As we all know, Hollywood is the epicenter of not only fads, but also
ripping off copying what works from other studios. We’ve all seen this before many times. One studio puts out a successful movie in some genre and within 6-9 months we see a bunch of movies coming out trying to capitalize on the popularity of the first one.
This phenomenon really took off in the early 1980s, with movies like Star Wars launching a new era in Sci-Fi films (yes, I know Star Wars was released prior to 1980), Superman starting the superhero movie trend, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street giving us the wonderful teen horror genre (at least they were rated R back then). Rambo started the lone hero with enemies that were lousy shots and couldn’t kill him even with machine guns and Porky’s gave us the start of the raunchy high school comedy.
So I suppose it was only appropriate, and a matter of time before Hollywood, bereft of new ideas, decided to re-visit those old gold mines to search for a fresh vein to tap. But now we’re not doing remakes any more… oh no – now the big buzzword is: Reboot.
The first recent film to tackle this concept (and succeed) was Batman Begins in 2005. Warner Bros. took a once successful franchise that had been ruined utterly and completely by descending into tongue in cheek, replete with nipples on the Bat-Suit. As we all know, director Chris Nolan exceeded everyone’s expectations and cleansed our palates of the abomination that was foisted upon us by Joel Schumacher.
Warner Bros. followed this success with Superman Returns, which while it was profitable, was a disappointment to many, and didn’t really “reboot” the franchise. It seems like the next Superman film may actually try to do that (again). We also had the rejuvenation of the James Bond franchise with Casino Royale, which gave us Daniel Craig as the closest thing to the early days of the series and Sean Connery.
The Incredible Hulk reboot didn’t go as well as planned for a variety of reasons including poor marketing and internal conflicts.
So now that the studios have seen that it’s possible to do a reboot well (as opposed to recent failures like Planet of the Apes and The Pink Panther), the reboot trend is moving full steam ahead. Interestingly, the main target for source material seems to the very same era I mentioned above: the 1980s (give or take a couple of years).
Now technically some of the projects haven’t been reboots – a similar trend that’s emerging is to create an additional sequel to a movie franchise that ended 20 years ago. An example of this was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – which while successful, was not as huge a hit as Paramount had been hoping for. The fact that the term “Nuke the fridge” has entered the vernacular has more than a little to do with it, I’m quite sure. :-P
On the “delayed” sequel front we also had Bruce Willis returning as John McClane in Live Free or Die Hard (aka Die Hard 4). While that was controversial due to dropping the rating from the usual R to a PG-13, it did well at the box office and was fairly well-received. We also had not one but two Sylvester Stallone sequels: Rambo and Rocky Balboa, both of which kicked butt IMHO.
Projects ready to hit the screen next year include J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek and McG’s Terminator 4. Other “dust off the concept” movies that are in the works include Child’s Play, Hellraiser, Ghostbusters and Beverly Hills Cop 4.
So this got me thinking… what movie reboots/delayed sequel possibilities are out there that haven’t been tapped yet? Now I’m not saying this is a good idea – I’m just saying that I’m betting there are “scriptments” floating around Hollywood for these well-known franchises.
Whether they get made before this trend runs out, I don’t know – but if they DO, you heard it here first. :-)
Here’s the list, in no particular order:
1. Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
Here’s the movie that made both Burt Reynolds and Sally Field stars and beloved by the public. Just a fun, against the establishment, redneck fun movie.
Logic: Are you kidding me? With Sarah Palin as the Republican Vice-Presidential pick and the whole Liberal vs Conservative angst, the timing for a new version of this couldn’t be better!
2. Crocodile Dundee (1986)
This is the movie that made Aussie Paul Hogan a star. With his low key charm and self-confidence, he became and instant audience favorite. It spawned a sequel which wasn’t bad, but in 2001 they did a third movie which was a stinker.
Logic: Someone needs to make a casting trip to Australia to find a new Dundee – shouldn’t be too difficult… Australia seems to have a good supply of “manly men.”
3. Home Alone (1990)
The original starring Macaulay Culkin and directed by Chris Columbus is a classic. There was one sequel and a failed attempt at a reboot back in 1997.
Logic: It’s been 11 years since the last one, so you know that someone out there thinks “if we could only find the right child actor” they could make a go of this one again.
4. Back to the Future (1985)
Another beloved series, which starred Michael J. Fox and was directed by Robert Zemeckis. While the first two were great, the third left a bit to be desired.
Logic: Yes, this one should remain untouched, but it’s got a brand name, was a big hit for its time and I can just see some new spin on this (no doubt with characters that are annoying instead of endearing).
5. Revenge of the Nerds (1984)
Having been pretty nerdy myself at the time this originally came out, I thought it was hysterical. As usual, the sequels got progressively weaker.
Logic: You could almost argue that with the unending string of teen comedies, this is unnecessary. Well, yeah, it IS unnecessary – but remember we have a known title plus lazy screenwriters (no, not ALL of them, but we know they’re out there).
6. Rambo (1982)
Logic: Considering the fact that we just had a sequel, maybe some bright-eyed exec will think it’s time to re-cast this with a younger actor. Instead of a Vietnam vet I’m sure they’d be happy to use a black-ops Iraq war veteran as the hero.
7. Porky’s (1982)
If memory serves, this was the first really raunchy high school comedy (yeah, we had Animal House but that was college, big difference, right? RIGHT?).
Logic: See #5.
8. Mad Max (1980)
Mad Max was a little film that gave us the first big screen appearance of Mel Gibson (dubbed horribly with an American voice). Immediate cult classic -spawned two sequels, one good, one not so much.
Logic: You could almost argue that a reboot has been attempted already with this year’s clunker Doomsday. But it’s not really a reboot unless they use the original title.
9. Rocky (1976)
Logic: Similar to #6, Rambo and the same logic applies.
10. Lethal Weapon (1987)
The original team-up of Mel Gibson as the manic cop and Danny Glover was awesome. Again, each subsequent film was not as good as the one before.
Logic: While there have been many “buddy cop” movies since this one, again we have the “Lethal Weapon” brand name. Definitely reboot material – PLEASE do not bring Glover and Gibson back for this.
Well there you have it: The top 10 candidates for the movie reboot treatment.
So what do you think – do you have any that should be added to the list, or ideas for how any of these should play out?
Thanks to DenOfGeek for sparking some ideas.