13 utterly unnecessary 1980s movie remakes that are actually in development
From Scarface to Dirty Dancing, a guide to Hollywood's many upcoming attempts to exploit 1980s nostalgia
Filmgoers who frequented cinemas during the 1980s have probably felt some deja vu lately. Over the past two years, remakes of films like Fame (1980), Evil Dead (1981), Conan the Barbarian (1982), Footloose (1984), Red Dawn (1984), and Fright Night (1985) have hit theaters. And Hollywood still has plenty of remakes in the works that are designed to convert your nostalgia into cold, hard cash. Here, 13 remakes of movies from the 1980s that are currently in development:
1. Escape from New YorkRemake of Escape from New York (1981)
John Carpenter's gleefully ridiculous 1981 sci-fi/action movie follows an ex-con hired to save the president after his plane crashes in New York City, which has been converted into a giant prison. According to G4 TV, the current favorites to replace Kurt Russell as protagonist Snake Plissken in the upcoming remake are Tom Hardy and Jason Statham, who are both fine action stars — but it's still hard to imagine either of them strapping on Kurt Russell's iconic eyepatch.
2. Endless LoveRemake of Endless Love (1981)
If Franco Zeffirelli's gross, turgid melodrama is remembered at all, it's for Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie's syrupy theme song. But this story of two lovestruck teenagers torn apart when the boy goes to prison for burning his girlfriend's house down is still slated for a remake by Country Strong director Shana Feste, starring Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde.
3. ScarfaceRemake of Scarface (1983)
Tony Montana might have a few choice words for anyone who thinks they can remake Scarface, but don't forget: The '80s crime drama was also a remake — albeit a very loose remake — of 1932's Scarface. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal's in-development film will be neither a sequel nor a remake of either of the two existing Scarface films, but tell a new "crime tale set in today's world, offering a dark look at the American Dream." Of course, those differences aren't keeping them from exploiting the original film's title.
4. Time Bandits Remake of Time Bandits (1983)
The original Time Bandits was Terry Gilliam's breakthrough film, in which an 11-year-old teams up with a bunch of dwarves to go on a time-traveling journey that takes them from the Napoleonic Wars to the sinking of the Titanic. It's a strange, fun, deeply idiosyncratic film with charms that would be very difficult to replicate — so of course, a team of producers told Variety they plan to turn the film into a "bigscreen kids action franchise."
5. VideodromeRemake of Videodrome (1983)
It's hard to imagine any reason why someone would want to remake Videodrome. Though critics adore it, the original film was a flop with audiences, and its grotesque, explicit body horror makes it virtually impossible to faithfully adapt for mainstream audiences. Both its themes and its aesthetics are built on 1980s culture, right down to its obsession with videotapes. And on top of all those barriers, director David Cronenberg actually made a similar film, 1999's eXistenZ, which updated the themes and technology for the modern day — and that was an even bigger flop than Videodrome. But against all odds, this remake is reportedly in the early stages of development. Long live the new flesh, indeed.
6. WarGamesRemake of WarGames (1983)
WarGames, which tells the story of a teen who almost starts World War III when he mistakes an actual nuclear launch program for a video game, may seem a little dated — but it did get an extremely belated (and extremely terrible) direct-to-DVD sequel in 2008. Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon was reportedly on tap to direct a big-budget, full-scale remake in June 2011, but it's not clear if he's still attached to the project. Will WarGames still work in an era in which young gamers have grown up on Call of Duty? Maybe the only winning move is not to remake it.
7. Romancing the StoneRemake of Romancing the Stone (1984)
Romancing the Stone was the most successful of a group of films that rode the coattails of Raiders of the Lost Ark, offering an adult-oriented version of a big-screen jungle adventure that emphasized the romance between leads Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. Talks of a remake have bounced around for the better part of a decade; according to Screen Rant, Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler remain the favorites to star. We can only hope the actors find the chemistry that they completely lacked in 2009's The Ugly Truth.
8. Short CircuitRemake of Short Circuit (1986)
Is Johnny 5 still alive? This long-in-the-works Short Circuit remake, which follows an adorable robot who becomes sentient after he's struck by lightning, has already had a tumultuous production process. According to Deadline, the film has already bounced from Paul Blart: Mall Cop director Steve Carr to Alvin and the Chipmunks director Tim Hill, so fans of the original Short Circuit should probably lower their expectations even further.
9. HighlanderRemake of Highlander (1986)
The original Highlander movie, which tells the story of an immortal Scottish warrior fighting his fellow immortals, was an unexpected franchise-starter that spawned five sequels, three TV series, and almost a dozen novels. But now that the franchise's long-term success has proven to be less immortal than its title character, a remake is on the way. The AV Club reports that Ryan Reynolds was cast in the lead role in 2012, but the Highlander remake has already burned through a series of directors, including Justin Lin (Fast Five) and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later). So far, no one has been hired to take Fresnadillo's place.
10. Dirty DancingRemake of Dirty Dancing (1987)
Dirty Dancing already got what filmmakers insisted was merely a "re-imagining" in 2004 with Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, which moved the story to Cuba immediately before the revolution (and featured pre-Mad Men appearances from John Slattery and January Jones). But the middling box-office of Havana Nights sent the franchise back to the safer waters of a shameless retread of the 1987 original, with High School Musical's Kenny Ortega currently attached to direct.
11. The Monster SquadRemake of The Monster Squad (1987)
The original Monster Squad followed a group of preteens as they squared off against a team of classic monsters that includes Dracula, The Wolf Man, and The Mummy — and the upcoming remake aims to reintroduce them to a new generation of children. Rob Cohen, who directed last year's Alex Cross, produced the original Monster Squad and intends to direct the remake. As recently as October 2012, Cohen lamented that the script was just "sitting at Paramount," though he assured fans that both he and producer Michael Bay were "kicking them" to put the film into production.
12. OverboardRemake of Overboard (1987)
The original Overboard paired real-life couple Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn in a sort-of-queasy story about a man who tricks a spoiled heiress into thinking she's his wife after she falls off a yacht and develops amnesia. In 2011, Will Smith was reportedly attached to star in a remake opposite Jennifer Lopez, who was eager for the chance to "make fun of her diva reputation," though the lack of updates since then means it's unclear if either actor remains with the project.
13. Pet SemataryRemake of: Pet Sematary (1989)
Stephen King is such a prolific writer that Hollywood isn't exactly hurting for King stories that haven't already been adapted — even if more than 50 movies have already been produced based on his work. But Pet Sematary is one of the more successful King adaptations to hit theaters, which means that it earned both a sequel (1992's Pet Sematary Two) and the upcoming remake, which remains in development with a script by 1408 writer Matthew Greenberg.