Let’s go see what in store next month in the realm of movies, shall we? On March 10, we’ve got Kong: Skull Island, which is based on the myriad of King Kong movies. Match 17 will see the release of the live action Beauty and the Beast movie. March 31 will also be when live action Ghost in the Shell movie will be in theaters. That’s three reboots/remakes in one month. And I’m not even counting the reboot of The Smurfs movie franchise as well as Going in Style in April, The Mummy in June, Spider-Man: Homecoming in July, It in September and Murder on the Orient Express in October. I’m probably missing a few on here but you do get the point that there are a lot of up and coming reboots and remakes in this year alone.
And I’ll be that in the coming years, we’ll have more reboots and remakes on the way. It’s pretty much inevitable with the way Hollywood is playing it safe. Even though a lot of these reboots and remakes usually are critically panned, they do bring in the money most of the time. I mean, nobody was screaming for a reboot of the Robocop franchise and many people who watched it did say the original was much better. But the 2014 film did make twice its $100 million budget when you take into account worldwide box office takes.
Here’s the thing, though. If you do watch the original Robocop film from 1987 for the first time, I do think it still holds up. Some of the social satire may feel off and definitely some of the special effects (that scene where Dick Jones falls off the OCP headquarters didn’t even look convincing way back in 1987). Despite these couple of issues, the original Robocop is still really good even by today’s standards.
So, here’s the thing: why did they even bother of going through the trouble of actually getting a budget, hiring a cast and crew and film a new Robocop if the original one is still watchable? I actually gave this some thought and, honestly, I couldn’t come up with a reasonable explanation. I know I would’ve watched the original one at the movies is they actually showed it again and I think a lot of people would, too!
Actually, this idea isn’t even a new concept. As far as I know, there are several movie theaters in the United States that do show classic films on a regular basis. However, these are the exceptions to the general rule that the cinemas only show newly released films. As far as I know, they are still active and do make a profit so doesn’t this seem to reason that it can be done on a global scale?
For one thing, there are going to be some movies that are going to be untouchable. There’s no way anyone would have the gall to remake some of the all time favorites like The Godfather, Citizen Kane, Pulp Fiction and, of course, Rocky Horror Picture Show. I personally have never seen a live screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show and, from what I’ve read on the Internet, I highly doubt they would show it in the Philippines because of the amount of cleanup after each showing. Would really want to see if it would work in the Philippines, though. Might not participate but would love to see if others try to.
Okay, they did try to make a TV movie version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show but I guess it’s just not the same experience of going to a movie house with a raunchy crowd. But this actually does help my case as to why it’s okay to just “re-show” or re-release old films in movie theaters the way they are. The TV special just wasn’t as good as the original because the energy wasn’t there. Going to the movie and experiencing the film with others and feeling their energy is part of the movie going experience and watching it at home just doesn’t cut it.
It certainly doesn’t help that a lot of reboots and remakes just aren’t as good as the original. The remakes and the reboots do try to modernize things with better special effects, try to fill in a lot of loopholes in the plots and add their own twist to the original. But in doing so, they usually also cut out the charm that made the film a success in the first place.
There are a myriad of examples where this happened and I could enumerate all of them but I’d like to focus on one particular film that sticks out in my mind: Total Recall. Total Recall was one of my favorite movies growing up. The 1990 classic is one of the best science fiction films of its time and it certainly didn’t hurt that there was a lady showing off her three naked breasts off. I wonder how I got to watch that movie in the cinema? I was only 14 then.
Anyway, in 2012, they decided to make a reboot. It certainly upped the ante with special effects and they tried to make a deeper script. But, in the process, the new Total Recall just wasn’t as fun as the original. In their attempt to be all serious, it lacked the humor and the appeal that made the original 1990 movie such a blast to watch.
The reason why I remember Total Recall because, when the remake was going to be released, I remember an office worker inviting me to watch it. I told her no because I didn’t like the trailer and, well, it didn’t look as good as the original version. She actually looked at me funny afterwards because, it turns out, she didn’t know about the original with Arnold Schwarzenegger! After she did watch the remake, she said that it was just okay.
Her reaction actually made me feel kind of sad because she wasn’t able to experience the Total Recall I experienced way back in 1990. Instead of watching a solid sci-fi movie with a fun script, clever one liners and really great action scenes, what she got was a bland, watered down and “just okay” experience. I honestly think that, if she got to watch the original Total Recall in the movie house, she would’ve had a much better time.
How much did it cost the movie studio to make the new Total Recall? Roughly $125 million. How much did the film take in worldwide? A little less than $200 million. That’s no chump change, yes. But consider how much was spent to make the original 1990 film versus how much it took in domestically? The original Total Recall cost $65 million to make and took in a little less than $120 million! Worldwide, the Arnold Schwarzenegger feature made $261 million! Seems like a waste of $125 million since the new version wasn’t even that good.
And you can’t say that people wouldn’t go out to see an old movie. I mean, just take a look at Disney. Disney actually made it kind of a regular thing with them. They would re-release their animated features like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and more. All Disney did was spruce up the visuals to make them HD or 3D or something like that. Nobody complained that they were buying tickets to see something they already saw or could watch from home. Heck, I think it was the fact that they were going to be seeing the original versions which made it so appealing to watch in the movie theaters again! If it works for Disney, why shouldn’t it work for other old films as well?
It would be stupid for me to just say that no movie should be remade or they should never reboot a film franchise. There’s always going to be room for them. But I think Hollywood is looking at an untapped market, especially in today’s environment where people are becoming sick and tired of remakes and reboots of perfectly good films. So, why not just go with the flow and just get some of their old blockbusters, improve the visuals and audio somewhat and then re-release them to theaters? Make it seem like an important event, like the 25th anniversary of the film.
It would certainly be much cheaper than blowing millions on a film that people will hate, wouldn’t it?
Would you be fine with seeing re-releases in the movie theaters? Let me know in the comments section below!