Recent movie remakes & reboots that failed
Writer: Casey Lee
Do you still remember these movie remakes?
Remakes and reboots have been all the rage in Hollywood in recent years, as a grand attempt at extracting the nostalgia dollars from those who grew up with movies from a glorious bygone era.
While remakes and reboots are a good time to put a new spin or update to an original property or franchise, the results sometimes does not always make bank, let alone live up to the source material, which makes us sigh when we hear any of our beloved movies getting the remake or reboot treatment.
Although "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul" is technically not a reboot of the series, it does have the makings of what could be called a 'reboot' of sorts by having a brand new cast as the characters.
The old cast (left) and new cast (right) of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid".
With that in mind, we don't think it can do any worse than some of the these reboots and remakes that we are about to mention, that not only failed to spark any new interests, but even did a disservice to their originators.
Total Recall (2012)
When the trailers for the 2012 remake of the 1990 sci-fi classic first came out, it looked like a promising revisit to the campy but also high concept sci-fi by Paul Verhoeven, adapted from Philip K. Dick's short story. Switching out Arnold Schwarzenegger with Colin Farrell might have been an improvement to the original at the time, since there were moments in the story that needed a performance with more gravitas, and Kate Beckinsale does not look any less hot than Sharon Stone in the original. However, other than the visual update and impressive action sequences which were crucial in delivering the excitement, the aim for a more darker and relevant setting and empty performances failed to deliver its intellectual engagement, making Len Wiseman's "Total Recall" one that would not find a place in the classics of sci-fi that the original is now in, even with Schwarzenegger's sometimes otherwise stiffy performance.
When a remake of "Ben-Hur" was announced in 2014, nobody was eager to hop on their chariots for a race. It was entirely unexpected since the days of massive sets and multitudes of extras have long been replaced by the CG-heavy industries of today. Directed and starred by nobodies (except by Morgan Freeman) who knew what to expect from them. Timur Bekmambetov's unwanted remake of the 1959 classic crashed magnificently at the box office making only a USD94.1 million gross against its USD100 million budget; a desperate sign of MGM trying cash in on its library of classics that did not pay off at all.
Fantastic Four (2015)
When the first two installments of the "Fantastic Four" first came out back in the early 2000s, it was slightly ahead of its time before Marvel set the boom of superhero movies. By 2009, superhero movies had already become the mainstream and Fox decided that the time was right to reboot the franchise of the superhero family. Confidence was up when it enlisted "Chronicle" director Josh Trank to helm the reboot, but after much rumours of differences during and after the production started to emerge, things didn't look so well. The result is evident, heavy tampering from the cutting to the plot just made a mess from an otherwise deserved and fresh origin story. "Fantastic Four" will remain as a painful reminder that even the best directors given the best material to remake at the best opportune time is still not guaranteed success.
By all accounts "Dredd" is not a failed remake from its conception to its execution. The minimal production value when compared to the Stallone starring "Judge Dredd" from 1995, the never-seen face of Karl Urban, the fast but small-scaled action and setting, and the daring experimentation with visual effects and slow-mo, all made up for a solid, grimmer, and stoic remake that suited the tone of the comics. The fault for its failure though was that not enough people went to see it in the cinemas when it was out. Making only a very modest USD41 million at the box office worldwide, despite strong reviews, not many had thought that they could get much out of a remake of a tainted franchise that had an even smaller budget. Although "Dredd" would eventually go on to reach cult status after it ended its run, talks of affording or making a sequel for the "Dredd" franchise has come up often before dying down. The only compromise we have so far is that it could continue on the small-screen.
Another Paul Verhoeven classic given the 21st century reboot, but once again not quite doing it for the modern audience. This time remade by director José Padilha, and starring Joel Kinnaman, as the man in the machine, the new "Robocop", like "Total Recall" before it, hit the right notes and tones for its tactical visuals and keeping relevance with the times, but once again falling short on getting the intellectual message across. In this case, it was the satire and social commentary weaved in the 1987 version, that was noticeably absent in the 2014 version. "Robocop" was enough of a success to warrant talks for a sequel, but knowing how the sequels of the original went, we wouldn't buy them for a dollar.
Conan the Barbarian (2011)
Riddled with a storied development, it was somewhat sceptical that anyone would want to make a new "Conan the Barbarian" without Arnold Schwarzenegger who was at the time still the Governator. Although it finally secured a studio and a director by 2009, there was a question of an actor with the bulk of Schwarzenegger to play as the titular barbarian. In came "Game of Thrones" which had its first season and the death of a certain Khal was an impressionable death. That Khal was played by Jason Momoa and he was about to make his leading debut. Unfortunately, Momoa may not had a natural charisma that Schwarzenegger had, coupled with characterisation and set pieces that were safe and simple, did not spark any real interest to see Momoa crush skulls and hear the (screeching) lamentations of women. A final box office count that made half of its production budget, is probably a safe bet that Momoa's "Conan the Barbarian" won't be seen again, but at least he's got that Aquaman gig going for him.
The Karate Kid (2010)
After making his feature debut as the young son with his father in "Pursuit of Happyness", the world was introduced to Jaden Smith who was ready to be a serious actor with his lead role in this remake of "The Karate Kid". Aside from taking many liberties from the 1984 original (like not having any karate at all), and making up for it by having Jackie Chan as the mentor, Harald Zwart's "The Karate Kid" was stifled by becoming a celebration of Chinese-American co-production, rather than reliving the campy and underdog spirit of its predecessor that made it less fun and memorable.
Terminator Genisys (2015)
While remakes of his most iconic franchises have gone on without him, a reboot of the Terminator series without Arnold Schwarzenegger would almost be unimaginable. Already making his complete comeback to the Hollywood business by then, "Terminator Genisys" was a 'soft-reboot' and sequel to the series, taking another time-loop to reset the events for a fresh start. By the numbers, "Terminator Genisys" would be considered a smash hit compared to others on this list, making an international gross that is only second to "Terminator: Judgment Day", but the massive investment put in for the production and the marketing for this reboot made it into a box office disaster. Even with Emilia Clarke from "Game of Thrones", and an old and young Arnie on the same screen, it was panned by reviews for its lacklustre innovation, and convoluted plot that was more like a rehash of the previous films. What was initially planned to be a new trilogy for the franchise has currently been put on hold for its poor performance, and the Terminator will not be back anytime soon.
Cinema Online, 10 June 2017