Despite the dozens of remakes that do get churned out in Hollywood, there are just as many that end up stuck in development hell. Remakes might have a terrible reputation, due to the fact that most of them are pointless and fail to be anywhere near as good as the original, but there is the occasional diamond in the rough. If a director has a unique vision for how to reimagine or recontextualize a story, or an old movie’s effects are updated with modern CGI technology, they can justify their own existence and even be pretty decent movies. So, here are 10 Unmade Remakes We Really Want To See.
10 The Warriors
Walter Hill’s comic book-y gangland actioner The Warriors wasn’t a huge box office success when it was first released, but it has gone on to become a cult hit. Way back in 2005, it was announced that Tony Scott was interested in developing a remake set in modern-day New York City. The Warriors has a simplistic premise that it would be intriguing to see reimagined for contemporary America. Since Scott’s death, Crank director Mark Neveldine has mentioned his interest in adapting the film for a modern audience. With his zany, over-the-top, balls-to-the-wall style, Neveldine’s take on The Warriors would surely be a lot of fun.
9 Flash Gordon
Producers have been trying to nail down a Flash Gordon remake for years. J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay (currently working on Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series) were hired to write a script, Kick-Ass’ Matthew Vaughn was tapped to direct, Thor’s Mark Protosevich was brought on to retool the script, Overlord’s Julius Avery came aboard – there’s been an endless string of talent. Taika Waititi has signed on to helm an animated remake of Flash Gordon in an attempt to finally crack it. Flash Gordon was a huge influence on Waititi’s bright, colorful, wacky, hysterical MCU entry Thor: Ragnarok. While that movie will undoubtedly be a lot of fun, it won’t be the same in animated form. With today’s CGI effects, it would be great to see worlds like Mongo and Arboria realized in live-action.
Although its reviews ranged from being praised as the greatest British horror movie of all time to Roger Ebert complaining about a “bankruptcy of imagination,” Hellraiser has remained a horror classic. There have been nine sequels, but no remake. Drive Angry’s Patrick Lussier was tapped to direct a remake some time ago and he brought his go-to writer Todd Farmer on board. Their vision seemed promising: “If we do Hellraiser, it’s rated R; if they want to do PG-13, then they have to get rid of us.” However, there’s been no movement on the remake. Maybe the studio did want a PG-13 rating.
7 The Dam Busters
Director Peter Jackson has been planning a remake of the World War II classic The Dam Busters for years now, but he’s never been able to get it off the ground. And this is a guy who was given a record-breaking $207 million to remake King Kong, so Hollywood really doesn’t want his version of The Dam Busters to get made.
Stephen Fry was working on the script for the remake. The last time Jackson came close to shooting it was back in 2009, and he decided to shoot The Hobbit trilogy instead, which no one will thank him for.
6 The Never-Ending Story
The long, embattled development on The Never-Ending Story remake is a never-ending story of its own. The original, directed by Wolfgang Petersen and released in 1984, is a nostalgic fantasy classic. Producers Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, and Leonardo DiCaprio (of all people) had intended to “examine the more nuanced details of the book” with a potential remake. Unfortunately, for a number of years, they struggled to secure the rights to the source material. Kennedy has since said that she believes, based on her long battle for the film rights to the book, that the remake is “not meant to be.”
5 Escape from New York
John Carpenter’s dystopian action classic Escape from New York is a prime candidate for a remake, and yet no one has managed to get a production together. The original starred Kurt Russell as a criminal badass who was sent into Manhattan Island, which had been turned into a giant maximum-security prison in the film’s hypothetical future, to save the U.S. President’s daughter. Scripts have been written by Insidious’ Leigh Whannell and Luther creator Neil Cross, while Robert Rodriguez has expressed interest in directing, but nothing has gotten off the ground as of yet. Maybe it’s for the best; the original is a gem that should probably remain untouched.
4 Revenge of the Nerds
It would be great to see Revenge of the Nerds get an update in today’s social climate. The original was a beloved comedic gem when it was first released, but its blatant misogyny and flagrant use of sexual assault for humor make it a very uncomfortable watch today. A remake could take what’s great about it and remove what’s terrible about it. We haven’t had a great college comedy in a while, mainly because the world has realized that frat culture isn’t as lighthearted and fun as Animal House made it look. The best college comedies these days, like Neighbors, critique frat culture. Revenge of the Nerds could do just that – it’s about marginalized dorks fighting back against frat guys.
3 The Man with the X-Ray Eyes
Tim Burton once tried to mount a remake of Roger Corman’s classic B-sci-fi horror movie The Man with the X-Ray Eyes. Corman is the indie producer who made his name in the ‘60s with inventively schlocky horror movies and wrote the book How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime.
Burton worked on the script with writer Bryan Goluboff, who is currently working on the detective series Mr. Mercedes adapted from Stephen King’s crime novels. Unfortunately, the script failed to gain traction in Hollywood and never got off the ground. It’s a shame, because this premise, in Burton’s hands, would be a surreal sight to behold.
On the surface, Barbarella would look like a shallow exploitation piece. However, with a script co-written by Terry Southern, the master satirist behind Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider, it was so much more than that. Starring Jane Fonda as a space-traveling badass in the distant future, Barbarella is ripe for a remake. Robert Rodriguez once planned a remake with Rose McGowan in the lead role and Casino Royale’s writing team Neal Purvis and Robert Wade tackling the script. With that talent attached, it could’ve been a great movie, but that version of the remake has unfortunately fallen through since then.
1 The Crow
It’s a tricky thing, remaking The Crow, because the original was famously Brandon Lee’s final film before his untimely death. It would be like remaking Furious 7. Still, it’s been 25 years since the original and a remake has been in development for some time. In another director’s hands, the premise of a rock star who is brought back to life to avenge his and his fiancée’s deaths could follow a completely different vision. Dozens of actors have been in contention for the lead role over the years – Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling, Mark Wahlberg, James McAvoy – and the most recent actor to come and go from the project is Jason Momoa. Hopefully, this will eventually get made.