Are we sick of remakes? It’s a difficult question to answer because cinema audiences are vast with varying tastes. You can listen to the countless opinions that remakes are dreadful. These reached a peak following the remake of Ghostbusters last year. Another option is to take into account the box office that remakes achieve. The thing that some people don’t realize is that remakes always manage to do well and bring in an audience. Even the aforementioned, and much maligned, Ghostbusters achieved a worldwide gross of $228 million — not great, but better than some of the huge flops recorded for films without a built-in fanbase. This is the reason for the rise of the remake — it makes the film easier to market. If people looking at the poster recognize the name of your film and can associate it with what type of film they’re going to get, half of the job is already done.
For every remake that is criticized, there’s another that’s a huge success. What makes it okay for some films to be remade and others to be deemed untouchable? Maybe this list will make that clear as we look at which films are ripe to be remade. There may be some controversial entries, others that you wholeheartedly agree with. Or you may be one of those that disagree with the very thought of remakes. Hopefully, some of the entries on this list will open your eyes to the exciting prospect of some remakes yet to happen.
15. Beverly Hills Cop
The most memorable aspect of this movie trilogy is probably the Axel F theme music. That’s a little bit unfair; it has an explosive central performance from Eddie Murphy, with great comedic support from Judge Reinhold. It also has some great action sequences and is really funny. This is a mix which many modern films try to attain — but fail to. With these aspects in place already, a new version of Beverly Hills Cop would be sure to be a smash. Cast it with up-and-coming actors, and give Eddie Murphy a witty cameo, and the audience would be hooting with laughter. Make sure it’s given to a director who can handle both comedy and really big action sequences, and it should be an amazing thrill ride. There are so many great casting opportunities (John Boyega, Michael B Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya) but maybe it’d be even more exciting to create a new, young, black A-lister.
14. Back to the Future
In the 80s, this franchise brought an excitement and pace that had previously been unseen at the cinema. It also offered a look back at America’s recent past, viewing it through the perspective of a young person who may not know about the era being represented. This is what makes Back to the Future ripe for a remake. It would allow the filmmakers to look back at our recent past with modern eyes. A modern Back to the Future could look at the 80s or 90s from the perspective of someone who has never experienced those times. It would be fresh to a new generation whilst also being able to offer nostalgia to all those who fondly remember the originals. Whilst Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd are still about to perform cameos, the time is right for a remake. Personally, I believe this would be a perfect fit for Hollywood’s current trend of gender-flipping the lead roles. Imagine how cool it would be to see Anna Kendrick as ‘Mary McFly.’
Not the recent Kray twins films featuring Tom Hardy in the dual lead role, this Ridley Scott-directed film was one of his first flops. It’s a film set firmly within the fantasy genre, which would make it fit in with today’s cinematic climate, appealing to Game of Thrones fans. This time, it could be done correctly. Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness was great in the original, but think of the options available for the costume design and CGI to make that role truly scary. There would be no pandering to the audience; it wouldn’t even need a PG certificate. It could push the scare factor and the reality of the world they create even more. Whilst the title might not hold much allure for modern audiences who’d forgotten, or never knew, the original film, I predict a huge success if this was remade. Cast big name Hollywood A-listers, and the audience would turn up in droves for a magical adventure, just like they did recently for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
There was a good action film in here somewhere. Unfortunately, it got buried under that annoying Aerosmith song “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” and some bland performances. Yes, Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis… everyone knows it’s your fault. It could have a little to do with Michael Bay too. Never one for subtlety, he seems to push the boat out a little further here until it starts to look a bit silly. Maybe he can get away with that on Transformers but not here. The plot concerns an asteroid set to hit earth, and NASA sending a group of oil drillers onto the asteroid to save the day. It does have the air of being ridiculous, but with a few tweaks, I think it could work. We’ve had a spate of intelligent sci-fi films recently, too, including Interstellar, Gravity, and Arrival, so there are plenty of people around that could make the good elements of Armageddon really work in a new version on the big screen.
