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Horrible Movies That Need A Remake

Hollywood follows tried-and-true formula: if your movie makes money, keep making sequels until the series stops making money. Once that happens, let a few years pass, then reboot or remake it. If a movie doesn't make money, it is never to be seen or heard from again, banished forever to the $5 bin at Walmart or TNT at 10 PM. But if a movie made money once, it should make money again, right? Generally speaking, this makes sense, and the formula has worked out pretty well as a result.

The problem is, this leaves out a lot of stories that could make really good movies. There are many reasons a movie might not work out the first time, and even the most legendary directors bomb once in a while. A good idea can have a flawed execution. A movie can fail at the box office, regardless of quality. Bad casting, bad timing, poor creative vision from the director, constant interference from overambitious producers, death by a thousand notes from the studio — all are possible. How many potential blockbuster franchises or Best Picture nominees are lost forever simply because the original film bombed and nobody gave the story another chance? We'll never know — but we can rally on behalf of the worthiest candidates. Here are horrible movies that need a remake!

How the Wild Wild West could be won

Wild Wild West is the poster child for blockbusters gone bad. It's a movie so wretched not even Will Smith — fresh off Independence Day and Men In Black — could save it. On paper, though, it sounds like a winner. Start with Will Smith, whose unique talents as both a comedian and action star created the ultimate blockbuster-making formula. Pair him with Academy Award-winning thespian and comedian Kevin Kline. Put them in a sci-fi western based on a popular TV show. Throw in Salma Hayek, Kenneth Branagh, and the prerequisite Will Smith tie-in rap song, and you should have a surefire 1990s hit. 

So what went wrong? Well, Kline wanted to be funny instead of playing it straight, killing the key ingredient behind Smith's blockbuster chemistry with Tommy Lee Jones. The sci-fi/western/steampunk mishmash would have pushed audiences' patience even in the best of circumstances. And, of course, the giant mechanical spider. But beyond that, the movie is an unfunny, unexciting mess that earned a 17% Tomatometer score and only $220 million worldwide on a $170 million budget. Why do we want a remake? Because a version of Wild Wild West with a touch more grounding could be amazing. Imagine Chris Pratt doing his thing as James West and Jason Bateman doing his driest deadpan as Artemus Gordon, directed by Guillermo del Toro. It could work...just skip the giant robot spider, please.

The Black Cauldron could be Disney's PG-rated Game of Thrones

Disney is all about remaking their animated classics as live-action nostalgia trips. However, the Mouse House has already remade their biggest hits with Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. More live-action remakes are on the way, but what happens when Disney inevitably runs out of classics? Will they remake Pixar films in live action? Make arbitrary, contrived sequels like The Lion King Part IV? We suggest a different path — remake the films that didn't work the first time but could work today. Candidate number 1? The Black Cauldron

Now, The Black Cauldron has a deservedly terrible reputation. Its mediocre 55% Tomatometer score is a disaster by typically sterling Disney standards — to say nothing of the fact that it earned only $21 million worldwide. So complete was its failure that it nearly put Disney Animation out of business. But the popularity of fantasy fare like HBO's Game of Thrones and Netflix's The Witcher has created a newly genre-friendly public and an opportunity for Disney to remake The Black Cauldron as a live-action movie on Disney+, or even as a series. Given that they have enough money to buy a small country, Disney could afford the worst case scenario of releasing another disastrous The Black Cauldron. Best case scenario? The Black Cauldron could be an anchor series for the currently fresh-content-poor Disney+.

McConaughey fell in to a burning Reign of Fire

Before the McConaissance and Batman Begins transformed their respective careers, Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale made Reign of Fire. Released in 2002 and set in 2020, Reign of Fire is a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi/fantasy action flick in which London is ruled by flying, flame-breathing dragons right out of a medieval fairy tale. We know what you're thinking: Holy smokes, that sounds awesome! And we agree. In an insane, kitschy kinda way, Reign of Fire was a ridiculous delight. But despite Bale's earnestness and McConaughey's scene-stealing performance as the zany Denton Van Zan, Reign of Fire only managed a 42% Tomatometer score and $82 million worldwide, which even the film's impressively modest $60 million budget couldn't justify. 

