Budget-conscious Hollywood in grip of remake fever

Tue Apr 7, 2009 1:36pm EDT
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By Steven Zeitchik and Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The impressive opening of "Fast & Furious" during the weekend not only proves there's gas in that franchise, it also gives fuel to Hollywood's obsession with movies based on, well, other movies.

Studios have been remaking movies pretty much since they began making them, but during the past year and particularly the past few months, the remake machine has gone into overdrive.

The 1980s have turned into a full-fledged garage sale of titles. "Romancing the Stone," "Footloose," "A Nightmare on Elm Street," "Dune," "The Karate Kid," "Red Dawn," "RoboCop," "The Big Chill," "Arthur," "Ghostbusters" and "The NeverEnding Story" are but a few of the titles from that decade being developed in Hollywood.

The trend has broadened to include lesser-known properties from other media whose full value was thought to have been realized -- and, in some cases forgotten -- long ago ("Candy Land," anyone?).

When Warner Bros. sought screenwriters for open assignments in February, eight of the 10 requests were for projects based on a previous movie or other branded property.


Producers say it is now common for them to check lists of hits from another decade to see what might be easiest legally and creatively to package and set up at a studio.

"If you're trying to get a movie made now, you can push the rock up a mountain or you can push it on flat ground," said one studio-based producer, explaining the rationale for remake mania. "And most of us would rather push it on flat ground."   Continued...

<p>A scene from the 1980s film "A Nightmare on Elm Street". REUTERS/File</p>