The practice of Hollywood to remake and sequelize films is not something new. It’s been around since the very beginning. I like to think that even back then, there were people like me bitching about it, rallying for creative thought and stimulation.
John Huston’s “The Maltese Falcon” that everyone knows and admires, with Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor, is actually a remake the second version of the story to be filmed; the first was released only 10 years before it. There were seven “Thin Man” movies, each less and less worthy of the original, and bearable only for the unequaled chemistry between William Powell and Myrna Loy.
So yes, sometimes it’s a good thing to remake movies, or to make sequels, which I unaffectionately call Hollywood Regurgitations. I’m not disputing that. My problem is with the unabashed greed of the MBA’s running today’s studios, who don’t even pretend to care about creating something unique which will entertain the moviegoers who pay their obscene salaries. Instead, they convince the decision makers to finance sickeningly putrid products devoid of anything approaching honest emotions, whose marketing campaigns are more heavily scrutinized than the screenplays from which the product was born, with vapid ads that bombard unsuspecting filmgoers on TV, on billboards and in print, to sucker the public into rushing out to see it opening weekend, before critics (who are being shut out by the studios with greater frequency) and public word of mouth can warn them away. My fear is opening Variety some day and reading about a remake of “Gone with the Wind” because McG can get Cameron Diaz to play Scarlett and he can get ILM to burn Atlanta with even more realism. My problem is that we’re more likely to see “Scream 4” than we are to see “A Confederacy of Dunces” finally made.
Take a look at the recently released “Poseidon.” Warner Brothers and their producing partner Virtual Studios spent between 150 and 185 million dollars, depending on who one speaks to, plus another 40 million to market, remaking a slightly cheesy movie from the 70’s. Why? Because they could have better special effects. Well, of course they could. We’re talking over 30 years of technical advancements. Just because it’s possible, doesn’t mean you fucking do it. Over 200 million dollars on that bloated piece of upside-down garbage. Tell me the studio would not have been better off making 5-10 lower budget movies with original, unique stories and no huge waves.
And what do we have coming up in the next few weeks? Well, tomorrow “X-Men: The Last Stand” lands in theaters. Personally, I’m a bit worried about it. I almost scratched my eyes out after watching the first “Rush Hour,” so the prospect of seeing my second Brett Ratner film leaves me with the shakes. Especially when I loved “X-2.”
The crown jewel of the Regurgitations mentioned in this article? The movie that makes even “Poseidon” seem like not such a bad idea? “The Omen.” I was able to obtain this top secret conversation that… aw hell, you can figure this out.
Fox Executive: Hey, we need to get another movie in this hole in June. We’ve got “X-Men” on May 26th, and “Garfield’s A Tale of Two Kitties” on June 16th.
Fox MBA: Why do we even need something? Those two are sure hits!
Fox Executive: My third house in Aspen isn’t going to pay for itself.
Fox MBA: Wait, isn’t it 2006r June 2006. 6 6. Oh snap! June 6! That’ll be 666.
Fox Executive: But June 6th is a Tuesday.
Fox MBA: So what? This kind of opportunity doesn’t come around often. It’ll be at least a few years before we could do this again.
Fox Executive: We can throw out another “The Omen” sequel! It’s been awhile since the last one. Omen 6!
Fox MBA: But there have only been 4 movies.
Fox Executive: Who cares? Get a writer in here, have him come up with a story for this thing. It’s a gold mine!
Writer: An Omen sequel, huh? Well, let’s see what we could…
Fox Executive: Screw this, it’s taking too long. We still have the screenplay to the first one?
Fox MBA: Yeah, we do.
Fox Executive: Just use that. No one even remembers that one, it’s so old. They’ll think it’s all new. 666!
Fox MBA: We can just have them use the same shots as the old one too. Why reinvent the wheel?
Fox Executive: Great idea! 666!
Fox MBA: And just like they told us in business school, if we throw a lot of money into it, we’ll get it all back. It’s science.
Not that this helped Gus Van Sant’s “Psycho” remake. So do yourselves a favor, folks. Reject the stale summer offerings by the major studios if you can. Go try an independent movie. You’ll feel better about where the money goes from your ticket, and you’ll help expedite the end of the reign of couch-jumping zealots at our megaplexes.