‘Total Recall’ Remake Bombs, Will Hollywood Finally Learn?

Hollywood remakes are dragging the industry into new lows of uncreativity. Happily, this weeks remake of ‘Total Recall’ tanked at the box office. The movie had a $175 million budget, and opened with about $25 million. In movie terms, that is a major turd.

Colin Farrell was also the big name of “Alexander”, another box office flop. But at least that movie was tackling a somewhat original topic. This time the filmmakers went back to the Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” and “re-imagined” the plot of “Total Recall” into a much less imaginative but much more special effects ridden mess.

I normally don’t hate on movies. I love big budget spectacles as much as art house flicks, even more usually. But Hollywood has now remade two Arnold movies (last one was “Conan the Barbarian”). They also remade “Footloose”.. then they even remade “Spider Man” which was made only 10 years ago. And it doesn’t appear that the trend is going away. It’s either laziness or cowardliness. Execs are under so much pressure to make a profit that they feel the need to associate their products with an existing brand… even a freaking BOARD GAME (“Battleship”).

But even though so many remakes are bombing, the remakes keep coming. Today I learned that a remake of the 1980s movie “Red Dawn” is due for a November 2012 Release. Granted the movie has been in the can since 2009, but so what? And the invading forces are no longer the Soviety Union, but rather North Korea.

North Korea. A country that can’t even feed its own people and is run by a ridiculous man child’s son, is somehow supposed to plausibly invade and overtake the US military. It’s really not the same as the terror we felt in the 80s from the USSR.

But now we do have more CGI special effects to sell the story.

I was watching ‘Breaking Bad’ the other day and marveling at how it is still so damn good after 5 years. And I was thinking about AMC’s choice a few years back to make good programming, to take risks, and not give a shit about ratings.

The gamble paid off in spade, as that network turned into a major player with series like “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men”. The Studios could take a cue from AMC and learn to actually come up with some original, compelling, risky big budget stories rather than playing it save a recycling good movies into shit.

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