Hollywood is filled to the brim with reboots, reimaginings, and remakes of successful, beloved films and TV shows of the past. However, in many cases, it’s best to leave the originals alone.
We put together a list of some of the worst remakes of movies and TV shows ever made. What reboots do you think should (or shouldn’t) have made the cut?
The Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho is one of the most celebrated films in the horror and thriller genre. From the cinematography to the foreboding sense of dread, there’s really no way to up the ante with a remake. So director Gus Van Sant just copied it.
The 1998 Psycho remake was nearly identical to the 1960 version, shot for shot, with virtually nothing added to enhance the original. One of the few differences between the two films is that Van Sant added sound effects to make Norman Bates’, ahem, “voyeurism” more clear. Much like the remake itself, nobody needed that.
Around the World in 80 Days
A remake of the Academy Award-winning classic, the remake of Around the World in 80 Days ran out of air in the first minute. Jackie Chan portrays a bank robber that poses as Passepartout, a valet for Phileas Fogg (Steve Coogan), as they travel around the world and get into misadventures.
Shifting the focus of the original story from Fogg to Passepartout was a clever twist, and who doesn’t love Jackie Chan? But the classic adventure story failed to appeal to audiences as a comedy. It was nominated for “Worst Remake” at the Razzies that year.
In 1990, filmgoers couldn’t get enough of Arnold Schwarzenegger on Mars. The action-packed sci-fi summer blockbuster Total Recall featured over-the-top violence and Schwarzenegger’s muscley moxie, bringing audiences into theaters in droves. It’s remake? Not so much.
The 2012 remake of Total Recall landed almost unanimously negative reviews. Most critics claimed that, while the film had some great action sequences, it didn’t nail the goofy sci-fi fun of the original. The end result was a bland, forgettable action movie that doesn’t even mention Mars.
80s nostalgia has been at a peak for a while now, so it seemed like a smart move when NBC hired Val Kilmer to voice the robot car K.I.T.T. for the 2008 reboot of Knight Rider. However, the remake’s plot of having original hero Michael Knight’s estranged son take over his father’s mantle earned it unfavorable comparisons to the original.
The show was unable to please both new viewers and fans of the 1982 original series. Even after the show was retooled, by removing several key characters to focus completely on the original team of KITT and Michael, it was ultimately cancelled after its first season.
1941’s The Wolfman is a horror classic that was also a tragic drama. Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) is the titular wolfman, an unwilling victim-turned-monster who ultimately gets bludgeoned to death by his own father. It had substance along with style, things that the 2010 remake sorely lacked.
While the undeniably amazing make-up effects for The Wolfman won Academy Awards, the script was heavily criticized for lacking suspense and including a shoehorned revenge plot between Talbot and his father, who in this version is also a werewolf. Then-President of Universal Studios, Ronald Meyer, called it “One of the worst movies we ever made.”
The original Bewitched TV series is a beloved 1960s sitcom about a sorceress that marries a mortal everyman, choosing the role of a suburban housewife over witchcraft. The 2005 movie adaptation was about a struggling actor (Will Ferrell) rebooting the original sitcom, and hiring a costar (Nicole Kidman) who turns out to be a real witch.
While a clever idea, the movie was a bit too meta for audiences who legitimately just wanted to see a straightforward adaptation of the original series. The movie went poof at the box office, littered with negative reviews from movie goers and critics alike.
In spite of the delightful performance of Tom Hanks as a country-fried crime boss, The Coen Brothers’ remake of The Ladykillers didn’t win the hearts of the critics or the box office. The black comedy/heist film sees Hanks and a group of eccentric characters try to rob a casino by tunneling through the root cellar of an elderly woman.
While comparisons to the 1955 original were made, the differences between Hanks’ character and Alec Guinness’ Professor Marcus couldn’t be more apparent. There was nothing outright awful about The Ladykillers reboot, just nothing noteworthy enough to justify remaking it.