11. Last Action Hero
The one thing everybody remembers about Last Action Hero is the post-modern humor and self-referential aspects. At the time, this was a very new concept for a mainstream action film. For this reason, amongst others, the movie bombed at the box office. Since then, film culture has become nerdier and embraced being self-referential, and something as fun and culture savvy as Last Action Hero would fit in perfectly. Maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger would be too old for the lead role, but there are plenty of actors with the required physique and control of comedy that would be great in a remake. The Rock would be my first choice if anyone decided to remake Last Action Hero. If there’s ever a downturn in the trend for superhero films, this might be the film to comment on that in a funny and self-referential way. They could maybe rename it Last Action Superhero for the modern audience.
This disaster film has become a forgotten blockbuster of the 90s, thus making it ripe for a remake. This 1996 film about storm chasers was visually impressive for the time, but imagine what could be done now. The most memorable scene involved a cow being swept up in the tornado. This could be taken to all-new heights. We’ve seen cities decimated in superhero films, but it’d be great to see this devastation come from a naturally-occurring disaster. It’d also be great to see the tension created from the human aspect of the storm chasers trying to get through to the center of the tornado to place the revolutionary measuring device. With the advances in booming cinema sound, especially IMAX, nowadays, you would be completely immersed within the eye of the storm.
This film is probably best known as the biggest and most expensive flop of all time. Waterworld was expensive and ambitious, but not as bad a film as some people remember. There are some great ideas within the film. It takes place in a future where the polar ice caps have melted and the world is covered in water. Our hero, played by Kevin Costner in the original, has mutated to have gills that help him breathe underwater. He reluctantly agrees to help a young girl and her mother to find dry land. The advantage of remaking a film with a great idea that has been under-serviced is that next time, you can correct the mistakes of the original and tackle the story correctly. It could probably be made on a much cheaper budget nowadays. Alternatively, it could still be made on a huge budget, but this time, there might be scope to do some really out-there sequences on and under the water.
Clive Barker‘s creepy horror series will always be remembered for Pinhead, the terrifying threat within the film. With A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Evil Dead all getting the remake treatment, surely it’s only a matter of time until Hellraiser undergoes the same process. The difference is this one might just work. It’s not as well remembered or as big as the aforementioned. Yet, it retains a brand awareness. Everyone knows the look of Pinhead even if you’ve never seen the film. Mainstream horror has become more conservative since this originally came out, showing more gore but being restrained on other more psychological elements. Hellraiser would be an out-there kick in the guts to the audience. It would truly horrify them with the Cenobites and its dip into the world of sadomasochism. A remake of Hellraiser might just be the defibrillator that the horror genre needs.
7. Liar, Liar
When you think of Jim Carrey films, you may think of Ace Ventura or The Mask before you remember Liar, Liar. If you were going to remake one Jim Carrey film for the modern audience, I would make that film Liar, Liar. Ace Ventura and The Mask are quintessentially Carrey. You can’t imagine either of those roles in the hands of anyone but Jim Carrey. Liar, Liar, meanwhile, could be adapted and survive without Carrey’s wackiness. The only scene where I can’t imagine Carrey being bettered is the toilet scene where he beats himself up. It’s classic, dark, and funny slapstick. So, why remake this? In this era of fake news, often labeled as “post-truth,” the time is right to explore the comedy of Liar, Liar. You could even change the lead character’s job from lawyer to politician, or maybe even the POTUS himself. There is plenty of meaningful, modern, and relevant comedy to be mined in a retelling of Liar, Liar. The big question would be, who could fill Jim Carrey’s shoes?
6. The Breakfast Club
The quintessential John Hughes movie and one of his simplest. It all revolves around morning detention for a group of disparate school characters. What made it great was that it took what could have been stereotypical characters and imbued them with realistic traits to the point they felt like real people. No one forgets the punch-the-air moment at the end to the strains of “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds. Actually, the film is full of memorable moments. Maybe a remake might be a bad idea as it could pale in comparison. The reason to try and remake it would be to once again define a generation. The Breakfast Club defined the 80s for that generation and contains memories for people who saw it and fell in love with it at the time. With a great young cast, a brilliant script and direction, a new Breakfast Club could do the same for today’s generation.
