‘Oldboy’ Remake Status: Sadly Back On Track

Published 6 years ago by

oldboy Oldboy Remake Status: Sadly Back On Track

Here at Screen Rant we haven’t covered much of the American dreaded remake of the Korean masterpiece Oldboy, which has Steven Spielberg and Will Smith attached. But there’s be so much stuff going on behind-the-scenes with it that we thought you’d like to be updated on its status.

Word of Spielberg and Smith being attached (to direct and star, respectively) in a remake of Chan-wook Park’s Korean revenge flick first came about back in November of last year. At that time, Dreamworks was in the process of acquiring the rights and it looked like the unnecessary remake was fully on the way. But just recently the project hit a snag when legal troubles arose between Futabasha (the comic book company who published the original Oldboy manga) and Show East (the original Oldboy’s production company) over the fact that they negotiated a remake when they apparently didn’t have the right to do so (smells like the Watchmen lawsuit to me).

However, any sighs of relief from fans of the original Oldboy may have been premature as it appears the remake is back on track. Although it’s not 100% confirmed, it’s being reported (by Reuters) that Show East has gone bankrupt, and its CEO has gone missing. Big Egg (which co-produced the original movie) also closed-up shop and is unreachable. The rights were acquired by Mandate who later sold them to Dreamworks, and even though the company hasn’t commented on the legal troubles, they are now still going ahead with development of the project.

Complicated, eh?

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was annoyed at the news of an Oldboy remake when it was first announced. Even when it was revealed that it wouldn’t strictly be a remake of the 2003 Korean film per se, but rather of the original manga comic, it still didn’t take much of the sting out of the tail. And when the legal troubles arose it felt not too far away from divine intervention.

oldboy1 Oldboy Remake Status: Sadly Back On Track

This news now means that us Oldboy fans have to face the reality that a remake (which effectively it is, semantics aside) is on the way. No doubt Spielberg and Smith’s version will be watered down, removing much of the shocking content that can be found in the original (including something of a certain social taboo variety that I’d be curious to see if Spielberg would keep as far as a plot point).

In case you can’t tell, I am a huge fan of the original Oldboy and naturally anyone trying to do another version has me annoyed. I, and just about every other Oldboy fan out there, can only hope another problem arises that hinders and hopefully even cancels this remake project altogether.

What do you think of an Oldboy remake? Are you glad it’s back on board after its legal troubles?

No release date has been set as of yet for the Oldboy remake.

Sources: The Playlist, FirstShowing, /Film, Reuters and Variety

TAGS: Oldboy
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  1. I thought OLDBOY was ok…I enjoyed Simpathy for Mr. Vengeance better, but I do agree that an OLDBOY remake is completely unnecessary….when has a remake ever been better than the original….I cant think of one film and studios keep remaking movies. Its pretty sad and kind of insulting.

  2. @Ivan,

    “I thought OLDBOY was ok…”

    I think you’re one of about 17 people to have ever said that:P

    I love all three films in the Vengeance trilogy, each have their own qualities and can be admired for different reasons. But to me Oldboy edges out both Mr. and Lady in the Vengeance department (:P) – I think it has the perfect balance of style and substance (I think Lady has the style, while Mr. has the substance).

  3. This is a horrible idea! Why would anyone try to remake this film? Talk about all the wrong parts to make a movie. Will Smith? His screen persona prevents him from even approaching the despicable depths that need to be plumbed for this role. Steven Spielberg? When was the last time he ever trusted that his audience was smart/mature enough to be allowed to make any decisions for themselves? Oldboy is not your typical Hollywood genre pic that fits easily into a box. Awful.

  4. Cape Fear may be one film that’s better than the original. I thought King Kong (Peter Jackson version) was better than the original.

  5. This pisses me off to no end and makes me loath Will Smith even more.

    I too liked Sympathy for Mr. and Lady quite a bit but not quite as much as OldBoy.

    F-ing Spielberg!! Go make a good Jaws Sequel instead.