The Bionic Woman was an immensely popular TV show in the 1970s, at a time when there were a small number of science-fiction shows, and an even smaller number of shows starring a female protagonist. Unfortunately, the reimagining of the series in 2007 got lost in a shuffle of similar shows.
The Bionic Woman reboot was a big misfire for both critics and viewers. In addition, it ran into huge snags caused by a writers strike, which delayed the production of new episodes longer than the already-lukewarm audience cared to wait. The series ended after just eight episodes.
The 1991 action thriller Point Break has become a cult favorite, thanks to engaging scenes, cheesy melodrama, plot-driven action, and celebrated performances by Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. Reeves’ delivery of the line “I am an FBI agent!” is reason enough to rent this gem on streaming right now.
While the 2015 remake did have some intense action scenes featuring snowboarding and wingsuits to appeal to the thrillseeker in all of us, it lacked all the other elements that made the original work. Namely, it lacked Reeves and Swayze. And without them, what’s the point?
The Longest Yard
The original The Longest Yard featured the rugged Burt Reynolds as a football player charged with the task of recruiting and training his fellow prisoners for a game against the guards. Do you know who’d be good to fill in the shoes of Burt Reynolds in a remake? “Why, Adam Sandler!,” said nobody.
While both versions of The Longest Yard are comedies, the 1974 original contained a fair amount of commentary about the poor treatment of prisoners. The 2005 remake replaced that subtext with Sandler’s trademark brand of sophomoric humor, and not much else.
The 2012 remake of the 80s cult film Red Dawn was just not at the right place at the right time. The original was about the hostile takeover of the United States by Russia and its communist allies during the height of the Cold War, whereas the remake was about an ill-advised North Korean invasion.
The original Red Dawn was seen as macho 80s-era propaganda, a tongue-in-cheek anti-communist film. The remake is a lazier carbon-copy that stepped on more political landmines than it intended. The bad effects and hammy acting further prevented the movie from finding a modern audience.
The Fugitive (2000)
The film adaptation of the hit TV show The Fugitive is one of Harrison Ford’s best movies. But when Hollywood tried to develop Ford’s remake into a TV show, essentially making a reboot of a reboot, people didn’t tune in.
The new-and-not-quite-improved The Fugitive offered little-to-no impactful changes on the previous versions of the story, so it felt like a hollow rehash rather than an inspired retelling. While actor Tim Daly was nominated for several awards for his performance, the show ended with an unresolved cliffhanger at the end of its first (and only) season.
The Day the Earth Stood Still
The Day the Earth Stood Still is considered a science-fiction classic, full of metaphors about modern society that are still relevant today. It’s in the United States Library of Congress’ National Film Registry for a reason. So why is the 2008 remake so bad?
Film fans criticized the remake’s over-reliance on special effects instead of story. And Keanu Reeves’ surprisingly sinister version of Klaatu, the alien visitor portrayed in the original by Michael Rennie as a kindly ambassador, also rubbed people the wrong way.
The remake of Ghostbusters faced an uphill battle before it even hit theaters. The film’s all-female cast stirred a mountain of unfair controversy from the more toxic corners of the internet, before a single trailer was even released. The finished film didn’t fare much better.
Despite having a cast and crew of talented and successful comedians, the film’s lengthy runtime and its gargantuan budget prevented it from duplicating the runaway success of the 1984 original. Another attempt at rebooting Ghostbusters is scheduled for a July 2020 release.
Conan the Barbarian
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s breakout role in Conan the Barbarian was celebrated during the 1980s, when action movies were king. It’s no surprise that Hollywood would want a remake of the franchise in 2011, as nostalgia for 80s properties was peaking. Yet the musclebound charm of Jason Momoa wasn’t enough to win people over.
