Movie remakes and reboots seem to be more reviled than ever – but is all the hate justified?
We look at over 30 upcoming movies that will be covering some familiar ground, letting you know who is involved, what our take on it is, and how the project should be labeled:
- Remake – Recreating a previously released film.
- Reboot – Doing a “fresh start” re-launch of a previously established franchise or character.
- Reinterpretation – Creating a unique new cinematic vision of literary source material.
Our list consists of films currently in production or confirmed for production, in order of their release dates.
Release Date: December 21, 2011
Director: David Fincher (Se7en)
Cast: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgård, Robin Wright
Category: Reinterpretation of Stieg Larsson’s best-selling novel.
Our take: David Fincher proved to be a master of hard-boiled Noir with films like Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, and The Game – and now he’s returning to the dark side with the American adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Read our Review).
With a script by multi-Oscar-winning writer Steven Zaillian (Gangs of New York, Schindler’s List), a pulsing soundtrack by Oscar-winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network), and a Golden Globe-nominated performance by actress Rooney Mara in the role of hacker Lisbeth Salander, it’s safe to say that this version of Dragon Tattoo was a worthwhile new vision of Larsson’s work.
Release Date: March 16, 2012
Director: Phil Lord & Chris Miller (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs)
Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Ellie Kemper, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle and Johnny Depp (cameo)
Category: Movie reboot of the 1980s TV show.
Our take: Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are two of the most divisive young stars currently working in Hollywood; people tend to either love or hate them, respectively. That’s going to be the biggest obstacle for the 21 Jump Street movie – more so than the odd choice of having Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller calling the shots. And, while the 21 Jump Street trailer was funny enough, this reboot is pretty much Jump Street in name and premise only. Beyond that, it’s just your average buddy-cop action/comedy.
Release Date: March 16, 2012
Director: Tarsem Singh (Immortals)
Cast: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Sean Bean, Nathan Lane
Category: Reinterpretation of the Snow White fairy tale.
Our take: Tarsem Singh (Immortals) is a director who has been defined more for the style, rather than the substance, of his films. With Mirror Mirror, Singh hopes to make a family-friendly and stylistically lavish new vision of the Grimms’ “Snow White” fairy tale – one that is more light and satirical than its main box office competitor, Snow White and the Huntsman.
While the Mirror Mirror trailer was visually stunning, a script by two newcomer screenwriters, a hammy performance by Julia Roberts as the evil queen, and Singh’s track record for having little underpinning to his pretty pictures, makes it hard to believe that anyone but the juice box crowd is going to be thrilled by this one.
Director: The Farrelly Brothers (Dumb & Dumber)
Cast: Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos, Will Sasso, Sofia Vergara, Jane Lynch, Larry David, Snooki
Category: Movie reboot of the classic Three Stooges comedy sketches.
Our take: After losing an all-star cast of actors during a troubled development, The Farrellys’ Three Stooges arrives with three lesser-known actors in the lead roles, and a cameo by Jersey Shore star, Snooki (take that how you will). While the trailer for film looked like a dutiful homage to classic Stooges comedy schtick, the attempt to carry it out in a modern setting looked to be more “miss” than “hit.”
Fans of the comedic trio are likely going to come away wishing that Hollywood had left this one alone.
Director: Tim Burton
Cast: Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley and Christopher Lee
Category: Movie reboot of the Dark Shadows TV show.
Our take: Tim Burton is taking a cult-favorite Gothic TV show about supernatural monsters, and re-fashioning it as a weird blockbuster movie about supernatural monsters – and he’s bringing along some of his favorite collaborators (Depp, Carter) a few pretty additional faces (Green, Pfeiffer) and a screen icon (Lee).
As far as it being a reboot: considering that most of the target audience for this movie didn’t watch the original TV show back in the late ’60s and early ’70s, Burton’s movie will hopefully feel like a welcome introduction to the Dark Shadows mythos.
Release Date: June 1, 2012
Director: Rupert Sanders (directorial debut)
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Sam Claflin
Category: Reinterpretation of the “Snow White” fairy tale.
