Hollywood reboots and remakes past big box office movies

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Batman, Mary Poppins, The Lion King, Tomb Raider, these films all have something in common. They are coming back to the big screen as remakes. These are just a few of hundreds of movies, studios are revamping.

Movie remakes are big business. Hollywood can’t get enough of bringing the old ones back. Whether it’s totally overhauling (or completely copying the original), giving us a sequel set way in the future, or going back and telling the story from an earlier point with a prequel, it’s a guaranteed way of getting people in movie theaters and generating publicity.

But how many movie remakes are too many? Phil Lavelle reports from Los Angeles on why the movie industry is recycling.

Hollywood reboots and remakes big box office movies of the 80’s

Only three of the 15 top-grossing films from the 1980’s have so far gone untouched: Tootsie, Rain Man and family favorite, E.T. have yet to be revisited in some form.

Here’s the other 12, and how they did in their original incarnations – and reincarnations:

Three Men and a Baby:
Released: 1987

This tale of three eligible New York bachelors who suddenly find themselves thrust into shared fatherhood was warmly received at the box office, taking more than $10 million in its opening weekend and more than $167 million over the course of its release. But when Touchstone Pictures brought them back two years later for sequel, Three Men and a Little Lady, that magic seemed to have worn off. The movie brought in nearly $100 million LESS than the original. Despite the adage that good things tend to happen in threes, the producers decided to let this little lady continue growing up away from the glare of the lens and a cinema audience.
Picture credit: Touchstone Pictures

Crocodile Dundee:
Released: 1986

Taking a crocodile hunter out of the Australian outback and throwing him into life in New York City paid dividends for the producers of this eighties classic. Lead character, Mick, played by Paul Hogan, fell in love with journalist Sue who took him out of his comfort zone, raking in over $174 million at the U.S. box office and becoming one of the top-grossing films of the year. Two sequels followed: the second movie in the series bringing in around $110 million but by the time the third was released some 13 years later, the shine had worn off, with Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles bringing in a mere $25 million, despite having the same cast.
Picture credit: Rimfire Films

Top Gun:
Released: 1986

One of the most iconic movies of the decade, Top Gun, is one of Tom Cruise’s most successful films, but it got off to a slow start at the time. Although it ended up taking almost $180 million over the course of its cinema run, the film’s opening weekend was pretty dismal in comparison, netting under $2 million. But so fond of the film are its fans, that it’s coming back for a second helping. Top Gun: Maverick (Cruise reportedly said he didn’t want it to be called ‘Top Gun 2’ because he didn’t want a number in the title) will hit cinemas in 2019 – a whole 33 years after the original.
Picture credit: Paramount Pictures

Raiders of the Lost Ark:
Released: 1981

Already a huge star thanks to the Star Wars movies, Harrison Ford turned his attention to the role of adventurous professor and archeologist, Dr. Indiana Jones in this rollercoaster which took Ford away from fighting the Empire to battling the Nazis. The movie was a huge hit, raking in nearly $250 million in the United States. A sequel was inevitable.
Picture credit: Paramount Pictures/LucasFilm

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom:
Released: 1984

After Raiders of the Lost Ark, this rollercoaster saw Indiana Jones team up with a nightclub singer and 12 -year -old boy and end the curse of a cult bewitching the people of an Indian village. The movie became an instant classic, taking almost $180 million at the U.S. box office, cementing Ford’s position as one of Hollywood’s biggest names and opening the door for more adventures.
Picture credit: Paramount Pictures/LucasFIlm

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:
Released: 1989

This follow up to the 1984 classic came five years after the original and brought not only Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford back together, but introduced former James Bond actor, Sean Connery as Jones’ father. The film was a huge success, bringing in nearly $200 million at the U.S. box office – almost $20 million more than the last one. It took 19 years for us to be reunited with Dr. Jones in the most recent instalment and although many expected Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to flop when it arrived in 2008, it actually performed better than any of the others in the franchise: a staggering $317 million in takings.
Picture credit: Paramount Pictures/LucasFilm

Back to the Future:
Released: 1985

Another icon of the era, Back to the Future introduced us to the adventures of Marty and Doc. Although takings over the first weekend were slow at over $11 million dollars in the United States, as time went on, those sales shot up, hitting more than $210 million overall. Sadly for Marty and Doc, no amount of time traveling could warn them that the next film in the sequel would net a still respectable, but much smaller $118 million four years later and nearly $90 million in 1990 for Back to the Future III.
Picture credit: Universal Pictures

Beverly Hills Cop:
Released: 1984

The eighties wouldn’t have been the eighties without at least one Eddie Murphy picture on the list – and this tale of a Detroit cop being sent to the posh Beverly Hills neighborhood in LA ended up raising the kind of money at the box office that would fit right in on Rodeo Drive: nearly $235 million. Sequels followed in 1987 (bringing in $153 million) and 1994, though the latter only raised $42 million – not far off $200 million LESS than the original.
Picture credit: Paramount Pictures

Released: 1984

Who you gonna call? How about the bank manager? Tell him you want to deposit almost $240 million – because that’s what Columbia Pictures made from this smash hit, which also spawned two sequels. Ghostbusters II took five years to arrive, and didn’t have the magic touch of the original, bringing in a much smaller $112 million. When producers brought this one back from the dead in 2016, they made the lead characters women instead of men – and the film got a reasonably good response, bringing in $128 million. Around a quarter of that came in its opening weekend.
Picture credit: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Released: 1989

Comic book favourite Batman had been a huge hit in the 1960s, but Hollywood’s take was much darker than the TV series had been. Crowds lapped it up though and this Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson and Kim Basinger fun-fest smashed it at the box office with more than $250 million being taken in the United States. Several sequels followed; with the lead actor changing between the likes of George Clooney, Val Kilmer, Christian Bale and Ben Affleck. Some have been more successful than others – The Dark Knight, for example, slaughtered the box office competition in 2012, bringing in some $534 million.
Picture credit: Warner Bros

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back:
Released: 1980.

Technically, not an original, but still an eighties classic: this was the follow up to the surprise 1977 hit, Star Wars. Having seen how well that movie performed, George Lucas was pleased to bring Darth Vader and company back to the big screen, as were the fans who helped this film rake in $290 million at the U.S. box office.
Picture credit: LucasFilm

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi:
Released: 1983

The third move in this (original) trilogy came three years later and added another $20 million onto the previous incarnation’s earnings, making some $309 million at the box office. The adventures of a bunch of rebels trying to bring down the evil Galactic Empire have been enjoyed by billions of people all over the world. It was almost inevitable that more offerings would come.
George Lucas eventually brought the franchise back with three prequels, starting in 1999. Although they were box office hits, with the first of them, The Phantom Menace taking around $475 million, once the novelty wore off, many fans felt that they were poor relations to the originals and overly complicated. In 2015, George Lucas sold the rights to Disney for $4 billion – a price tag that was described as the ‘deal of the century.’
Disney’s since brought two major releases to the big screen: 2015’s The Force Awakens which made $936 million in the U.S. alone and 2016’s Rogue One which earned a mammoth $532 million. More Star Wars movies are on the way.
Picture credit: LucasFilm