6. Artemis Fowl
Walt Disney Pictures desperately wants a live-action tentpole franchise outside of the Star Wars and Marvel movies, because, apparently, it’s a tragedy that not every penny spent at every box office goes to them. This has resulted in the company turning to popular children’s book series for inspiration. This resulted in A Winkle in Time, an adaptation of the beloved book by Madeline L’Engele which became one of the biggest flops of the year. Artemis Fowl is made of much of the same material as Wrinkle, as it’s based on a children’s fantasy book that sold well.
A Wrinkle in Time made more sense as a potential blockbuster as that book had an intergenerational fanbase. Artemis Fowl, however, was popular for a few years in the early and mid 2000’s before fading from view. Anyone who grew up with the series is too old for it now – and their kids have probably never heard of it. If this film flops, it’s no big deal. Bob Iger needs a tax write-off.
7. The Addams Family
The Addams Family was a staple of 1960’s television that got adapted into a successful Hollywood film in the 1990’s. Since then, the Addams’s have failed to make much of an impact.
The film, Addams Family Values, was a box office flop, and a Broadway musical based on the franchise has had a less than modest run. The show was popular in its day because its kooky tone fit in very well with the television landscape (think Green Acres, Gilligan’s Island, I Dream of Jeannie).
The first Addams Family film worked because its countercultural undertones resonated with a 1990’s audience. How on earth is this new film going to connect with modern audiences? 60’s silliness is out, but so is 90’s ironic detachment.
The Addams Family could play things straight and go for a Gothic vibe. However, that road was already travelled by 1313 Mockingbird Lane, a remake of the fellow spooky sitcom,The Munsters, and the public avoided it like the plague. For once, can we let a sleeping franchise lie?
8. Jacob’s Ladder
The original Jacob’s Ladder bombed at the box office – what did you expect? It was bizarre, ugly, and based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. I can’t imagine that many Westerners were clamoring to see the film version of that book.
While the film does have a cult following, it’s beyond modest. If the sequels to Blade Runner, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Tron – three films with very significant cult followings – failed at the box office, why would a remake of Jacob’s Ladder perform well? Given that the original plays to a niche audience with its mix of war film horror, and spiritual elements, I can’t imagine a new version of the tale would fare any better.
The fact that anyone would want to remake Jacob’s Ladder in the first place is indicative of an addiction to horror movie remakes that the American film industry has had for the past fifteen years.
Having already remade Halloween, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Friday the 13th, The Hitcher, The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, The Evil Dead, My Bloody Valentine, Maniac, The House on Sorority Row, Black Christmas, Silent Night, Deadly Night, The Amityville Horror, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Fog, and Suspiria, I suppose Jacob’s Ladder was one of the more appealing films at the bottom of the barrel. Maybe Hollywood will go clear after one last hit or maybe they’ll just remake Scream.
9. Little Women
The 2019 remake of Little Women will flop. Why? Because the 2018 remake of Little Women flopped. Remaking flop movies is a pretty dubious endeavor to begin with, but why would someone want to remake a film which flopped a few months prior?
On the surface, it might seem that a story about the Civil War might resonate when a record number of Americans feel like the United Sates is on the verge of a second one, but it clearly did not in 2018, so why would it work a few months later? This movie might do better if the U.S. does break out into Civil War though it’s doubtful that will happen anytime soon.
A major problem here is that Louisa May Alcott’s opus has fallen out of favor as a book to teach schoolchildren and has been commonly replaced with considerably more recent fare like The Diary of Anne Frank or To Kill a Mockingbird, which served to teach about the evils of prejudice. Poor Louisa can’t catch a break.
10. Charlie’s Angels
If any television show tried to have its cake and eat it too, it was Charlie’s Angels. Produced at a time when the women’s movement was powerful and its parent network believed that being risqué was the key to high ratings, the show featured an uneasy mix of the male gaze and female empowerment.
Starring a group of female secret agents who knew kung fu and the best place to buy skimpy outfits, the show worked equally well for feminists and the chauvinists they despised. This show had wide appeal in the 1970’s, but the world has changed in the intervening forty years.
Modern feminists are much more sensitive to the sexualization of women in media than their 1970’s counterparts, so the franchise’s overtones of female empowerment might ring hollow to contemporary audiences.
Charlie’s Angels has been brought to the silver screen before. The early 2000’s, a time of relative conservatism in the United States, saw a pair of Charlie’s Angels movies that downplayed their source materials’ feminist elements in favor of sexy goofiness.
The creators of this film do have an option besides staying true to the series or the previous films based off of it – they can go for a more serious tone and discard the franchise’s erotic elements. However, that was already done in a 2011 TV reboot, and that masterpiece was canceled after only four episodes. How the angels have fallen.