‘Ben-Hur’ and 4 other unnecessary Hollywood remakes
This probably won't come as a surprise to anyone, but the remake of Ben-Hur — the 1959 film that won a record 11 Oscars, including Best Picture — won't be living up to the original. Instead, and you've certainly heard this before as well, it is an unnecessary Hollywood remake.
The poor reviews for Ben-Hur should have been predictable. However, beyond just poor reviews, the movie is on track to make as little as $15 million in the U.S. in its opening week — especially disappointing considering its roughly $100 million budget.
Yet despite seemingly doomed movies like Ben-Hur 2016, Hollywood still produces remakes and reboots at an alarmingly high rate. In the past two years alone, mounting evidence has shown that such movies aren't just going to be panned by critics, but audiences aren't likely to rush the theater for a wholly unoriginal concept, either.
Ben-Hur's blandness aside, here are four other franchises that received unnecessary remakes and reboots.
The same can't be said for this Fantastic Four, which went through dramatic behind-the-scenes disputes between studio and director, leading to a film that's quite deserving of its 9% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Trank insists that a better version of Fantastic Four was once on the cards — and his previous superhero-esque film, Chronicle, proves that he can execute the concept. But the Fantastic Four audiences saw left everyone hoping Marvel Studios get the rights to the characters and save the promising franchise.
Point Break: The notion of reviving an adrenaline junkie classic that starred Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze is bold, but nothing else goes right for 2015's Point Break remake. As GQ's Kristin Hunt pointed out at the time, it misses a key element from the 1991 original: any semblance of humor.
"Speaking of not laughing, why is this remake so deadly serious? We all remember Busey's line about the dead rhino, right?! This newfound dourness might make sense if the 2015 version were strictly marketing to adrenaline junkies, but it's not doing that, either. At least not well. Any movie chasing that audience needs to be following the Fast and Furious playbook — showcase a crazy, can't-miss stunt as the trailer's ace card and watch the people line up to see cars crash through Abu Dhabi skyscrapers."
The response was harsh at the box office, too; despite a $105 million budget, Point Break was a flop from its opening weekend, earning less than $10 million. (It certainly didn't help that it released close to The Force Awakens, either.) Point Break was sent careening into forgettable territory as swiftly as its characters BASE jumped off a cliff.
Terminator Genisys: Bringing back the OG Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was quite promising. However, despite the famed actor's return — along with the addition of the "Mother of Dragons," Emilia Clarke — Terminator Genisys is arguably the most disappointing movie in the Terminator franchise — even worse than the Christian Bale-led Terminator Salvation.
"Terminator Genisys could be Exhibit A in why the current line of thinking in Hollywood regarding sequels/reboots/remakes often leads to terrible decisions and worse films," Mark Olsen wrote in a review for the Los Angeles Times. "The popular term is 'reimagining,' taking some things and not others, which in this case apparently really means not entirely thinking things through."
Pan: It acts as a prequel to the Peter Pan narrative, but the film that removes Peter from its title easily goes down as the worst Peter Pan movie ever made. It garnered a weak 27% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and failed to break even at the box office.
Most recently, it even got an unkindly shoutout in an alleged open letter to Warner Bros. from a supposed former employee. The letter cites Pan as one of many poor financial decisions from the company that reportedly led to several workers losing their jobs. (Pan really got the worst of it, though, likely because of its $150 million budget.)
"It's not just DC movies, it's your whole slate," the letter reads, addressing Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara. Jupiter Ascending. Get Hard. Hot Pursuit. Max. Vacation. Pan. Point Break. Fucking Pan, you jerk. People lost their jobs and you decided Pan was a good idea."
Plus, someone also thought it was a good idea to dress Hugh Jackman up as a gothic marionette.
These are, unfortunately, the tip of the iceberg (see The Legend of Tarzan and Jason Bourne, among others), and more will inevitably come along — including the absolutely unnecessary reboot of Clue.
However, in spite of the many disappointing Hollywood remakes, studios can sometimes hit home runs. Ghostbusters — despite its online, misogyny-fueled hatred — was a worthy follow-up to the '80s classic. The rebooted 21 Jump Street franchise delivered two entertaining comedies while poking fun at the very concept of rebooting movies in 22 Jump Street's post-credits sequence.
But 22 Jump Street is right: The success hinges on the execution, rather than the concept. That said, movies with a record-breaking 11 Oscars — ahem, Ben-Hur — should always be left on the shelf.