Our take: Snow White and the Huntsman is a perfect example of how to win over a new audience with an old idea. Thanks to one fantastic trailer, this re-imagining of “Snow White” as a Lord of the Rings fantasy epic is now one of THE talked-about movies of summer 2012. Even though this is director Rupert Sanders’ first feature-length film, the talents of the cast (particularly Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron as the evil queen) and the overall aesthetic make SWATH look like a truly promising contender – as well as a worthy re-visit to an all-too-familiar tale.
Release Date: July 3, 2012
Director: Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer)
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Sally Field, Martin Sheen
Category: Reboot of the Spider-Man movie franchise.
Our take: The latest poster for The Amazing Spider-Man touts it as “The Untold Story” – you know, the story no one’s ever heard of about the kid who gets bitten by the radioactive spider and gets super powers?
Jokes aside, Sony is taking a serious gamble by re-starting the Spider-Man movie franchise so soon after Sam Raimi’s trilogy. Equally risky is their approach to the character as a modern-day NYC teenager – a choice that is splitting the fanbase down the middle. Director Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer) has also never tackled a blockbuster of this size and scale, so there is plenty of reason to worry that this Spider-Man is going to be anything BUT “amazing.”
Release Date: August 3, 2012
Director: Len Wiseman (Live Free or Die Hard)
Cast: Colin Farrell, Bryan Cranston, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bill Nighy, Bokeem Woodbine
Category: Reinterpretation of the Philip K. Dick short story / remake of the 1990 film.
Our take: More than most films on this list, the new Total Recall has carried the dirty label of being an unnecessary “remake” – but this is in fact not (entirely) the case. The 1990 Total Recall film by Robocop director Paul Verhoeven was a very loose adaptation of the trippy sci-fi story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” by legendary sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick,
dumbed down converted into an Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick.
This new Total Recall will supposedly stick closer to the reality-bending elements of Dick’s original story – though there will be plenty of action (and likely a certain iconic three-breasted woman) thrown into the mix as well. If we had to call it at this stage, we’d say this film will be equal parts remake and reinterpretation. Whether it will be good or not is anyone’s guess…
Release Date: September 21, 2012
Director: Pete Travis (Vantage Point)
Cast: Karl Urban, Lena Headey, Olivia Thirlby,
Category: Reboot of the Judge Dredd movie franchise.
Our take: Comic book fans will quickly point out that the 1995 movie adaptation of Judge Dredd – which featured Sylvester Stallone in the titular role – was a far departure from the wrathful force of nature depicted in the comic book source. It’s for that reason that Dredd, the upcoming reboot by Vantage Point director Pete Travis, has been given that rare pass of being a “worthy” reboot of the character.
Travis and his leading man Karl Urban (Star Trek, Red) have promised that they will be bringing the Judge Dredd of the comics to the screen in a way fanboys will appreciate. That said, some behind-the-scenes issues with production on the film have us a bit wary that the final product might not have been worth the renewed effort.
Release Date: November 2, 2012
Director: Dan Bradley
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Adrianne Palicki, Josh Hutcherson, Isabel Lucas, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Connor Cruise
Category: Remake of the 1980s film.
Our take: The Red Dawn remake has been sitting on the shelf for well over a year, while some of the young actors in the cast have gone on to bigger and better films (see: Chris Hemsworth in Thor). However, even before the studio troubles, this remake was facing the challenge of trying to put a modern spin on the nightmare of a small U.S. town being invaded by foreign enemies – a story that’s only more preposterous now than it was in the 1980s.
As luck would have it though, the increased fame of the cast may now help the Red Dawn remake snag an audience it never would’ve lured before.
Release Date: April 12, 2013
Director: Fede Alvarez (Panic Attack!)
Category: Remake of the 1981 film.
Our take: Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead is considered a horror movie cult-classic – hence why that adoration has turned to hate for this upcoming remake, which is allegedly going to be more grounded and gritty than its campy predecessor. As many ED fans will inform you (ad nauseam) – camp and gore is what made the original great.
On the plus side: Sam Raimi himself is producing the remake, as well as helping out Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Young Adult, Juno) with scripting duties. However, until we know more, it’s hard to say either way whether this is going to be a success or a failure. But if icon Bruce Campbell doesn’t make at least some sort of cameo…FAIL will definitely be the verdict.
Release Date: May 31, 2013
Director: Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy)
Cast: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson
Category: Movie reboot of the classic Lone Ranger radio/TV show.