What happened? Well, despite being distributed by Disney (yes, you read that right — there's even a Reign of Fire ride at Disneyland Paris), Reign of Fire was released on July 12, 2002. A high-concept story that's not based on a popular IP needs time to breathe, which the feast-or-famine opening weekend battleground of summer movie season simply doesn't allow. Factor in some so-so reviews and Reign of Fire  quickly went up in flames. However, a Netflix or HBO series about rival clans battling fire-breathing behemoths and each other in a post-apocalyptic nightmare world still sounds incredible. Give it time to build an audience, and Reign of Fire could reign over any streaming service.

Alan's literary superhero team-up deserves Moore

Alan Moore, widely considered to be one of the greatest comic book writers of all time, infamously despises film adaptations of his work. Not even the critically acclaimed Watchmen series on HBO could change his mind — sharp-eyed viewers will notice that he refused screen credit. Why the bitterness? Mediocre adaptations of his work like 2001's From Hell and 2005's V For Vendetta likely played a part. Between them was arguably the worst of the bunch, 2003's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a film so bad it might have sent movie legend Sir Sean Connery into retirement.

Years before Justice League or The Avengers were brought to the screen, there was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. An all-star superhero team in Victorian-era Europe, the League is made up of icons from literary fiction: Captain Nemo, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, and Allan Quatermain, among others. It's an inspired idea that would make a fantastic HBO series, especially after the critical success of the aforementioned Watchmen. Alas, the 2003 film was brutal, earning a ghastly 17% Tomatometer score, though an acceptable $179 million worldwide on a $78 million budget. There were attempts to make a TV series in 2013, and a film remake was announced in 2015, but we haven't heard anything since. We hope The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is given its cinematic due, though we doubt Alan Moore will ever be involved.

This Postman should ring twice

Waterworld gets a bad rap as Kevin Costner's biggest mistake, but it can't hold a candle to The Postman, Costner's return to the director's chair after winning two Academy Awards for Dances With Wolves. First off, he stars as the film's hero and savior in a grandiose bit of self-mythologizing that would make the Greek gods blush. Second, it is nearly three hours long. Third, it made Tom Petty — rock icon Tom Petty! — look silly. So yeah, it's really bad, and deserves every bit of its 8% Tomatometer score and $17 million worldwide on an $80 million budget

So why on Earth are we asking for a remake? Because the underlying story remains strong. Based on David Brin's science fiction novel from 1985, The Postman is set in a post-apocalyptic American wasteland years after a civilization-destroying war. What's left of humanity is at odds, until a drifter who goes by "Shakespeare" discovers an abandoned U.S. post office and begins the slow process of restoring civil society through mail. It's a strong premise with an inspirational hook, broad enough to entice a variety of directors. None of the 1997 film's flaws are inherent to the story: There's no reason The Postman couldn't work today, especially given modern audience's interest in similarly post-apocalyptic stories like The Walking Dead and Max Mad: Fury Road. As long as it's not another Kevin Costner vanity project, The Postman could absolutely succeed on its second try.

We hope this isn't the last time we see this action hero

Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the brightest movie stars of the 1980s and 1990s. Once you get as big as he did, there's only one place to go — a spoof. But only one movie star has the charisma and presence to spoof Arnold Schwarzenegger:  Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. Thus, The Last Action Hero was born. In the 1993 film, a young fan gets a golden ticket that transports him into the fictional Jack Slater series, Schwarzenegger's biggest in-universe franchise.

A pre-teen kid running around an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie should have worked, but The Last Action Hero couldn't decide what kind of movie it was. It wasn't fully committed to being a spoof, so it wound up being just another Arnold shoot-em-up — but this time handcuffed to a PG-13 rating. John McTiernan directing a PG-13 Arnold movie is like Ozzy Osbourne doing a kid's album, resulting in a film that earned a measly 36% Tomatometer score and $137 million worldwide on a $85 million budget. It didn't help that it opened two days after Jurassic Park either. Disappointing though this may be, the movie's hook is strong. We'd love to see a remake with The Rock, who has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to balance silliness with stone-cold heroics.

