There’s no avoiding the rise of the reboot in the past few years; the act of bringing an established franchise back to square one is officially in vogue. 2012 and 2013 alone have seen reboots for both contemporary and classic brands, from The Lone Ranger, to Dredd, to Man of Steel, to The Amazing Spider-Man, while the immediate future holds the promise of even more rebooting with Godzilla and The Crow. (To name just a handful.) Now we can add one more title to the mix, as the 2004 time travel thriller The Butterfly Effect is getting the reboot treatment, too.
Production companies FilmEngine and Benderspink are reportedly moving forward on the project with the aid of none other than Eric Bress. Bress, viewers may recall, wrote the original film and co-directed it alongside J. Mackye Gruber. It’s also worth noting that FilmEngine and Benderspink both have co-production credits for the first picture as well as its two DTV sequels.
At present, Bress has only been tapped for scriptwriting duties and no one has been called on to direct yet; short version: the film remains in the formative stages. For the moment, this sounds like a straight-up recycle of the nearly decade-old Ashton Kutcher vehicle, in which he plays a troubled young man who realizes he has the ability to travel back in time and alter his past – to disastrous consequences. That perception may change as more information about the production crops up in the coming months.
All of this calls into question the need to reboot the film; what intentions do Bress and these companies have in pursuing this endeavor? The Butterfly Effect certainly can’t be called a critical success, but it did turn out to be a solid financial hit for New Line, the studio that distributed it (and which shares a “first look” deal with Benderspink). There’s no rule stating that a movie has to be good to make money, after all, and The Butterfly Effect – for all of its grimy, morbid pleasures – proves that quite handily. It could be that Bress, Benderspink, and FilmEngine simply want to try and strike gold twice with the same concept – which is itself reminiscent of that Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror” bit, “Time and Punishment“.
While this news reads like a blatant attempt at revisiting one’s past to make a quick buck (there’s a Butterfly Effect joke in there somewhere), it’s totally possible that the team behind the reboot have interesting narrative choices to bring to the film. Maybe that’s the central directive here: to mine a better picture out of The Butterfly Effect, which frankly has a ton of potential front-loaded into its main conceit.
More to the point: The Butterfly Effect is exactly the sort of film that should be remade. There’s a lot of room for narrative improvement and things that could be done to expand on the premise, at least if all involved choose to do so. But if the reboot only rehashes moments and characters we’ve seen already, then it’s just going to make the same mistakes all over again.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more details on The Butterfly Effect reboot as they become available.