Our take: Disney’s updated take on The Lone Ranger is another reboot that’s been plagued with problems; from the script, to the budget, to the casting search. Still, with the budget now reduced and production back on track, the debate is once again raging about whether this film should exist at all.
Director Gore Verbinski took the Pirates of the Caribbean theme park ride and turned it into a hit cinematic trilogy – but his take on the Ranger – in which the cowboy (Hammer) is something of a comedic dunce and his Native American sidekick, Tonto (Depp), serves as the real brains – has been a major turnoff for older fans.
Unless a well-crafted trailer changes things, right now the old guard is crying foul about this one.
Release Date: June 14, 2013
Director: Zack Snyder (300)
Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Christopher Meloni, Laurence Fishburne
Category: Reboot of the Superman movie franchise.
Our take: In accordance with the recent relaunch of the Superman comic book, this reboot film will seek to update the superhero’s mythos for modern times.
The red underwear are gone, the attitude, costume, and powers have (slightly) changed, and the origin story is being retooled as well. Immortals star Henry Cavill will be the man donning the red cape (sorry Brandon Routh and Tom Welling fans…).
The inclusion of General Zod (Michael Shannon) is already causing some people to write this off as a remake of Richard Donner’s beloved Superman II – but in truth, Watchmen director Zack Snyder is going to be offering audiences a Man of Steel they haven’t seen before – for better or worse.
Release Date: [PROJECT HAS BEEN POSTPONED]
Director: Kenny Ortega (High School Musical)
Category: Remake of the 1987 film.
Our take: For many people whose hearts were stolen by the tale of sheltered ‘Baby’ Houseman (Jennifer Grey) and bad boy dancing instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze), the news of this remake is going to be akin to blaspheme. A different dance movie remake (Footloose) did well enough for itself recently, and the fact that this new Dirty Dancing will be directed by High School Musical helmer Kenny Ortega all but ensures that it will hold strong appeal for the tween-to-teenage crowd.
Line up a few big-name teen heartthrobs in the leading roles, and sad to say, another classic will have effectively been painted over with a hipper, booty-shaking, crotch-grinding modern sheen.
Release Date: [PROJECT CURRENTLY IN PRODCUTION]
Director: David Fincher (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo)
Category: Reinterpretation of Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel.
Our take: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a movie do-over that people seem ok with. Disney’s 1954 adaptation of Jules Verne’s tale was a whimsical film filled with sea shanties and crude effects. This new version will be a darker vision, focusing on the relationship between the mad Captain Nemo, Prof. Piere Aronnax and sailor Ned Land.
David Fincher is no stranger to dark worlds and dark characters, but his technical proficiency will surely be tested, as this new 20,000 Leauges will follow in Avatar’s footsteps as a Live-action/CGI 3D blockbuster. The script is being handled by the likes of acclaimed writer Michael Chabon (Spider-Man 2) and Fincher’s Se7en scribe Andrw Kevin Walker, so the combination of creative talent alone is enough to make us hopeful about this new 20,000 Leagues.
Release Date: [PROJECT HAS BEEN POSTPONED]
Category: Reinterpretation of the Akira comic book/remake of the animated feature.
Our take: This version of Akira is playing things fast (and very loose) with the source material: the futuristic dystopia of Neo-Tokyo has been traded for the futuristic dystopia of Neo-Manhattan (hence the non-Japanese characters), and a lot of the post-WWII allegory is going to be replaced by a different thematic narrative. All that change hasn’t stopped fans of the Japanese Akira from crying foul, though.
TRON Legacy star Garrett Hedlund isn’t the most inspired choice to play the lead role of biker gang leader Kaneda, but director Jaume Collet-Serra has turned in some very solid work in films like Orphan and Unknown. With a screenwriting team that includes Iron Man duo Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby – as well as Steve Kloves (the Harry Potter movies) – it’s safe to say that, from a personnel standpoint, Akira isn’t a complete disaster…yet.
UPDATE: Currently the project is dead in the water. We’ll see if it stays that way.
Release Date: 2014
Category: Reboot of The Crow movie franchise.
