Remakes in Hollywood are, by and large, not an unusual thing; especially with the understanding that, aside from a handful of properties, reimaginings are always on the cards not only to entice a younger movie-going generation, but obviously as a means of making huge profits through ticket and merchandise sales.
Ben-Hur, the 1959 classic starring Charlton Heston, has an update due out this summer and, along with a number of other films (both old and new) is proof that nothing is off-limits when it comes to the great Hollywood remake machine. Recently, a futuristic-set Robin Hood movie was announced under the guise of Robin Hood: 2058, which goes to show that execs are trying to devise new and inventive ways to rebrand a film or franchise as often as they can.
It’s therefore no shock to hear that The Count of Monte Cristo is undergoing a remake that’ll see the story modernized under direction of William Eubank (The Signal), as Warner Bros. and Safehouse Pictures move forward with the ambitious project, according to Deadline. Joe Pokaski (Underground) will write the new film, which is called Count, and is a contemporary telling of the famed Alexandre Dumas novel.
Writer Pokaski is no lightweight, having produced Netflix and Marvel collab series Daredevil, as well as Heroes. He also penned a number of episodes for each, as well as the new Blake’s 7 TV series. Safehouse and Warner Bros. (who are also behind the aforementioned Robin Hood venture) are currently in post-production stages of another retelling – Guy Ritchie’s Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur, starring Charlie Hunnam, that’s due out next year.
The last Monte Cristo adaptation to hit the big screen was in 2002 and starred Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, and Richard Harris – it didn’t exactly set the box office alight with a $75 million haul from its $35 million budget. It’s therefore safe to assume that, because the film tanked so badly in a financial sense, it was unwise to (re)attempt the same mistake again and soon soon after.
Clearly nothing’s good enough for Hollywood, who demand franchise reboots and updated films happen not once, twice, but three or four times. Robin Hood, for example, has already been remade on eight separate occasions – including Errol Flynn’s The Adventures of Robin Hood, Disney’s 1973 animation, 1991’s Kevin Cosnter-starring Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Ridley Scott’s 2010 effort with Russell Crowe. Similarly, Ben-Hur’s been redone many times since its first incarnation in 1925; made most famous in 1959 by Heston and its 11 Oscar wins, so The Count of Monte Cristo – having received no less than nine film and television adaptations in its lifetime – arguably needed a boost of some sort to set it apart. Whether a modernized version of this well-known story of friendship, betrayal, and revenge is a classic we need bringing up-to-date is debatable.
So far, it’s unclear what the term ‘contemporize’ means here. Will it be brought bang up-to-date in present day, or will the general setting remain with the dialogue and approach to the story altered for modern day tastes? Whatever the case, as soon as we hear anything we’ll be the first to let you know.
With The Count of Monte Cristo only just announced, there’s no release date yet but we’ll let you know as soon as there is.