While the remake of Conan was more violent than the original, and adhered closer to the source material, critics and movie fans alike scoffed at the 3D special effects and the one-dimensional nature of the characters. Yes, oddly, Schwarzenegger’s Conan seemed to have more depth than Momoa’s version.
In the 1980s, America swooned over the mustachioed grin of Tom Selleck as he busted bad guys on Magnum P.I. The mystery-of-the-week plot, the Hawaiian backdrop, and Selleck’s manly, hairy chest delivered high ratings for CBS. It’s no surprise they would try to reboot the series in 2018. Wait, no, yes it is.
The current Magnum P.I. has more of a Mission: Impossible feel than its predecessor. Plus, it’s star, Jay Hernandez, doesn’t even have a mustache! The TV show has earned mixed reviews since its creation, with the majority of the criticism pointing out that the reboot has almost nothing to do with the original.
The Mummy (2017)
1932’s The Mummy is cemented within the history of horror monster movies. Paired with Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Mummy has become an iconic film character ripe for remakes for decades. Then the Marvel Cinematic Universe appeared.
Universal attempted to launch a “Dark Universe” starring their classic horror film characters, leading up a monster-team-up film like Marvel did with The Avengers. Since marketing strategy went ahead of scripting, the result was a rushed, poorly conceived reboot that only succeeded in making people nostalgic for the 1999 Brendan Fraser version.
South Korea’s Oldboy was celebrated by film fans all around the world. The film’s cinematography, performances, and heart-wrenching story of revenge got it a Grand Prix win at the Cannes Film Festival. Which is why legendary director Spike Lee’s decision to remake it less than a decade later confused pretty much everyone.
Normally, a revenge film directed by Lee and starring Josh Brolin sounds like a slam dunk. But Lee’s 2013 remake of Oldboy had nothing new to offer, leaving critics and audiences to question why Lee bothered making it in the first place.
The Aaron Spelling-helmed Melrose Place provided plenty of cheesy soap opera drama for viewers in the 1990s. The hook-ups and heartbreaks of the residents of a Hollywood apartment complex scratched an itch that young adult viewers were looking for. The 2009 reboot? Not so much.
After the success of the original Melrose Place, several teen/young adult dramas popped up in its wake. The once-edgy Melrose kind of feels lost in the shuffle. While there were references to the previous show to please longtime fans, the overall tone was darker and less camp than the original series, leading to its cancellation after a single season.
Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise, presented a dystopian future in which crimes could be stopped before they even happened. Cruise’s character is forced to face whether arresting people for crimes they haven’t committed yet is the right thing to do, and ultimately decides to dismantle the system.
Unfortunately, the Pre-Crime Police weren’t able to stop the Minority Report reboot before it premiered on TV. The spin-off series lacked the mind-bending sci-fi morality questions raised in the film, reducing it to a straightforward cop show. It was cancelled after a single season. Didn’t see that coming.
Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, based on a novel by Stephen King, is considered one of the best horror films of all time. For years, film fans have concocted their own theories and interpretations about the film’s chilling yet ambiguous plot. But the movie isn’t without its critics, one of whom is Stephen King himself.
King felt Kubrick’s film strayed too far from his novel. So in 1997, King wrote a TV miniseries adaptation of The Shining, in order to get the screen version that he imagined. The critics hated the series, citing its absurdly long six hour runtime, and its failure to actually frighten the audience like the movie did.
The Day of the Jackal was a highly praised espionage film. Heck, it was nominated for BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Academy Awards in 1974, which is rare for a film about an assassin. So naturally, the best way to honor that success is to produce a remake starring Bruce Willis in a horrible toupée.
The forgettable 1997 remake, titled simply The Jackal, has almost nothing in common with the classic original film beyond the titular assassin’s name. Willis mistakes boredom for menace in his role as the hired killer, resulting in a dull 90s action flick.
No one should be allowed to remake Academy Award-winning movies. The 1959 Ben-Hur was not only nominated for 12 Oscars, but won 11 of them. Plus, the chariot race is one of the most iconic sequences in movie history. So why in the world did anyone think they should remake this movie?
