Not Again

Dirty Dancing, Footloose in Top 10 Egregious Movie Remake Ideas

With ‘Footloose’ opening this weekend, see which other film favorites are getting rebooted in Hollywood.

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Could this weekend’s Footloose measure up to the original with Kevin Bacon? While some reboots sound promising, like next summer’s Total Recall with Colin Farrell and Bryan Cranston, or Highlander, helmed by 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, many just butcher the films we’ve fallen in love with. From Dirty Dancing and The Beatles’ animated musical Yellow Submarine to a pair of Hitchcock films, see the 10 most egregious movie remake projects floating around Tinseltown.

 

--By Marlow Stern

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'Footloose'

When Footloose was originally released in 1984, the film starred Kevin Bacon as a vibrant Chicago teen who moves into a small town where the local reverend, played by John Lithgow, has outlawed dancing and rock music. Bacon’s character falls in love with the preacher’s daughter, and the two join forces to try to lift the ban. The film went on to gross over $80 million domestically, and its soundtrack, which included the No. 1 hit “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins, spent over three months at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Pop Album chart. Footloose also boasted early roles from the late Chris Penn, as a friend of Bacon’s, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Paramount Pictures’s updated version of Footloose, out this weekend, is directed by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) and stars newcomer Kenny Wormald (who signed on after both Zac Efron and Chace Crawford dropped out) in the Bacon role, Dancing With the Stars’ Julianne Hough as his love interest, and Dennis Quaid as the reverend. When the upbeat trailer for the MTV-produced film hit the Internet, it prompted Gawker to write that the film “will ruin your childhood.”

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'Point Break'

The 1991 cult action film centers on Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), a rookie FBI agent and former Rose Bowl winning quarterback for Ohio State. He is tasked with going undercover in the surfing community to infiltrate a gang of surfers that robs banks while donning masks of former presidents. Utah soon develops a complex relationship with Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) and his gang of surfers, whom he eventually suspects to be the “Ex-Presidents” he’s after. Directed by now-Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) and produced by her then-husband James Cameron, the film boasts deliciously over-the-top performances by Reeves, Swayze, and Gary Busey as Reeves’s unhinged partner. Plus, there’s hilarious surfer dude philosophizing and an epic bromance between Reeves and Swayze. (The scene where Utah has a clear shot on Bodhi, but lets him escape, firing his gun in the air, was brilliantly lampooned in Hot Fuzz.) The planned remake, which is still in its early stages, will reportedly be set in the “world of international extreme sports,” and was penned by Kurt Wimmer (Salt). The film will still be called Point Break, even though it’s a surfing term, and no word yet on whether they’ll keep the infamous final line: “Vaya con Dios.”

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'Dirty Dancing'

Footloose isn’t the only 1980s song-and-dance classic being remade. Apparently, Hollywood is hell-bent on remaking every Patrick Swayze movie, following his 2009 passing from pancreatic cancer. In early August, Lionsgate Studios—known mainly for horror and B-movie fare—announced that they would be remaking the 1987 cult classic Dirty Dancing, which starred Swayze and Jennifer Grey, with Kenny Ortega (High School Musical) in the director’s chair. "Patrick Swayze set the bar for men dancing in the movies as Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire did before him,” Ortega said in a press release. “I believe everywhere you look there is evidence that the talent is out there and I can't wait to begin the process of discovering the next breakout triple-threats." The logic must be that since the original film was so immensely profitable, grossing nearly $214 million worldwide against a $6 million budget, lightning will strike twice. There’s no word yet on whether it’ll include the iconic song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” or the famous line: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

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'Red Dawn'

In this 1984 cult classic, Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen star as U.S. teenagers who form a rebel militia to fight invading Soviet forces. It was the first film ever released stateside to receive a PG-13 rating by the MPAA. The movie made such an impact, the operation to capture Saddam Hussein was even dubbed “Operation Red Dawn.” “Operation Red Dawn was so fitting because it was a patriotic, pro-American movie," Army Capt. Geoffrey McMurray, who picked the name, told USA Today. Despite its historical and cultural significance, motion picture studio MGM planned to release their remake of the film in 2010, starring Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Josh Peck. But the film was put in turnaround following MGM’s collapse, and the $75 million budgeted movie is currently without a release date. Instead of depicting a Soviet invasion, like the original, this version initially had the Chinese invade; but it was later edited in post-production to have the North Koreans be the villains due to concerns from distributors. The on-hold reboot will also still be called Red Dawn, even though the villains aren’t the Soviets.

