Whether they’ve run out of ideas or are just trying to give audiences more of the things they love, Hollywood has been in the midst of a franchise remake epidemic that doesn’t show any signs of letting up. These films aren’t just trying to make a better or more modern version of an older movie, they’re trying to to be the spark the ignites a whole series of successful movies.
2015 saw two major successes with the both Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens receiving a lot critical praise. But, as you’ll see if you continue reading, not all reboots have had as much luck breathing new life into an old franchise. Here are some that failed pretty badly.
12. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
The original Nightmare on Elm Street was a horror classic that carved a niche in the genre and launched one of the highest-grossing horror franchises in history. Freddy Krueger and his bladed glove gave terrified adolescents everywhere ample reason to stay awake at night and fueled our nightmares for years afterward. However, this 2010 remake of the film starring Jackie Earle Haley as the iconic dream slayer pales in comparison. It’s usually difficult to introduce a new lead actor when rebooting a franchise. The general consensus of the movie was that, despite remaining faithful to the visual style of the original, it lacked the depth and provocative twists that would have made it more memorable.Tr than tying all our childhood memories and feelings of nostalgia to this awful remake.
11. Conan The Barbarian (2011)
With Conan already having such a strong cult following, there probably wasn’t much need to mess around too much with the proven formula in the 2011 remake. But despite his best efforts, Jason Momoa still lacks the magnetism of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Conan The Barbarian remake did extremely poor at the box office, signifying that many people probably preferred to remain loyal to the original movie. Unless you’re someone who goes into a berserker rage if you don’t get your fix of brutal barbaric violence, this film isn’t really worth the watch — especially if you have the original on hand.
And speaking of the original Conan, since the remake failed so miserably there are rumors swirling that Schwarzenegger might reprise his role in a sequel to Conan the Destroyer. If that’s the case, you should probably just skip this remake altogether.
10. The Karate Kid (2010)
Anyone who doesn’t want to have their appreciation for the original Karate Kid completely ruined should probably steer clear of this 2010 remake. Jaden Smith isn’t fit to wax on or wax off Ralph Macchio’s 1948 Ford Super DeLuxe Club convertible, let alone take his place as the Karate Kid. Not even the boundless charisma of Jackie Chan as the updated Mr. Miyagi could save this movie from being one of the worst remakes in history.
The premise of a Detroit kid moving to Beijing simply didn’t resonate with audiences. Sure, the fish out of water aspect from the original is still there, but it doesn’t develop into anything that would be considered a convincing portrayal. Oh ya, and did we mention that there isn’t even a lick of karate in the whole movie? It’s all about kung fu! They should have just called this movie The Kung Fu Kid and made it a separate movie rather than tying all our childhood memories and feelings of nostalgia to this awful remake.
9. Friday the 13th (2009)
Friday the 13th is another iconic horror franchise and features the hockey-mask wearing serial killer known as Jason Vorhees. But oddly enough, the character isn’t even the murderer in the first movie and he doesn’t don his signature mask until Part III. One of the things that was so great about this movie series was how Jason seemed to slowly evolve as it went on and fans were never certain exactly how things were going to play out.
On the other hand, the 2009 reboot of the franchise attempts to fit 11 movies worth of backstory into single 97 minute film. Needless to say, it was a bit of a mess — not unlike one of Jason’s mutilated victims.
8. The Wolfman (2010)
The Monster Movies from Universal may very well have been the first Cinematic Universe, showing the likes of Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and the Wolfman each in their own separate pictures before having them come together for the ultimate monster movie mash-up. With so many great properties, it’s not surprising that the studio has tried to revive the franchise numerous times in more recent years. 2010’s The Wolfman was the latest attempt to give new life to the classic monster movie. But the significance of the franchise meant that there were a lot of people interfering with the project as it moved forward. As a result, the end product is unfocused and difficult to make sense of at times.
7. Terminator Salvation (2009)
The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day will forever be remembered as two of the greatest action/science fiction movies of all time. Unfortunately, the quality of the franchise seems to decline sharply after that. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was little more than an action spectacle, while the fourth movie, Terminator Salvation, took the series in a completely different direction — stepping away from time travel and following a hardened John Connor (Christian Bale) in his war against the machines. They might be an okay watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but neither can hold a candle to the first two movies.
6. Planet of the Apes (2001)
Given that the 1968 Planet of the Apes is considered a cinema classic, Tim Burton had some pretty big shoes to fill when he stepped in as the director for the 2001 remake. Unfortunately, despite becoming a moderate financial success, it still fell flat with critics and audiences alike.
