There are always several remakes and reboots in the works and they are always a bit of a crapshoot in terms of box office success. Some films have been remade or rebooted several times and are always loved, such as: Pride & Prejudice, An Affair to Remember, The Shop Around the Corner and Superman.
With hundreds of thousands of scripts written per year, filmmakers still spend astronomical budgets to recreate favorites of yesteryear. Many remakes bomb at the box office and go directly to video. Some of those flops include: Planet of the Apes, The Fog, The Stepford Wives and Arthur.
Most of the films on this list utilized heavy-duty special effects, which has everything to do with the high production budgets. Those that don’t, include more than one A-list actor, which explains why they are on this list. Although there may be remakes and reboots that have been produced for similar sums, we can created this list from the most popular adaptations of the originals.
This list contains one blockbuster after another, so it is a clear sign that high-priced special effects, movie sets and life-like stunts generally pay off. People seem to be willing to pay the ever-increasing movie ticket price to see 21st Century versions of their favorite movies on the big screen. We think there is nothing as exciting as sitting in your reserved theater seat, in the new electronic Lazy-boy chairs while being captivated by sound that permeates your cells and watching high-ticket stunts and familiar celebrity faces on a gigantic screen. Read on to see our list of the top ten most expensive film remakes.
10. Ocean’s Eleven: $85 Million
The original movie is an all-time favorite and included stars from the original brat pack: Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford along with stars Richard Conte, Buddy Lester, Richard Benedict, Normal Fell and Clem Harvey. The new cast was just as star-studded and includes a few who might be considered the new brat pack, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, who worked with other outstanding actors Carl Reiner, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Elliott Gould and Eddie Jemison. The tongue-in-cheek tone of this film is carried off beautifully by the new, hip cast. Some think it’s even better than the original and with a worldwide gross of over $450,500,000, we’d have to say the remake was a huge success.
9. The Departed: $90 Million
This American remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson and Mark Wahlberg. The film was a box-office success and won four Oscars at the 79th Academy Awards in 2007. For a relatively small production budget ($90 million), the film grossed $289,835,021 worldwide making it successful on all counts.
8. The Day the Earth Stood Still: $100 Million
The original black and white movie had very few special effects compared to this later version, yet it was still powerful. Gort, the futuristic robot, was all that was needed to frighten the audiences in their seats as he melted anything in his path with his powerful heat vision. The new version, starring Keanu Reeves, has the same terrifying robot, but it didn’t have quite the scare factor. Maybe today’s audience’s are more accustomed to seeing robots and futuristic stories than they were in 1951. The original box office numbers were not as high as expected. but a profit is a profit, right? $79,366,978 came in through domestic box office sales. The remake grossed over $233 million worldwide.
7. True Lies: $120 Million
The remake of a French movie, La Totale, was a smashing success. When Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis got cast together, they made this contemporary remake an action-packed, fun-filled movie. It grossed $378 million, which is more than triple what it cost. In fact, the first box office week brought in nearly $26 million and was off to a great start. Of course, back then the former governor-star was much in demand and clearly had the Midas touch.
6. Total Recall: $125 Million
This version of Total Recall with Colin Farrell playing Douglas Quaid, the spy who has had an implanted memory, is as exciting as the last. Douglas Quaid learns that he is a trained secret spy and finds himself on the run from the UFB. This film opened to mixed reviews, many of which were negative, however, most agreed that it was a visually stunning remake. Reports of this film’s budget have been cited from $100-200 million, depending on the source. We’re guessing it’s because it only brought in a total of $198,467,168 worldwide, which might be a loss – depending on the true budget.
5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: $150 Million
Gene Wilder was amazing as the original Willy Wonka and the iconic film remained a favorite for decades. Johnny Depp, always an incredible feature character player, managed to recreate the role with his own spin, as he tends to do brilliantly. This film was a huge success and brought in almost $475 million worldwide. The story and music is loved by all ages, so we’re sure this version will stay on the fast track and continue to bring in rental revenues for years to come.
4. I am Legend: $150 Million
I am Legend, with Will Smith, was adapted from Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel with the same name. As the story goes, an apocalyptic-plague has wiped out the majority of earth’s population, while one NYC survivor (Smith) looks for a cure. Those who have survived the virus have turned into mutants, while Will’s character, Robert Nevelle, is luckily immune. Francis Lawrence directed this box office success that hit an astronomical gross of $585 million worldwide. Of course, there are those who prefer the original film, The Omega Man with Charlton Heston, but in this day and age it is all about the box office success.
3. Hairspray: $175 Million
The Hairspray remake in 2007, directed and choreographed by Adam Shankman, featured a star-studded cast, including the one-and-only John Travolta, who played Edna Turnblad – a female role. Songs from the Broadway musical were included in this remake and it opened to record-breaking sales for a movie musical. The popularity of Hairspray‘s Tracy Turnblad, played by Nikki Blonsky, lives on. This remake joined the ranks of Mamma Mia, Chicago and Grease by being the sixth highest grossing musical film in U.S. cinema history at $264 million worldwide.
2. War of the Worlds: $182 Million
Tom Cruise, nearly always a box-office favorite, starred in this action-packed remake. When this was produced, it was cited as the most expensive movie ever made, but it has been surpassed by others at this stage. Grossing $591 million worldwide, the movie had the 38th biggest opening week gross ($96 million) and was well on it’s way to profitability from the start. The original black and white movie was also a success and based loosely on H. G. Wells novel about the alien invasion that threatens to wipe out the world. This adaptation by Spielberg hit amazing numbers at $704,745,540 in worldwide and DVD sales. A true success by all measures.
1. King Kong: $207 Million
It’s been remade a couple of times and each time we can’t help but feel sad for our big, furry beast. King Kong was an epic film when it was first made in 1933. The 1977 version with Jessica Lange was the fifth highest grossing movie of the year. The 2005 remake with Naomi Watts was made for a cool $207 million and reaped a few million with a worldwide gross of $331,136,767. It’s doubtful we have seen the last of the lovable, giant ape. Although hopefully we can be spared any future remakes of King Kong vs. Godzilla.