5. The Towering Inferno
Another disaster film on the list. Disaster movies from the past are ready for remakes because of the advancement in CGI. What couldn’t be achieved in the past can now blow you away on the big screen — or even better, a huge IMAX screen. The Towering Inferno is a great choice to be remade as it offers the opportunity to utilize a big-name ensemble cast just like the original did. The film can then play a game with its audience — the game of who will die next. Surely, they won’t kill off an A-lister really quickly. Enough time has passed since 9/11 for this to be considered insensitive, especially if you shift the focus away from making the film a completely realistic depiction and hit a tone similar to the Fast & the Furious franchise. If you focus on the thrills and spills the disaster movie genre offers you and mixed these with an A-list ensemble, a remake of The Towering Inferno is a no-brainer.
4. Animal House
This rambunctious, anarchy driven, frat house film is so much fun. The issue with it is that it’s really of its time. If you’re already a fan of it, then you’ll be able to go back and appreciate the original. If you’ve never seen it before, though, Animal House will appear to be from a bygone age and may even appear to be quite quaint. There have been far more out-there comedy sequences in other comedies since Animal House. In fact, you could argue that Animal House has already been remade under other guises if you consider the content from many Seth Rogen stoner comedy vehicles or a lot of the films under the production of Judd Apatow. Why not go straight to the source with a modern retelling of the original frat-boy comedy, Animal House? It might even manage to outdo the original, but on this occasion, I doubt it. No one beats Belushi — remember Blues Brothers 2000? So why remake it? Because it’s worth trying to beat the best rather than just steal segments.
Harvey is a sweet-natured film that many people may have forgotten about. It stars James Stewart, his co-star an imaginary human-sized bunny rabbit that only he can see — a comedy with a heart, which is the type of film commissioners and audiences are crying out for. If marketed correctly, these types of films can do wonders at the box office. I’ve always seen Tom Hanks as a modern-day James Stewart, but perhaps, someone younger should play this role, creating an all-new American hero we could all root for. It’s essential that we root for this man as he overcomes the worst things life can throw at him with the help of his imaginary rabbit friend. There could even be some neat special effects for the rabbit, who, even if we never see him, can have an influence on the surroundings. I’ve always thought Spielberg would create a great new version of this film. We all need a Harvey in our lives.
2. The Birds
If you’re a big fan of cinema, you may find it against all you believe in to even think about there being a remake of an Alfred Hitchcock film. You may remember Gus Van Sant‘s shot-for-shot Psycho remake starring Vince Vaughn. Hopefully, for your sanity, you don’t remember it that well. If any of Hitchcock’s films were ripe for a remake, I’d put forward The Birds. The adaptation of the Daphne Du Maurier novella had a mounting dread and some unforgettable terrifying scenes of birds attacking. Hitchcock threw birds at lead actress Tippi Hedren to terrify her for real during some scenes. With the use of modern CGI in a restrained way, this could be an even tenser tale on a bigger scale. Yes, that may take some of the tension out of it, but going bigger is a reason to justify another version of the Hitchcock classic for the big screen. Question is, who would have the balls to direct it?
1. It’s a Wonderful Life
The second film on the list where the original film featured James Stewart in the lead role. This film would work as a remake in this day and age as they have a feel-good factor that audiences seem to be seeking out at the cinema. During uncertain times, audiences want films that make them feel good. It’s a Wonderful Life, although tackling the tough subject matter of suicide, is probably the most feel-good film of all time. With a life-affirming ending, it became a massive Christmas movie hit years after its release. Initially flopping at the box office, it found its audience years later on festive TV screenings, as happened with another film with a feel-good ending, The Shawshank Redemption. Being honest, I wouldn’t want to see any of them remade, but I’m sure It’s a Wonderful Life would pull in huge audience numbers at the Christmas box office.