We'd take another trip to "The Island"

What happens when Michael Bay attempts to direct a high-concept sci-fi saga? You get 2005's The Island. Set in 2019, The Island takes place in a world where clones are created to supply the wealthy with organs and pregnancy surrogates. Starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, the film had all of the makings of a thought-provoking glimpse into a bio-engineered future. After all, similar films like Gattaca and have proven their ability to build cult followings, even when they haven't set box office records.

In Michael Bay's hands, this film did neither. Sure, Bay dominates with wisecracking Will Smith and giant space robots, but give him somewhat complex material and you get The Island's 40% Tomatometer rating (a standard Bay score) and $162 million worldwide box office on a $126 million budget (a not-so-standard Bay box office take). It was Bay's first bomb after 10 years of blockbusters, and didn't do McGregor or Johansson any favors either. But imagine this story in the hands of Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise in the vein of Minority Report, Rian Johnson in Looper mode, or Bong Joon Ho in the style of Snowpiercer. Action movies can have big ideas, just not with Michael Bay at the helm, and moviegoers deserve another trip to The Island.

Who wants another Mario movie? It's-a me!

Video game movies tend to collect dust in the discount bin at GameStop for a reason — they're usually pretty awful. However, we may be in the midst of a video game film renaissance. Pokémon Detective Pikachu zapped to a 69% Tomatometer rating, and brought in $433 million worldwide on a $150 million budget. More recently, Sonic The Hedgehog scored a 64% Tomatometer rating, and raced to $58 million in its first weekend, the biggest opening for a video game movie ever

What made these films so successful? A mix of nostalgia from longtime fans and simple, family friendly storytelling. Now imagine that same formula applied to Mario, the OG video game franchise character. Mario's first cinematic outing earned an embarrassing 23% Tomatometer rating, and a downright abysmal $20 million worldwide on a $48 million budget. What went wrong is hardly a mystery: the tone of the film was too mature for the youngest fans, the storyline about dinosaurs evolving into humanoid creatures in a parallel dimension ruled by punks was overly complex, and it came out in 1993, years before nostalgia had set in. Rumor has it that in the wake of Pikachu and Sonic's success, a Mario movie is in the works. We're keeping our fingers crossed that our favorite dragon-fighting, princess-saving, magic-mushroom eating Italian plumber gets the movie he deserves.

Not Earth's mightiest heroes, but Britain's suavest spies

When we say the Avengers deserve another chance, we're not talking about "Earth's mightiest heroes," who need absolutely no help at the box office. We're referring to The Avengers, the mod-tastic British spy show from the early 1960s about eccentric secret agent John Steed and his assortment of female partners. Think Doctor Who, but with James Bond instead of an extraterrestrial Time Lord. 

The Avengers TV show has earned a loyal cult following in the nearly 60 years since its release. Alas, that audience wasn't enough to save the big screen adaptation from being one of the biggest busts of summer 1998, a season that also included Roland Emmerich's disappointing Godzilla. Despite featuring Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman and Sean Connery, The Avengers earned a rotten 6% Tomatometer score. Audiences were even more unkind, tanking the turkey with a $23 million worldwide gross on a $60 million budget. What went wrong? Well, if you're one of the 10 people who saw The Avengers, you know it's a terrible action movie with no wit or charm. But imagine The Avengers done in the vein of The Kingsman series: action-packed, with a sly smirk that lets audiences know the movie is in on the joke. Shane Black is supposedly rebooting it, so we're hoping for the best.  

John Belushi's story was the worst biopic ever

Biopics are big business at the box office and big winners come award season. Whether it's Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray or Renée Zellweger as Judy Garland in Judy, moviegoers and critics love watching the rise and fall (and rise) of celebrities. One major star whose manic life and tragic death seems tailor made for a biopic is SNL alum and comic genius John Belushi. Turns out, Belushi did have a biopic — but it's one of the worst ever.

