it puzzling that they’re even bothering to try. See, The Naked Gun is a funny, much loved film, and its sequels have their charms, too. Can Helms match the greatness that is Nielsen’s delivery?
If the film has anything going for it, it’s that Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, responsible for Reno 911!, are penning the script. They also did the Night at the Museum films, but that’s beside the point.
Remake of: Scarface (1983), Scarface (1932)
The ’32 film is classic gangster fare, and the ’83 Pacino flick was a spiritual awakening for dudes who missed the point. Naturally Hollywood is eager to strike while the iron is room temperature, and so a remake is on the way.
Updated for the modern era, The Wrap reports that this film will be set in LA. It will follow the rise of a Mexican immigrant in the criminal world. It’s suggested the film “explores where Tony’s physical and emotional wounds come from and how they shaped him as a man.”
Expect that sometime soon.
Remake of: Jumanji (1995)
Hollywood already more or less tried to remake Jumanji with 2005’s Zathura. It made no money. It seems they’re assuming the name will carry the thing, and so a remake is on the way! Get ready for a magical board game updated for the modern world.
As with most of the things he appeared in, Jumanji was largely carried by the commanding presence of Robin Williams. His shoes will be impossible to fill, so it’ll be interesting to see how the studio addresses the gap.
2015 marks the 20 year anniversary of the release of the original.
Reboot of: Ghostbusters (1984)
Talk of a Ghostbusters sequel/remake/reboot has been floating around for years, with Dan Aykroyd desperate to get it made, most of the rest of the cast indifferent, and Bill Murray just flat out against it. But where there’s a recognizable name, there’s a way, and so the reboot saga marches on.
Notable news about this sequel includes that the film is to be directed by Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids and The Heat, and that the busters are set to be all, or at least mostly, women.
Expect to see at least Aykroyd show up, as he’s been gunning for this movie for a while. The rest of the gang will probably pass.
3. The Birds
Remake of: The Birds (1963)
Hitchcock isn’t immune to this remake craze. Forget that this is a classic piece of horror cinema. It’s time to kick this up a notch. Time to introduce a little BAYHEM. That’s right. Michael Bay is attached to produce. Are you freaking ready for BIRDS??
It’s impossible to overstate how bad of an idea this is. A sequel was tried back in 1994. It didn’t work out, and there’s a reason why this remake has been stalling out for going on eight years now. It’s just not a good idea to fiddle around with classics.
At least this time it looks like Bay’s leaving Megan Fox out. Small mercies?
2. Day of the Dead
Remake of: Day of the Dead (2008), Day of the Dead (1985)
We’ve somehow not exhausted our tolerance for zombie films, and so Hollywood will just keep giving us what we probably kind of want.
The original was round three in George Romero’s classic series, and was already remade a few years ago. That one didn’t do particularly well, so try, try again.
At this point, the most important question is what kind of zombies will be in the film. 28 Days Later and the Dawn of the Dead remake really brought the “fast zombie” into vogue, and honestly, the sprinting dead are a heck of a lot more frightening than the shambling variety.
1. The Raid
Remake of: The Raid: Redemption
If you like martial arts movies and you’ve not seen The Raid: Redemption, you need to. It’s one of the most brutal, most exciting entries in the genre… and it’s getting a remake. Well, no surprise there.
This is actually a remake that makes a kind of sense. There’s no way the remake will be able to touch the original for its brutality and martial arts mayhem, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to try. Instead, we’ll be getting a more straightforward action film, and in English instead of Indonesian.
Original director Gareth Evans is set to produce the remake.