Although the remake was praised for the makeup and effects used to reimagined the apes, critics were quick to point out that the script was severely lacking in originality. The film was mostly panned for seemingly going out of its way to pay tribute to the original without adding anything new or surprising. In he review of the film, Roger Ebert said, “[Burton] made a film that’s respectful to the original, and respectable in itself, but that’s not enough. Ten years from now it will be the 1968 version that people are still renting.”
The movie also won the prize for worst remake at the 22nd annual Golden Raspberry Awards.
5. Godzilla (1998)
Moviegoers around the world have been enjoying the classic Godzilla movies since the 1950s, so Sony Pictures probably thought they had a surefire hit when they decided to reboot the movie for an American audience in 1998. Transplanting the rampaging radiation monster from Tokyo to New York certainly didn’t help the film franchise though. Although it did take in $379 million and was the highest grossing film worldwide that year, it was disliked by nearly everyone who saw it and only scored a 16 percent on the movie review website Rotten Tomotoes. The film was hated by fans and critics for everything from the acting, to the directing, to the CGI redesign of the titular character. The film was even nominated for several Razzie Awards, including worst picture, worst director and worst screenplay and took home the prize for worst supporting actress (Maria Pitillo) and worst remake. Needless to say, despite the good box office showing, this pretty much squashed the studio’s original plans for a Godzilla trilogy.
However, it takes more than a few negative reviews beat the King of Monsters and, in 2014, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures gave an American Godzilla another shot with the release of a much better movie (74 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, and Bryan Cranston.
4. Superman Returns (2006)
As one of the biggest pop icons ever created, it’s actually surprising to think that Superman actually disappeared from movies for almost two full decades before the release of 2006’s appropriately titled Superman Returns. Directed by Bryan Singer — who had recently recently launched the X-Men movie franchise — Superman Returns was supposed to be the start of a new series Superman movies, with Warner Bros. even going so far as to announce the scheduled release date of a planned sequel four months before the original movie even hit theaters. Unfortunately audiences found the context of the movie a little strange. While its faithfulness is appealing, the idea of setting it within the timeline of a film series that had been dead for 19 years was probably a bad move. It actually put the film at a disadvantage because it was impossible to look at Brandon Routh’s performance and not compare it directly to that of the beloved Christopher Reeve’s.
With the movie ultimately not turning out to be the great success that Warner Bros. hoped it would be, the planned sequel was scrapped and the world had to wait until 2013’s Man of Steel to see Superman in action again on the big screen.
3. Terminator Genisys (2015)
Even though Salvation failed to light the fuse on a new series of movies, was there ever any doubt that the Terminator would be back? This franchise is harder to kill than a T-1000, and this time around Schwarzenegger was back in the saddle with the public support of James Cameron. Everything seemed to indicate that Genisys was going to be best Terminator movie since the first sequel. It’s just a shame we couldn’t have just rode that hype train right on to the next inevitable Terminator reboot. It would have saved us all a lot of disappointment.
Though the first two Terminator movies are largely considered masterpieces of the action sci-fi genre, they’re not immune to the logical fallacies that often interfere with movies that deal with time travel. But Genisys seems to tie itself in knots of narrative logic in an attempt to create something that might pass as an interesting storyline. Having the movie’s biggest plot twist revealed in the trailers also didn’t help much.
Despite there being big plans for various sequels and television spinoffs, Genisys’ discouraging reception has resulted in the franchise having the brakes put on it once again.
2. Fantastic Four (2015)
Turns out that 2015 was an exceptionally bad year for movie reboots. Not only did Terminator Genisys fail to live up to audiences expectations, Fantastic Four gained a reputation for being one of the worst movies in recent memory.
The movie clearly made an attempt to distance itself from the super cheesy Fantastic Four movies from the 2000s, and in the hands of Josh Trank, the director of the acclaimed and atypical superhero film Chronicle, fans were initially excited by the prospect of a darker and grittier Fantastic Four that was intended for a more mature audience. Sadly, as the 9% score on Rotten Tomatoes can attest, the reboot actually turned out much worse than anyone could have possibly imagined and probably left most people longing for the return of those colorful characters from the previous films.
1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Fans around the world kicked up their heels and rejoiced when they heard the announcement that Harrison Ford would be teaming up with Steven Spielberg again to make a fourth Indiana Jones movie. But for whatever reason, be it the lack of Nazis, the inclusion of Shia LaBeouf, or the insertion of aliens into the Indian Jones universe, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull just didn’t sit well with a lot of people.
Though film buffs still debate whether this movie was intended to set up a new series of films or not, the inclusion of Shia LaBeouf as Indy’s objectionable son does seem to suggest they were looking to extend the life of the franchise.
Now that we know we have a fifth Indiana Jones movie on the way, let’s just hope that Spielberg has learned from his mistakes.