    I hope Chan Wook Park remakes Schindler’s List with an equally vapid doopey Pop star in the lead role

  6. This is the worst news to date that i ahve come across on screenrant. This is my favorite movie of all time. They are so going to ruin this for me. I will never see another speilburg or smith movie ever again if this happens. Will everybody please go to a movie theater and watch something original, even if it is not good. we need to send a message to hollywood. su

  7. As a one time contributor to the DreamWorks fansite (among other things), and someone who still has access to direct sources I frequently get quite frustrated with the ammount of misinformation that is reported on the internet. Spielberg is certainly not unique to this problem, however, due to his high profile, he seems to be a very frequient target of false, or, at least, not competely accuate rumours.

    This site is among the ABSOLUTE WORST when it comes to spreading idiotic information.

    This is not a remake. Nor is this a re-imagening of the Korean movie. I can assure you that Spielberg has no interest in directly re-doing somebody else’s work. This Old Boy will be based on the same source material that inspired the original movie, but unlike that earlier project is meant to be a much more direct and faithful adaptation of the manga. Park Chan-wook’s movie, while great, also greatly changed the original story to fit his own vision (and as a middle part of his trilogy). That said, while the both movies will have the original manga as it’s source material, Park Chan-wook’s movie will remain something completely different and will not figure in this version at all.

    An important point that I would like to make is that the original Old Boy manga is very violent and this aspect is not unique to the movie version. There is no desiere on part of Spielberg, Smith or the screenwriter to clean up that aspect of the manga and, in fact, those darker aspects of the material, coupled with the dramatic potential of the story was one of the things that drew them to the project in a first place. This will be an R rated movie.

    As far as I know, no date has been set for the relase of this project. If I was pressed to guess, however, I would say that a lot will depend on how soon Tony Kushner will be able to deliver the final draft on Lincoln (which Steven gave Tony pretty much all the time he needs to finish). Lincoln is something of a priority project at the moment but if it’s not ready than Spielberg will put this on the fast track. It is not impossible that we would see both of these movies sometime in 2010.

    The fight over rights should be resolved in the nearest possible future. It should neither affect nor significantly delay the project.

    I hope this clears up some understandable confusion and helps alter some of the perceptions/expectations associated with this project.

  8. @Kadabr

    Really? Among the “absolute worst” at “spreading idiotic information?” So I guess the FIVE sites that were sourced in this article are all guilty of spreading idiotic info as well?

    Please do grace us with a bunch of examples of our spreading of said information (since we’re so terrible, no doubt it’ll just take you a couple of minutes to find dozens of examples or more among our 3,000+ articles).

    Come on, back up your insult with some evidence.

    I’ll be waiting, Mr. High & Mighty Insider.


  9. This is definitly one movie I’m gonna avoid, Nah seriously I’m gonna crawl into a corner and pretend it isnint happening
    c’mon will smith again I mean god I seem to be the only one who remembers wild wild west (sure u all blocked it out like abuse) but I remember it he cant act(at least not that well) I’d rather watch…Chris Tucker play the role & he’s awful!

  10. Lets just pretend that what Kadabr is saying is the truth, WILL SMITH?!?!??!?! COME ON!!!!!!!

    This put me in a very bad mood, I will NEVER watch this movie!

  11. @Vic

    This is why i stopped reading themovieblog and started coming here, the main guy over there had all the wrong ideas, he adored remakes and has the most bizarre opinions.

    Screen rant rules :)

    Now, as far as i’m concerned, who ever wants to remake Oldboy should be shot in the face.

  12. Ok, the gloves are coming off now.

    To the morons above:

    What part of the THIS IS NOT A REMAKE do you not understand? The part that THIS is not a remake or the part that says that this is NOT A REMAKE.

    Is every adaptation of Hamlet a remake of the very first Hamlet movie that’s ever been made?
    Or could it actually be that there is a VERY CLEAR difference between remakes and literary adaptations?

    I would really love it if you actually answered this specific question. I am being serious.

    You headline still claims it’s a remake when clearly IT IS NOT. That fits my definition of “spreading idiotic information”. If nothing else, the fact that the lawsuit based on the original Japanese manga (and has nothing to do with the Korean movie) should have told you something you clearly aren’t smart enough to see.

    You can cite as many sources you want, the fact that you do not understand what some of these sources are saying speaks for yourself. The only thing that you show is that you have no exlusive information of your own to contribute.

    And what did you contribute beside the negativity? Does the world really need another article that links back to the other ones (this is definitely not a problem unique to this site – I’ve been there and have seen it all).