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'The NeverEnding Story'

It was announced in early 2009 that Warner Bros., along with the Kennedy/Marshall Co., and Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way, was planning on rebooting the 1984 fantasy epic The NeverEnding Story. They claimed that the film would be a more faithful adaptation of Michael Ende’s German novel that inspired the original, examining “the more nuanced details of the book,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The original, directed by Wolfgang Petersen (Troy), tells the tale of Bastian Bux, a troubled young boy who falls into the pages of a mysterious book, sending him on an epic adventure in the mystical land of Fantasia. Although the remake project has since stalled, it is currently listed as a possibility for 2014, according to IMDb.

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'The Warriors'

The 1979 cult gangland film The Warriors is a pure slice of 1970s New York City nostalgia. Directed by Walter Hill, the film opens with Cyrus, the leader of New York’s most powerful gang, the Gramercy Riffs, calling a midnight summit. He requests the leaders from every major gang send unarmed representatives to convene in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, where he proposes a truce suggesting all the gangs will align with one another to control the city and outnumber the cops. However, a Rogue gang member shoots Cyrus and frames The Warriors, leading the gang on a furious chase from the Bronx all the way back to their home turf of Coney Island. With its fantastic makeshift costumes and low budget aesthetic, celebrated New Yorker critic Pauline Kael wrote, “The Warriors is a real moviemaker's movie: it has in visual terms the kind of impact that ‘Rock Around the Clock’ did behind the titles of Blackboard Jungle. It’s like visual rock, and it’s bursting with energy.” In 2008, director Tony Scott (Top Gun) announced a remake of The Warriors. The film was to be set in Los Angeles, and Scott met with actual Bloods and Crips for research. However, the project has since been put in turnaround.

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'Yellow Submarine'

Based on the music of the Beatles, Yellow Submarine is a brilliant 1968 animated musical film set in the fictional realm of Pepperland that has been invaded by the music-hating Blue Meanies. John, Paul, George, and Ringo are recruited to stop the evil force with their melodious tunes. Notable for its psychedelic images, outstanding soundtrack, and numerous in-jokes, the movie was a critical and commercial smash, and even brought greater attention to the field of film animation. In 2009, Variety reported that Disney had joined with filmmaker Robert Zemeckis (The Polar Express) to do a motion-capture 3D-animated version of the film, similar to Express. They had also cast several actors to voice the Beatles, as well as Beatles tribute band The Fab Four to do the music. However, after the disastrous performance of the Zemeckis-produced film Mars Needs Moms, the project was shelved indefinitely.

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'Short Circuit'

This 1986 sci-fi comedy, starring ‘80s staples Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg, centers on “Number 5,” a robot prototype developed by the military during the Cold War, who suddenly becomes self-aware after being struck by lightning. Under the new name of “Johnny 5,” the robot escapes the experimental facility and attempts to evade capture, all the while trying to convince its creator (Guttenberg) that it is really alive. In early 2008, Variety reported that Dimension Films had given the green light on a remake of Short Circuit, with Dan Milano (Fox sitcom Greg the Bunny) writing the screenplay, and David Foster, who produced the original, returning to produce the reboot. The project will reportedly be similar in theme to the original, but according to Variety, the movie will “factor in advances in technology.” Tim Hill, who directed 2007’s Alvin and the Chipmunks, is currently attached to direct. 

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'National Lampoon's Vacation'

Is this part of the massive conspiracy against Randy Quaid? In late 2009, Slashfilm reported that New Line/Warner Bros. signed Wedding Crashers director David Dobkin to reboot their Vacation series. The rumored plot involves Rusty Griswold (originally played by Anthony Michael Hall), the son of Clark Griswold (originally played by Chevy Chase). Now a father himself, Rusty takes his family on a road vacation. Dobkin has since left the project, which is being penned by Horrible Bosses scribes John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. New Line/Warner Bros. is reportedly close to hiring Peter Segal (Tommy Boy) to direct, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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'Suspicion'

Guess they didn’t learn their lesson from Gus Van Sant’s Psycho. The brilliant 1941 Alfred Hitchcock film Suspicion stars Cary Grant as a rakish man who marries Lina, (Joan Fontaine, won the Best Actress Oscar) who begins to suspect her husband is plotting to murder her for her life insurance. Now, imagine Will Smith in Grant’s shiny shoes. It was announced in early 2010 that the former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air himself would be starring in and producing a remake of the Hitchcock classic, according to Latino Review.

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'The Birds'

It was also announced in 2007 that Naomi Watts had signed on to star in a remake of Hitchcock’s The Birds, in the role made famous by Tippi Hedren. Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) was attached to direct and Michael Bay is reportedly producing. However, Pajiba reported in late 2009 that Campbell left the project, and Dennis Iliadis, who recently helmed a poor remake of Last House on the Left, has been recruited to direct.