The female-led Ghostbusters movie is generating a lot of hype ahead of its UK cinema release on 15 July, just over 30 years on from the release of the original.
It joins an ever-growing list of 1980s remakes and sequels set to explode onto our screens, including new versions of Top Gun, Indiana Jones, Blade Runner, Escape from New York and Beetlejuice.
So why the sudden major craze for these reboots? Is it a genuine interest in 1980s nostalgia or simply US studios looking to monetise their back catalogues with great brand association?
The answer is probably a bit of both. The studios and other production companies revisiting 1980s movies have the advantage of targeting the teens and twentysomethings who might not have seen or even heard of the original movies, all the while knowing that the thirty-, forty- and fiftysomethings will remember the first ones with fondness and most likely return.
Which is not to say that news of a sacred childhood film getting a rework always goes down well. New Ghostbusters director Paul Feig has had to handle a torrent of harsh words and demands from die-hard fans of the original sci-fi comedy on Twitter.
This reached boiling point recently when the film’s trailer was released online. Feig posted the words “fuck the haters” in response to criticisms of one of his lead characters; Patty Tolan (played by Leslie Jones), a New York City transport worker has been accused of being a racist stereotype.
“They can attack me all they like, although I’d prefer it if they didn’t,” says Feig. “But when they go directly to Melissa [McCarthy] or Leslie’s Twitter accounts and say something horrible, I have a problem. They are hired guns, it’s not their fault.”
Films to watch in 2016
Films to watch in 2016
1/30 Hail, Caesar - 5 February
The Coen brothers' latest film might be their most ambitious yet. Telling the story of a Hollywood fixer struggling to keep A-listers in line, it has a movie within a movie, an amazing cast, and, judging by the first trailer, some luxurious visuals
2/30 Deadpool - 12 February
Comic book superhero movies have been getting slowly more self-referential and self-parodic lately, and Deadpool looks to be taking itself even less seriously than Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man. It looks as though fans will finally be getting the comic book-faithful, foul-mouthed version of the character they wanted, but it remains to be seen whether Deadpool will actually be funny, or just descend into toilet humour
3/30 Zoolander No. 2 - 12 February
Zoolander's return was derailed somewhat by backlash over a trans/gender fluid character played by Benedict Cumberbatch. The long-awaited sequel will no doubt do well at the box office, but I'm not sure if the fashion industry is as fertile for satire now as it was in 2001, and the trailer relies too heavily on honouring old gags rather than creating new ones
4/30 Knight of Cups - 4 March
A new film from Terrence Malick should have been a huge cause for celebration, but Knight of Cups has been swimming in post-Cannes purgatory for months now. In March it will finally get a theatrical release. Starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman, it sees a man return home from New York and get sucked into the hollow hedonism of LA, fighting to extricate himself from it
5/30 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - 4 March
Based on journalist Kim Barker’s 2011 memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, this dark comedy sees Tina Fey play a foreign correspondent reporting in the Middle East during Operation Enduring Freedom, where she develops a weird relationship with a fellow journalist played by Martin Freeman
6/30 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - 18 March
The wind seems to have gone out of the sails of the Man of Steel series in spite of the addition of a new Batman, and there's a more palpable anticipation for Suicide Squad (which arrives later in the year)
7/30 Everybody Wants Some - 15 April
Coming off the back of multi-Oscar winner Boyhood, this Richard Linklater film looks a lot like Dazed and Confused if it was set in the 80s, albeit pitched more towards comedy
8/30 The Jungle Book - 15 April
Disney is trampling on its own hallowed ground with this live action remake. Elf and Iron Man director Jon Favreau is a fairly safe pair of hands though, and Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, Christopher Walken, Giancarlo Esposito and Bill Murray are all on board
9/30 Money Monster - 13 May
'Financial TV personality Lee Gates, who offers up stock advice on his hit show "Money Monster," is held hostage by a viewer, Kyle Budwell, who lost all of his money following a bad tip from Lee during his show'
10/30 Snowden - 13 May
Platoon director Oliver Stone takes on a very important and timely story. But can he make it entertaining the way The Big Short did with the financial crisis?
