Original stories are for people who lack business smarts. With the box office success of ’80s remakes like The Karate Kid and The A-Team, Hollywood is setting its sights to the past for content. We took a look at 10 other movies from our childhood that are on their way down the production pipeline, and wondered if we should be worried. Take a look to decide if your memories are in jeopardy of being crushed or simply shared with a new generation.
In 2008, a movie poster with the face of a revamped RoboCop and the words “Coming 2010” written below made its rounds on the internet. Given the available evidence, many fans thought the RoboCop reboot would come out this year. They were wrong. The script is complete and director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler) is on board for the project, but what’s holding the film back is creative differences between Aronofsky and the studio executives. Apparently, Mary Parent, Chairperson of MGM, is demanding the film be shot in 3D, whereas Aronofsky wants to make a realistic, gimmick-free portrayal of life in a futuristic, dystopian Detroit. As of now, no one knows when the crime-fighting cyborg will be resurrected, even though IMDB states a 2013 release.
Remake grade: A
Reason: If Aronofsky gets his way, an Aronofsky-RoboCop combination has the potential for greatness.
The Turtles are back. Or did they ever go away? Just over 25 years since Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird released a humble black-and-white comic book about four reptiles named after Renaissance artists, the franchise is about to release its fifth film sometime in 2011. Reports claim the movie will be a live-action reboot, with CGI kept to a minimum and used only for things like the Turtles’s facial expressions — a complete turn away from 2007’s TMNT , which was entirely in CGI. With Laird helming the project as one of the many executive producers, aficionados are hoping for a return to the Turtles’s grittier origins. But some are worried that Michael Bay’s company, Platinum Dunes, which recently bought the rights to the franchise, will eviscerate the series, like they did to the latest Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street installments. What we’re wondering is if Venus de Milo, the only female Ninja Turtle, will make an appearance. Probably not.
Remake grade: B
Reason: If the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is anything like Michael Bay’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, we’re not thrilled.
3. The Jetsons
For a while now, Robert Rodriguez has claimed he wants to direct a live-action portrayal of The Jetsons. Although the renegade director is known by a certain demographic as the man behind the adult-oriented Sin City and Planet Terror, another demographic knows Rodriguez for his successful Spy Kids series, proving his diversity in different genres. The current rumor is that Rodriguez is too busy with other projects, and the task of putting the futuristic cartoon family on the big screen might go to director Peter Segal (Get Smart).
Remake grade: B-
Reason: With Rodriguez out of the picture, the Jetsons will probably end up being a predictable Flintstones-in-space flick.
Like Atreyu’s horse, Artax, our childhoods might drown in the Swamps of Sadness if this remake fails to live up to the original. The production team behind The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has joined with Leonardo DiCaprio’s company, Appian Way, to reboot the fantasy film. Not much else is known about this remake as plans still linger in the early production stages. The only gossip we can pass on is that the new movie is meant to include more scenes and plots from the German-language novel by Michael Ende, which the entire film series is based on. Perhaps the original film excluded the additional material for a good reason.
Remake grade: B+
Reason: We have some hope, but not too much.
Leaving the ’80s behind for a moment, this remake enters early ’90s territory. The Mark Gordon Company (The Messenger, 2012) plan to introduce the summer flick to a new generation of teenagers pining for complete freedom from parental authority. Development is just getting underway and the search for writers is on. The role for Christina Applegate’s character is still available. Any takers?
Remake grade: B
Reason: To make this film a hit, the filmmakers may have to lean more in the direction of American Pie than Home Alone to strike a chord with today’s youth.
Johnny 5 will not die. The lovable robot with a conscience will make his 21st-century debut sometime in the near future with the help of writer Dan Milano (Robot Chicken), director Steve Carr (Paul Blart: Mall Cop), and Dimension Films. In the new version, however, instead of befriending a lonely woman, Johnny 5 befriends a lonely boy who has problems at home. Johnny 5 also develops an antagonistic attitude toward nuclear weapons, which he was built to deploy. It all sounds very politically correct.
Remake grade: A-
Reason: Robots and little boys have a good history of making great films together.
Things were looking good for this remake, then not, after Chance Crawford said he was no longer interested in playing the lead role of Ren McCormack. Today Paramount announced that they’ve picked Kenny Wormald (Center Stage: Turn It Up) to accompany co-star Julianne Hough, who is best known for winning ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, twice. Paramount should feel optimistic because when director Kenny Ortega initially backed out of the project, they found Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan) to replace him, meaning the studio has a track record of overcoming adversity. What are the chances that Kevin Bacon will make a cameo?
Remake grade: B
Reason: The market might be a bit too saturated with dance movies at the moment. Plus, the rebellion against prudish religious types isn’t as relevant today as it was back then.
8. Fraggle Rock
When you hear the words “Fraggle Rock,” is the next word that comes to mind “edgy”? Apparently, the lack of edge is preventing the feature-length Fraggle Rock film from entering the production phase. After having his script rejected by the Weinstein Company for being too soft, writer and director Cory Edwards (Hoodwinked) is understandably confused. The studio is currently looking for a new writer to make the Jim Henson puppets appear less adorable and more jaded.
Remake grade: C+
Reason: We’re not sure what the Weinstein Company wants to see in a Fraggle Rock film, but let’s hope it’s not R-rated.
With vampires and werewolves being in fashion these days, how much could another film hurt? Cousins Mark and Brian Gunn (Journey to the Center of the Earth) have been hired to write the screenplay, and the cult classic’s original producer, Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious, xXx), is set to direct. Michael Bay’s company, Platinum Dunes, is producing the film, which, again, means some people are worried the crude idiosyncrasies that made The Monster Squad great will be rubbed out and the final product will just add to the pile of banal, squeaky-clean films that came before it.
Remake grade: B
Reason: Tweens today need to learn that vampires are evil, not potential love interests.
10. The Goonies
The people have spoken via an online poll, and they want a remake of The Goonies. Since it’s good business to give customers what they’re willing to pay for, someone’s bound to supply the goods. So far, only rumors have surfaced: director Chris Columbus said he and Steven Spielberg have been discussing ideas; and Josh Brolin, who starred in the original, said there was already a script.
Remake grade: A
Reason: It’s too soon to tell, but we’ll take a chance on this one.