When it comes to movie remakes, some are good, some are bad, and others are downright ugly. We have all burned when anxiously awaiting for a new movie that is supposed to bring our favorite classics into the modern era. It makes sense that they need to have a new take or a fresh twist, but it is so hard to live up to the original. As a result, we found five of the worst movie remakes in history that we wish were never revived. Don’t fix it if it is not broken, am I right?
5. Fame – Kevin Tancharoen (2009)
Sometimes a movie is best in its unique moment in time. They can be snapshots of trends inside a decade, like a time capsule, caught on film. In our opinion, movies like that should never be remade because they won’t work the same in a new era.
This is the case for the remake of Fame, an iconic 80s movie that was pulled into the year 2009, with nothing new to say. The result is just another forgettable teen talent movie. With an estimated budget of $18 million, the movie grossed a remarkable $77 million. However, this amount of money usually has to do with the anticipation and excitement factor rather than the actual quality of the film. We can see that with the IMDB ratings, which are a 5.1 for this remake.
4. Conan the Barbarian – Marcus Nispel (2011)
There are movies that define genres, arriving before others and setting benchmarks to beat. This happened back in 1982 when the first Conan the Barbarian hit the big screen. It was “Jason and The Argonauts” times ten with brutality and cruelty. It was epic and fresh for movies of that same time.
Fast forward to 2011 and the remake directed by Marcus Nispel. The movie was made as if the first question during the production meeting was “what can we take from other movies?” Jason Momoa deserved better than rehashed ideas and lack of fluidity to the film itself. Conan, the character, also deserved something more brutal, but sadly, it didn’t pull out all the stops. With an estimated budget of $90 million, the movie grossed $63 million worldwide. Viewers have rated this remake as a 5.2 on IMDB.
3. City Of Angels – Brad Silberling (1998)
Wings of Desire was a beautiful, original movie directed by Wim Wenders. However, the remake loses the philosophical spirit and visceral connection with the city and period. Made in 1987 and set in Berlin, Germany, it’s kind of amazing that they were able to screw this one up as much as they did.
The original is a painful and poetic look at the human condition from the perspective of an angel. Whereas, the 1998 remake by Brad Silberling is packed with childish sentiment. It completely mixes the angel’s perspective with that of a human and misses the point of the original entirely.
With an estimated budget of $55 million, Brad Silberling’s movie grossed approximately $198 million worldwide. Clearly, it was received a bit better than some other flops we’ll see in this article and got a 6.7 rating on IMDB. However, we still think this film was a missed opportunity and don’t recommend it to our friends.
2. The Wicker Man – Neil Labute (2006)
Why, why, why, Nicolas Cage!?!! Unfortunately, when you touch a movie like 1963’s The Wicker Man, which possibly founded the genre of folk horror, you cannot then ignore that genre in the remake.
A child is missing on an island in the Hebrides. But when policeman Edward Malus lands on the shores, he discovers a mysterious community that becomes more and more creepy. That’s the premise of the original, the 2006 remake instead focuses on Cage and the hunt for clues while sidelining the community and setting.
Putting Cage on a pedestal makes sense, but not at the cost of what The Wicker Man should be about. With an estimated budget of around $40 million, the movie grossed $38 million worldwide. It was rated pretty low with a 3.7 on IMDB and we have to agree with that one.
1. Swept Away – Guy Ritchie (2002)
As the worst movie remake, you probably have never even heard of this movie despite it starring Madonna and being directed by Guy Ritchie who was a director of cult movies like Snatch, Layer Cake, and Sherlock Holmes. So, why did Swept Away end up like it did? In all honestly, this movie isn’t just bad, it’s a guide book of how to create one of the worst movie remakes. It even won 5 Razzie awards.
Amazingly, it has very little to do with the movie it was remaking: Swept Away directed by Lina Wertmüller in 1974. Did it have to do with the fact that Madonna was married to Guy Ritchie at the time? We’re not sure, but clearly, everyone is in agreement that this movie is not worth a watch at all. It was rated 3.6 on IMDB.
With a budget of around $10 million, the movie only grossed $1 million worldwide. Talk about a flop.
While we never want to discourage filmmaking in general, we can’t help but notice a trend in the world of remakes. It is rare to have a remake that honors the original and it makes sense. Oftentimes, it happens when a new generation makes up the target audience and either didn’t see the original and doesn’t connect with it or liked the history behind the original movie and can’t relate to the remake. Furthermore, die hard fans are unlikely to love a remake more than the original because they’ve probably seen it more than once. It’s a tricky subgenre of film and we recognize that. We just don’t recommend these movies to anyone we know because they are truly the worst movie remakes of all time.