    The entire online movie culture is appalling. People who should be reporting news suddenly decided that they are in the position to hate/praises movies according to their biases. I wish I could just go online and get information without having to sort through all the subjective crap that goes with it. (I don’t care that the site is called Screen Rant either. In my mind it doesn’t buy you a license to bs on movies).

    And Vic, as far as I’m concerned you don’t have enough brain to make headlines that put this project into the negative light. Words like “Sadly back on track” in the headline are uncalled for.

    Don’t critisize that which you haven’t seen ESPECIALLY if you don’t have anything exclusive to contribute.

    I am not trying to be a hater. I just feel like these things needed to be said.

  13. @Kadabr,

    First off, I’d like to point out that Vic didn’t write this Oldboy article, I did.

    Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me offer you a reply to the points that you raised:

    You say that this isn’t a remake of Chan-wook Park’s 2003 Oldboy film, and if you’d read my article properly you’d see I mention/discuss that detail. I know it’s being described as a new adaptation of the original manga, here’s a quote from my article to back that up:

    “…it was revealed that it wouldn’t strictly be a remake of the 2003 Korean film per se, but rather of the original manga comic…”

    My point was that even if it’s not STRICLTY a remake of the 2003 film, it’s still a remake in a sense. It’s semantics in this specific case (I doubt this movie would be on the cards if that 2003 movie didn’t exist) Whether loose or solid, a remake is a remake, with only semantics getting in the way.

    You said:

    “..the fact that the lawsuit based on the original Japanese manga (and has nothing to do with the Korean movie) should have told you something you clearly aren’t smart enough to see..”

    This is wrong. The lawsuit DID have something to do with the movie. The lawsuit was between Futabashi (the comic publisher) and Show East (the 2003 Oldboy movie producer), as they didn’t have the right to negotiate their adaptation for a remake. If this weren’t a remake in any way, why would there have been a lawsuit?

    And you say the whole “online movie culture is appalling” because they don’t just report news. In case you haven’t noticed, Screen Rant (and a lot of other sites similar to it) is news + opinion. Of course we (and by “we” I mean online movie bloggers/reporters collectively) have the right to “hate/praise” movies (as you say) – that’s what we do. For traditional “news only” reporting I can suggest such great sites as Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and ComingSoon.net.

    We appreciate you taking the time to read our site, even if you don’t seem to give it the thumbs up. I would appreciate it that if you reply to this it is in a civil manner, and not spouting insults that are uncalled for.

  14. There’s been such a barrage of remakes in the last few years that I’d lost any real anger towards them (apart from finding out how high they gross over the originals), however this really got my back up.

    Ok so, up to this point a lot of (brilliant) asian films have been remade (badly). I can kinda see a place for some of them, people want to see how they pull off a remake of the TV scene in the ring, people are curious to see how psycho would fair as a modern version (Vince Vaughn take that god damn stupid wig off!!!), but a film as new and near to perfect for its genre (IMHO) as OldBoy simply doesn’t need a sub-standard remake at any level.


  15. Without the uber cult following of the movie Old Boy done by Chan Park Woo, there would have been no interest by Spielberg to do his own version. That’s the way he operates, and hollywood in general.

    Find a movie that people love and remake it in your own image, throw in Will Smith, Tom Hanks, or Tom Cruise and voila – crap movie remake for the newest generation. Makes me sick.

    It’s not even an old movie, and it was done perfectly already, so fans of the Woo movie will not be happy at any attempts by hollywood to revision this story – and rightfully so.

  16. (I realized I had just rearranged Park’s name, doh. Silly American. :-p)

  17. I can't bleive people are hating the remake. That fact is that North American remake wants to use the original source material manga. The Korean adaptation was just as is an adaptation that didn't really follow the manga.

    I think that they can do this and it be successful. Spielberg hasn't done anything like this and I'd like to think that he'd do it justice.

  18. Well to be completely honest, I’d have much rather seen a ‘re-imagining’ by a Spielberg-Smith duo rather than a Lee-Brolin one. Also, as Spike Lee isn’t as known a director as Spielberg, it was not surprising that he had so many run ins with the production companies and they diluted his version of the film.

    At the end of the day, not comparing works and judging them each critically on their own aspects, I feel an artist should be given entire control of his/her work, and that would have been showcased much better had this been directed by Spielberg.