If you haven't seen it, count yourself lucky. Wired was released in 1989, just seven years after Belushi's death, and starred Michael Chiklis before he rose to acclaim on FX's The Shield. It earned an abhorrent 4% on Rotten Tomatoes, while it only made — wait for it — $1 million at the box office. How did the life story of one of comedy's brightest stars fail so entirely as a movie? For one thing, Wired is in tremendously bad taste. Loosely based on Bob Woodward's biography, Wired features John Belushi's ghost looking back on his life. So It's A Wonderful Life ... but George Bailey is a hard-living drug addict who dies in the end. It's a cheap gimmick that consequently cheapened the life of its subject. Belushi deserves better — and happily, Hollywood seems to agree as another Belushi biopic is in the works.

There's got to be a better Gotti

Oscar bait performances are a high risk, high reward proposition. For every actor who reaps accolades, several others earn disdain. Enter John Travolta as John Gotti in 2018's abysmal Gotti, a truly horrible movie. Just how bad is it? Gaze upon Gotti's 0% Tomatometer score and $6 million worldwide gross

So much is wrong here. John Travolta doesn't play John Gotti so much as he does an SNL impersonation of John Travolta playing John Gotti, theatrically chewing on every syllable and emphasizing every scowl like an amateur playing to the blue hairs in the back row. But it's not just Travolta who made Gotti one of the worst movies of the decade – the entire production is tonally confused and utterly convoluted. Turns out "Teflon Don" isn't invulnerable on big screen, as 1996's Gotti starring Armand Assante wasn't much better. Some might argue that a movie based on Gotti simply isn't a winning proposition at this point, but we still feel like the legendary leader of the Gambino crime family deserves a great film. Perhaps it should be a pseudo-biopic, like Howard Hawks' original Scarface was for Al Capone, or maybe Gotti could be a background character, like Robert De Niro's Capone in The Untouchables. Anything would be better than the big screen attempts we've gotten so far.

One Missed Call deserves one more chance

Gore Verbinski's The Ring, a 2002 remake of the Japanese horror film Ringu, kicked off the J-Horror craze that defined terror in the early aughts. The Ring made $250 million worldwide on a $48 million budget and launched star Naomi Watts' career. In its wake came The Grudge, the 2004 remake of Ju-On: The Grudge, which earned $187 million worldwide on a $10 budget. With box office figures like this, it seemed like remaking Japanese horror flicks was a can't-lose proposition. Then One Missed Call came along. 

Its critical failure probably shouldn't have been surprising. Despite coming from Japanese horror master Takashi Miike, the original One Missed Call only mustered a 44% Tomatometer score. Turns out the 2008 American remake made that look like Citizen Kane. It earned a downright horrifying 0% Tomatometer score, though it still managed a respectable $45 million worldwide gross on a $20 million budget. Why remake a movie with such a bad track record? The concept — people get a phone call from their future selves about the gruesome details of their deaths — is solidly creepy and, with the right cast and crew, could make for solid horror. Here's hoping some director sees the potential in the premise, and picks up the phone when someone offers them the gig.

Moviegoers went Ballistic at this horrible action movie

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever is the worst reviewed movie on Rotten Tomatoes ever. Not only did Ecks vs. Sever earn a 0% Tomatometer score, it brought in a flimsy $20 million worldwide gross on a $70 million budget. That's a career killer, and its stars Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu probably just wish we'd forget all about it. Maybe that would be for the best. However, the problem with Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever isn't the underlying story — it's everything else. 

The film is just one critical misstep after another, like watching a theoretically decent football team make so many mistakes they wind up losing 78-0. The film is about a FBI agent and a rogue DIA agent assigned to take each other out, who discover a larger enemy at work as they each search for a deadly new weapon. That's a decent enough foundation to build an action flick on, right? Too bad Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever decides to muddy this simple premise with so many ridiculous "twists" it would have Game of Thrones show-runners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff crying foul. If this story goes back to basics — two morally upright government agents hunting each other under false premises — it could be a white-knuckle thriller. And hey, at the very least, it certainly couldn't do any worse than its infamous predecessor.