Our take: Relativity Media’s reboot of The Crow has been a cursed endeavor. The reboot has burned through two directors – Stephen Norrington (Blade) and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) – as well as two possible leading men in Bradley Cooper and Mark Wahlberg. Action star Brandon Lee was killed while filming the original movie, so maybe these ill tidings are meant to serve as omens that putting this character on film is just a bad idea altogether…
…Then again, when does Hollywood ever heed the omens in front of its face? Expect to hear more about The Crow reboot in the near future.
Release Date: 2013
Director: Spike Lee (Inside Man)
Cast: Josh Brolin, Sharlto Copley, Elizabeth Olsen
Category: Re-interpretation of the Oldboy comic book / remake of Korean film.
Our take: Fans of Korean director Chan-wook Park’s 2003 adaptation of the Oldboy comic book have mistakenly labeled this new Hollywood version as a “remake” – though in truth, the new film will borrow elements of both the source comic and Park’s film, mixing them together with an American setting and some new ideas and themes. Of course, that hasn’t stopped fan outrage over the fact that this new Oldboy exists and that Lee is directing it.
But if the cast ends up being as distinguished as it’s looking at the moment, Oldboy (U.S.) could ultimately be an interesting new take on the story.
Release Date: 2013
Director: José Padilha (Elite Squad)
Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman
Category: Reboot of the Robocop movie franchise.
Our take: Robocop is yet another case where remake/reboot hatred amongst fans has reached seething levels. The reboot’s director, José Padilha, has gained a strong following both abroad and in the US thanks to Elite Squad, which holds the record as Brazil’s highest-grossing movie release.
Padilha has already discussed some modern ideas and themes for the new Robocop, so this film will at least attempt to cover some new ground – but the real test will be who they cast in the leading role of Alex Murphy/Robocop. UPDATE: The Killing star Joel Kinnaman is an interesting choice for the lead role, but it will be Gary Oldman’s supporting role that we suspect will earn respect for this reboot.
Release Date: 2013
Director: Tim Hill (Alvin and the Chipmunks)
Category: Remake of the 1986 film.
Our take: The Short Circuit remake has actually been in the works since 2009, with several writers and directors having joined and then left the project. As of now, Dimension Films has placed Chipmunks director Tim Hill in the director’s chair, and if you’re wondering what kind of film he’ll likely make, allow us to answer that: a kid-friendly cash-grab.
Will lovable robot Johnny 5 end up singing a Lady Gaga number or hanging out with a Jersey Shore cast member? We’d like to tell you it could never happen. We’d like to…
Release Date: 2014
Director: Gareth Edwards
Category: Reboot of the Godzilla movie franchise.
Our take: The last time that Hollywood tried to reboot the Godzilla franchise, Matthew Broderick played hide-and-seek across Manhattan with a giant lizard. Needless to say, movie fans haven’t been eager to open that door again.
This latest attempt to relaunch Godzilla in a movie franchise rests on the shoulders of director Gareth Edwards, who proved himself a creative sci-fi talent with his 2010 indie flick, Monsters. With a script being written by both David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight) and up-and-comer Max Borenstein (The Seventh Son), there’s reason enough to be optimistic that this new group of filmmakers will get right what the previous group got so very wrong.
Release Date: [PROJECT HAS BEEN POSTPONED]
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive)
Cast: Ryan Gosling
Category: Reinterpretation of the Logan’s Run novel.
Our take: Anyone familiar with the work of auteur director Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Valhalla) should know that no matter what source he draws from, the end result is going to be very much his own work. And after seeing the…unique way Refn and his “muse” Ryan Gosling approached crime drama in Drive, it’s really anybody’s guess how the pair will tackle the dystopian themes of Logan’s Run.
Refn informed us that he indeed has a fresh new vision of the classic tale in mind – though he’s not sharing what that vision is. Since this project will mark Refn’s first big-budget studio film, it’s also questionable just how much creative freedom he will be allowed: don’t be too surprised if “creative differences” ultimately knock this Run back to the starting line.
The films in the list below are remakes and reboots (and a few reinterpretations) that have been rumored for production, but have yet to gain much forward momentum. And there are plenty of them…
Click any of the titles below to find out everything we do know about that film:
- American Psycho
- The Birds
- The Black Hole
- Drop Dead Fred
- The Invisible Man
- Mad Max
- Masters of the Universe
- Perry Mason
- Starship Troopers
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- The Thin Man
- The Warriors
- Weekend at Bernies