In 2016, Timur Bekmambetov released his reboot of Ben-Hur, and it tumbled at the box office like a broken chariot. The lack of star power, poor reviews, and inescapable comparison to the award-winning 1959 classic cursed the movie to DVD bargain bins for all eternity.
From 1976 to 1981, America tuned in to watch Charlie send his team of Angels on missions to help save the world. While the show endured some criticism for its male-fantasy portrayal of women, others praised it as a fun female-led show, and it was a huge success at the time. Emphasis on “at the time.”
By the time 2011 came along, audiences had seen way more progressive examples of women in television. The dated nature of the premise, along with bad acting and cheesy action, led to the series being cancelled after just four episodes.
The 2015 Poltergeist was a competent film. Solid performances by Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie Deweitt, on top of a haunting script that produced quality scares, should have made the movie a success. So why did fans and critics leave this remake behind with a shrug and a blah?
While the remake certainly paid homage to the 1982 version, there weren’t enough differences or surprises to make it feel exciting or necessary to horror fans. It’s the movie equivalent of asking your mother to get Wendy’s, but she decides to make a burger for you at home.
The Odd Couple
It is understandable why the original Odd Couple TV show worked so well. Two divorced men becoming roommates and constantly having lifestyle clashes was a fresh idea in the late 1960s, when divorce wasn’t something people talked about on television.
By the time the show was rebooted in 2015, however, the premise was half a century old. Audiences were all too familiar with the idea of two seemingly-incompatible people being forced to live together, and the new Odd Couple just didn’t have anything to add to it.
After three seasons, star Matthew Perry tweeted, “My face on the Odd Couple stage door has been painted over with green paint. I think it’s safe to assume that we have been cancelled. #subtle”
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a shocking, suspenseful slasher that terrified audiences with both what it showed and what it didn’t show. While initially film critics of 1974 gave mixed reviews, citing the movie’s gory violence as a turn-off, it has since become an iconic horror classic.
Critics of the 2003 remake also negatively reviewed the film, citing its unnecessary gore and violence, much like the original. However, in this case, the remake somehow managed to be gorier yet decidedly less frightening than the 1974 version. The result is a sub-par horror movie you should feel free to skip this Halloween.
The reviews for 1990’s Flatliners were up and down like an EKG. Some critics thought the story of med students getting high from inducing near-death experiences was too outlandish, while others praised the film’s grim style and performances. A movie that nobody really loved or hated seems like prime territory for a remake, right?
2017’s Flatliners failed to improve upon the original at any measure, and actually managed to be less scary. Even with great actors in the lead roles, like Ellen Page and Diego Luna, the film lacked star power compared to the original’s Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherlund. It’s a film that should have stayed dead.
The mighty King Kong is a literal cinematic giant, starring in several films since the 1930s. The original 1933 version changed the way movies were made, and kicked off a long-lasting, on-and-off film franchise that has experienced several hits and misses. One giant miss was the 1976 remake.
While the original was considered a horror/adventure story, this version (starring a young Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange in her first film role) took a more lighthearted, almost romantic tone. It garnered mixed reviews, with critics praising the special effects but not buying into the new premise.
The remake did well enough to earn a sequel, King Kong Lives, in which Kong is resurrected by a heart transplant. Yes, we’re being serious.
The cyberpunk action film RoboCop was a hit in 1987. Fans loved the gory action and comedy, and the sharp satirization of 80s consumerism. The movie spawned a successful franchise of sequels, cartoons, video games, and action figures. There was even a TV series!
The 2014 remake of RoboCop was very different from the original, in all of the wrong ways. Gone was the humor, the over-the-top violence, and the tongue-in-cheek satire of the 1987 film. Critics of the remake cited its dark, overserious tone, and it’s failure to do anything interesting with the source material.
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