The Download: 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' Reboot, 'Ghostbusters 3,' and '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea'

20000 Leagues Under the Sea

Sony's financial troubles may force its movie division to take MGM's approach and pump out more low cost remakes in the future. We discuss that and more on this week's Download.

Binh: I'm no financial expert so bear with me while I navigate some numbers. We touched upon how Sony, the mega corp, is bleeding money and now we know how much. The company is expecting a $2.5 billion loss this fiscal year, which goes through March 2015, however, its movie division is profitable. That kind of loss would prompt someone at movie division to reboot the 1997 horror movie I Know What You Did Last Summer, wouldn't it? You know, the one starring the white tank top of power, Jennifer Love Hewitt. Freddy Prinze, Jr., Ryan Phillippe, and Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Jeff: White Tank Top of Power! I love it!

Binh: Not my term. I stole that from someone's review from way back when.

Jeff: Well, that's fitting, since the movie we're talking about is just another damn reboot anyway.

Binh: You think we can expect Sony to take the MGM route to dig itself out of its financial hole with more remakes from here on out?

Jeff: Given that Ghostbusters 3 seems to be happening no matter what (and, if Dan Aykroyd has his way, spawning its own cinematic universe in the bargain), I guess we aren't too far from that happening. Air Force One and Stuart Little remakes, anyone?

Sara: Australia just launched done publicity blitz for the 20th anniversary if The Little Rascals and who even remembers that movie. Where there are remakes there isn't shame.

Jeff: There was a little bit of that here, too -- I noticed a couple of outlets running "See the cast of The Little Rascals then and now"-type stories and I thought, "You've got to be kidding me."

Binh: Sometimes you have to wonder if Aykroyd is drinking stuff other than the Crystal Skull vodka he's pushing. He actually believes the Ghostbusters brand is on same level as Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel.

Jeff: Yeah. The reason I haven't covered this story for Movies with Butter is that every other headline starts with "Dan Aykroyd Wants..." to which the only appropriate response is, "Yeah? So who cares what he wants?" Doesn't mean it's going to happen.

That said, MGM has demonstrated enough of a track record with its recent "exhume and regurgitate" business model that I'm sure we'll see everyone duplicating it at some point. To some extent, they already are -- it's just that MGM is the most transparent and shameless of all. Every time I see a casting report regarding that Ben-Hur remake, I'm shocked and appalled by the project's mere existence all over again.

Sara: Do you guys think there's a statute of limitations on remakes? I'm just less offended by Ben-Hur than Ghostbusters et al so I'm thinking maybe the situation has some unspoken etiquette and vid failed to identify it.

Binh: I say bring on the remakes, but give us a reason to watch them at least. If I have to choose, I rather go with Ghostbusters. The Ben-Hur remake just doesn't interest me at all.

Sara: The Heston Ben-Hur had a lot to offer--even for people who weren't into the whole swords and sandals thing.

Binh: The genre needs more than a bare chest and a sword these days. Game of Thrones and Wrath of the Titans have set the bar pretty high.

Sara: Good call. If it's not chess-like, it's worthless.

Jeff: I'm generally of the opinion that remakes shouldn't exist irrespective of whether or not the original was any good, so I might not be the right person to ask.

Sara: I hear you but I also look fondly on some remakes--movies that somehow improved upon the original.

Jeff: There's no shortage of original ideas. Hollywood has such infinite capacity to bring us wonder, yet they keep serving up reheated cud.

Binh: At some point, you just have to put the blame on the ones buying the tickets. Hollywood will serve anything that will make money.

Sara: It's true we all vote with our money but the people making the candidates could be responsible, too.

Jeff: People do seem to be voting with their money, don't they? I mean, even with ticket inflation and B.S. surcharge gimmicks, the numbers are getting pretty ugly out there.

Binh: The studios just want our money, and they get that by giving us what we want to pay for. The system is imperfect for sure because we usually don't know what we want and tend to go for the familiar.

Jeff: All I know is that I'd much rather see a movie without knowing every plot point ahead of time.

Binh: They could do better. One remake I would like to see is David Fincher's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but that doesn't sound like it's going to happen anymore.

Seems like Disney got frightened at the $200 million plus price tag, and Fincher's take may be a bit too risky for the studio. John Carter and The Lone Ranger are probably still fresh in their minds.

Jeff: It might hurt Fincher's feelings to hear it, but I say good for Disney! I mean, I know they'll probably just blow the money on a cheaper reboot or franchise or whatever, but he's too talented to waste his time taking viewers back down into the same watery depths another director already visited. Let him focus on original properties instead.

Binh: You don't have to worry about this getting back to Fincher, Jeff. Only the three of us know about this column. I agree with you in principal, but we're talking Fincher working with giant squids, a submarine, and a Captain Nemo who's a Middle Easterner. This is more timely than ever. Did I mention giant squids?

Sara: You think they might pull some cryptozoology into it?

Binh: I don't know, and I don't particularly care. All I'm picturing right now are the epic battles between those giant squids and whales. We don't need no Godzilla or Kaiju here.

Sara: Ha! I never thought of Godzilla as cryptozoology but I think you're right! How fun!!!
I know Jules Verne was famous for being scientifically prescient, but I'd like to see some sea monsters! That's was I was taught makes fantasy different from its more conservative cousin, science fiction: no proof is required is a world where mystical occurrences abound.

Honestly, 20,000 Leagues is a great choice to reboot because its action packed and right on the cusp of fantasy and sci-fi. I actually heard a historian say that part of the history of cartography is figuring out the monsters on the maps, which were often drawn by the mapmakers in part to fill space they didn't have mapped. Fun, right?! I want to see a movie with that kind of whackadoo in it!

Binh: That would make a great TV show! Sort of like Star Trek but on the sea.

Sara: It's fun stuff, right?! You can see why it'd be a good revival--after we've overdone sci-fi and the only intriguing mysticism is from Thor, 20,000 Leagues is a great choice!

Binh: I'm with you there, Sara.

Sara: I'm eager for Gone Girl.

Jeff: Yeah, that sounds like a film with potential -- and I haven't even read the book.

Binh: It's one of those movies where the characters have murky moralities. Looks interesting though.

Jeff: As we've been discussing this, Fox has announced that they've finally gotten around to scheduling the Deadpool movie for February 12, 2016. We only have room for superheroes, remakes, and reboots in this town.

Binh: You mean Green Lantern 2 finally got greenlit? Whoa!

While we're on the subject, here's James Schamus' take on the current Hollywood:

"Hollywood doesn't make American movies anymore. Its revenues are only maybe 30%-40% American. Its primary purpose right now is to make movies that 20-year-old Chinese people want to see."

Sara: I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED THAT MAN. I met him in press tour for that Woodstock picture he did with Ang Lee. He's a marvel.

Jeff: Well, here's hoping 20-year-old Chinese males are as sick of reboots and remakes as I am.

Binh: Give them time, Jeff. Even those that got fed lobsters every day eventually got sick of them. Well, that's all for this edition. Until next time.

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