Hollywood is clearly obsessed with prequels, sequels, and remakes. While it's easy to identify the biggest of the bunch, especially when they're piggybacking off classics like Ghostbusters, Ben-Hur, and The Magnificent Seven, sometimes it can be difficult to identify the remakes that go under the radar. Here are some movies you didn't know audiences had already seen.
It's rare to see a remake improve so substantially on the original that people actually forget the first film ever existed, but that's what happened with Ocean's Eleven. Director Steven Soderbergh worked with producer Jerry Weintraub and writer Ted Griffin to remake the Rat Pack-starring Ocean's Eleven from 1960, based on the story by George C. Johnson and Jack Golden Russell.
Starring an all-star ensemble that included George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Matt Damon, and others, Ocean's Eleven was such a huge hit that the movie's success convinced Warner Bros.—as well as the cast and crew—to continue with a franchise. Over the next few years, Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen, which saw Catherine Zeta-Jones and Al Pacino join the cast, arrived; there were even plans for a fourth installment, but Clooney said he wanted to "go out strong" with Ocean's Thirteen. Eventually, the cast definitively decided not to continue the series following Bernie Mac's untimely death.
Stuck for a sequel, the studio opted to go with a soft reboot featuring an all-female cast with eight in the gang instead of 11, and Sandra Bullock leading the charge as Danny Ocean's estranged sister Debbie Ocean. Time (and box-office receipts) will tell how many adventures these ladies get up to.
The Last House on the Left
Hollywood might love franchising and remaking horror movies most of all. They're often low-budget productions that yield high returns, even though they don't break box office records. They also have the tendency to kickstart the careers of up and coming stars—and even if lighting doesn't strike right away, they can just wait a few years before diving into a remake. Take, for example, Dennis Iliadis' The Last House on the Left.
Iliadis' film is a remake of the Wes Craven-directed film of the same name from 1972—with Craven on board as a producer because he was interested in seeing what the movie would be like with more money involved. "There were many aspects of the story I simply couldn't afford to explore," Craven admitted of his original film. "Fortunately, the new version has a much bigger budget, so we were able to greatly expand the production's scope and take more time and care in shooting."
The Last House on the Left remake arrived in 2009, capitalizing on the resurgence of torture porn in the mid-to-late 2000s via hits like Saw and Hostel. Although it didn't do well with critics, it was a hit at the box office, earning just over $45 million worldwide.
Adam Sandler has been in a bit of a slump recently, having put out a string of disappointing movies, but one of his earliest blunders was starring in Steven Brill's comedy Mr. Deeds. Centering on amateur greeting card writer who unexpectedly inherits a fortune from his late uncle, Sandler stars as Longfellow Deeds in the 2002 comedy, alongside Winona Ryder as Babe Bennett. Though it's technically based on the 1935 short story Opera Hat by Clarence Budington Kelland, the movie is a remake of the 1936 film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, directed by Frank Capra, and starring Gary Cooper as Longfellow Deeds and Jean Arthur as Babe Bennett.
At best, Brill's film is a testament to why Hollywood shouldn't remake certain movies. The consensus among critics is that the remake doesn't "hold a candle to the original, and even on its own merits, Mr. Deeds is still indifferently acted and stale." Put the Oscar-winning original's reputation up against Sandler's version, and the remake doesn't even begin to compare.
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