11/30 X-Men Apocalypse - 27 May
2016 will see a ninth X-Men film. Ninth. Every cast member you would expect will be back to collect their paychecks, which might require a crane
12/30 Finding Dory - 17 June
The Finding Nemo sequel will focus on Ellen DeGeneres' forgetful blue tang fish. It's expected to have an anti-SeaWorld message, which should make it strike a chord with parents as well as children
13/30 Independence Day: Resurgence - 24 June
Will Smith isn't in it. Moving on
14/30 The BFG - 1 July
There's still a lot of love for Roald Dahl's stories, and this one is being adapted by none other than Steven Spielberg. There hasn't been a huge amount of buzz around it but it's early days, and Mark Rylance is an interesting casting for the titular Big Friendly Giant
15/30 La La Land - 15 July
There's a lot of expectation on director Damien Chazelle's shoulders following the success of Whiplash, one of the smallest films ever to have been nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. La La Land will certainly be different, a musical comedy-drama about a young pianist and an actor played by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone respectively
16/30 Ghostbusters - 15 July
This is something of a question mark. On one hand, it's landed a cast of incredibly funny actresses, but on the other, another reboot? Really? There's also thought to be a very meta all-male version in the works from the creators of Jump Street, set in the same universe as Men In Black no less
17/30 Star Trek Beyond - 22 July
If you thought Abrams' Star Trek films were bad, feast your eyes on the trailer for the next one from the director of the Fast & Furious franchise. Expect major face-palming from Trekkies in July. Hopefully the new TV show will offer something a bit less action-orientated and a bit more cerebral
18/30 Untitled fifth Bourne film - 29 July
The Bourne series completely went off the boil with Jeremy Renner as its lead, but now both Matt Damon and original director Paul Greengrass are back to steady the ship. This might well be Jason Bourne's last outing, so I hope they send him off in style
19/30 Suicide Squad - 5 August
Harley Quinn was one of the most popular Halloween costumes this year, despite the holiday falling months before the release of the film she's in. That says a lot about the hype over this comic book adaptation, which revels in the villains rather than the heroes for once and sees Jared Leto step into Heath Ledger's size 58 boots as the new Joker
20/30 Sully - 9 September
Friendly-looking dad named Chesley Sullenberger who saves a plane load of people? Tom Hanks is your guy. Clint Eastwood will direct this biopic, about an airline captain who was hailed as a national hero in the US after successfully executing an emergency water landing on the Hudson River off Manhattan
21/30 Bridget Jones’s Baby - 16 September
It's 2015 and Bridget is now pouring her soul into an iPad rather than a diary. This sequel might perfectly skewer the frustration of growing up in an increasingly youth-orientated world, or it might just serve to tarnish the originals like with Sex and the City 2
22/30 The Magnificent Seven - 23 September
I'm not convinced there's the demand for Westerns that Hollywood seems to think there is. We'll find out in September with Antoine Fuqua's remake of 1960's The Magnificent Seven. Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke are among the gang
23/30 Masterminds - 30 September
Based on the 1997 Loomis Fargo Robbery in North Carolina, this comedy comes from the man behind Napoleon Dynamite. Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis form a strong cast, but there are no trailers to go on yet
24/30 The Girl on the Train - 7 October
That book everyone was reading on the commute inevitably makes it cinemas in October, with Emily Blunt playing Rachel Watson, an alcoholic whose husband left her for his mistress, and who witnesses a murder and starts to realize that she may have been involved in the crime
25/30 Doctor Strange - 4 November
Doctor Strange might not have been the most obvious character to take to the big screen, but by this point Marvel could make $1billion at the box office from a comic an exec once scrawled on a piece of toilet paper
26/30 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - 18 November
J.K. Rowling makes her screenwriting debut adapting her own book here, with a film that takes place in the Harry Potter universe but is well removed from Hogwarts
27/30 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - 16 December
Disney is releasing a Star Wars movie every year between now and 2020. This first standalone 'anthology' film centres on a Death Star heist, but may prove to just be filler while Star Wars 8 is in production
28/30 Passengers - 21 December
'A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger is awakened 60 years early. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger'
29/30 Jumanji - 25 December
Is nothing sacred? Everyone is so pissed about this remake of the Robin Williams cult hit that it will be a miracle if it escapes a critical drubbing
30/30 Silence - sometime in 2016
Martin Scorsese's next film doesn't have a mafioso or corrupt banker in sight. Liam Neeson and Andrew Garfield star, playing two Jesuit Portuguese Catholic priests who face violent persecution when they travel to Japan to seek out their mentor and spread the teachings of Christianity
Feig and his co-writer Katie Dippold decided not to go down the sequel route that had been touted for a while, partly because Harold Ramis had died and Bill Murray had turned it down several times, but also because Feig was concerned about the conceit of them falling on hard times.
Instead, he decided to take the popular franchise in a different direction, using the funny women he’d worked with previously, including McCarthy and Kristen Wiig from his hugely successful comedy Bridesmaids. “We’re not just doing a page-for-page remake,” insists Feig. “The only similarity is that ghosts show up and the ghostbusters have to stop them.”
That said, there are, inevitably, references to the original, including cameos from some of the original cast members, most notably Murray, and the return of the Ecto-1 car, proton packs and Slimer the ghost. “There are certain things that we and the audience would be pretty bummed about if they weren’t in it. A movie like this should be comfort food. My only goal is to entertain a wide audience,” adds Feig.
Would that it were so simple. “There are some films so beloved and identifiable with a particular person or group of people, like Ghostbusters and Back to the Future, that it’s difficult to go back there,” says film analyst Robert Mitchell. “But the fact that Feig is doing an all-female ghostbusters is actually a clever stroke, because they’re not trying to replace Bill Murray and co. Although it’s also a good move to have them on board.”
The same can be said of last year’s National Lampoon Vacation remake, which saw Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo reprise their roles as Clark and Ellen Griswold, but this time the story focused on their grown-up son, Rusty (Ed Helms), and his family.
The resulting film was a cross between a remake and a sequel that divided the critics. “It was important for the new movie to be able to stand on its own while still paying respects to its classic predecessor,” insists director John Francis Daley.
Returning to original cast members doesn’t always work though. “Occasionally, time has made them less sharp, or it’s a bad cameo, which can blow up in your face,” says Feig.
That is unlikely to be a problem for the return of Tom Cruise for the Top Gun sequel and Harrison Ford for Indiana Jones 5 (despite the fact he’s in his seventies). Those films are almost guaranteed success because of their huge brand recognition.
Disney have confirmed that Steven Spielberg and Ford will return for the fifth instalment of the action-adventure franchise, and they’ll be hoping it can do as well as their Star Wars reboot, which has taken more than £1.4bn worldwide.
Meanwhile, the Top Gun sequel was in the hands of director Tony Scott before his untimely death in 2012. The latest from producer Jerry Bruckheimer is that the sequel will be a modern aviation story, again starring Cruise, but this time as an old-school pilot who fights against drones.
There is a spate of other remakes and sequels of cult classics in the works, none of which were considered box-office smashes in the 1980s, but have since garnered huge followings, and could potentially be great successes.
Tim Burton’s confirmed presence for Beetlejuice 2, with original cast members Winona Ryder and, especially, Oscar-winner Michael Keaton is a real coup. Likewise, having Ridley Scott’s reliable vision as executive producer of the new version of Blade Runner adds cachet. “They can now say on the posters: ‘from Ridley Scott…’,” enthuses Mitchell.
Canadian Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) has taken over the directing hot seat, while Harrison Ford is reprising his role as Rick Deckard, with Ryan Gosling co-starring. The movie will take place several decades after the 1982 original, which was set in a dystopian 2019 Los Angeles. Scott has already revealed that the opening shot will be based on the original opening that was scrapped from the 1982 sci-fi film.
Kickboxer: Vengeance, on the other hand, is perhaps a little more niche, but has received a lot of press because of pictures of Jean-Claude Van Damme looking in great shape for a 55-year-old. He is playing the mentor of his character, Kurt Sloane, from the original Kickboxer movie.
“We managed to persuade Jean-Claude to be involved and he’s been amazing, adding his own touches to the script, and the way he moves in the film will blow the audience away,” insists Dimitri Logothetis, the film’s scriptwriter and co-producer, who was determined to match the original’s authentic martial-arts look and feel.
Having a cast of fighters- and stuntmen-turned-actors certainly helped, including Ultimate Fighting Championship champion Georges St-Pierre, mixed-martial-arts fighter Gina Carano and World Wrestling Entertainment performer Dave Bautista. “We’re selling the picture as the ‘real-deal Expendables’,” says Logothetis, who has also bought the remake rights to the 1980s films All of Me and The Best of Times.
The final word goes to Samuel L Jackson, star of Eighties remake RoboCop: “Remakes are done because there’s an established audience, a potentially new audience, or there’s been a technological development that will allow them to make the films better.”
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