40 Of The Worst Remakes In Screen History

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Remakes, reboots and reimaginings have been extraordinarily prevalent in Hollywood in recent years. Studios are more likely than ever to cash in on a recognized title that can guarantee box office success, rather than take a risk on an original idea. However, while there have actually been a number of brilliant remakes over the years, their sheer numbers mean there have also been countless terrible ones. Here are 40 of the worst offenders, some of which may surprise you.

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40. The Omen (2006)

This remake was a substantial hit at the box-office. However, it was a prime example of a movie that struggled to justify its own existence beyond cashing in on a recognized horror brand name. Rolling Stone wrote, “Not since Gus Van Sant inexplicably directed a shot-for-shot remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho has a thriller been copied with so little point or impact.”

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39. Poltergeist (2015)

Poltergeist is an enduring horror franchise, and the 1982 original is held up as a classic. After a period of dormancy, the series was rebooted in 2015 with Sam Rockwell. While not a bad movie, per se, it left most critics and fans cold due to the unshakeable feeling that it was a vaguely pointless endeavour. Andrew Barker of Variety noted that an, “aura of inessentiality hangs thick over proceedings.”

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38. Psycho (1998)

In 1997 Good Will Hunting earned director Gus Van Sant an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. For his next film, he bizarrely chose to remake Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror movie Psycho almost shot-for-shot. For his efforts, he won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director. Interestingly, in a 2005 interview with The New York Times, Van Sant admitted his Psycho was a cinematic experiment that helped him realize, “You can’t copy a film.”

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37. Ghostbusters (2016)

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The 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, which starred Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, was met with an internet backlash the likes of which few films have ever seen. And anger was directed at the all-female cast, who replaced the male characters people loved from the 1984 original. Director Paul Feig also received criticism and publicly fought back against online trolls. In the end, the movie bombed at the box office, losing Sony an estimated $50 million.

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36. Halloween (2007)

Director Rob Zombie’s 2007 Halloween is an interesting beast, in that it is both a remake and a reimagining. It tells an original story about killer Michael Myers’ troubled upbringing for around 38 minutes, before embarking on a more straightforward remake of John Carpenter’s classic 1978 film. However, many fans, and Carpenter himself, felt explaining Myers’ pathology in detail took away much of his terrifying mystique.

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35. The Time Machine (2002)

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The 2002 version of The Time Machine was directed by Simon Wells, the great-grandson of H.G. Wells, who wrote the original 1895 novel. However, this incredible family connection wasn’t enough to distinguish the movie from the 1960 film version. BBC critic Richard Luck lamented the fact that, “Wells’ movie is more content to rip off Tomb Raider than remain faithful to his great-grandfather’s book.”

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34. Flatliners (2017)

The 2017 Flatliners attempted to function as both a remake of, and a sequel to, Joel Schumacher’s 1990 sci-fi horror film. A group of medical students conducting experiments to induce near-death experiences is an intriguing premise, but unfortunately the movie was dead on arrival at the box office. Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers called it, “even more witless and stupefyingly dull than the original.” Ouch.

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33. Footloose (2011)

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The Kevin Bacon-starring 1984 dance movie Footloose was remade in 2011, and yet there is extraordinarily little awareness of its existence. As critic Sarah Marrs wrote for IndieWire in 2019, “the Footloose remake is so bland, so thoroughly mediocre, that it is entirely forgettable. It’s not so stupid it’s funny, it’s not so puzzling it becomes a curiosity.”

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32. Total Recall (2012)

Despite featuring the talents of Colin Farrell and Bryan Cranston, the 2012 Total Recall remake fizzled at the box office. It was called witless, incoherent, unoriginal, joyless, and redundant by several prominent critics. By contrast, the original 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie was hugely entertaining and inventive. It also had a clever satirical streak common of the work of its director, RoboCop helmer Paul Verhoeven.

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31. Oldboy (2013)

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Park Chan-Wook’s ultra-violent manga adaptation Oldboy was a crossover hit in 2003, thrilling U.S. audiences and those in its native South Korea. It was remade for 2013 with Josh Brolin, but somehow made a shockingly low $5 million at the worldwide box office. Director Spike Lee even removed his trademark “A Spike Lee Joint” credit, due to dissatisfaction at producers cutting 35 minutes from his original 140 minute vision.

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30. The Stepford Wives (2004)

Frank Oz’ 2004 version of The Stepford Wives wasn’t a fulfilling project for the director or the cast. Contactmusic.com reported clashes on-set between Oz and stars Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler, Glenn Close and Christopher Walken. The movie was critically mauled, and Oz subsequently took responsibility for its failure in a 2007 Ain’t It Cool News interview.

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29. Red Dawn (2012)

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1984 action film Red Dawn featured a group of U.S. high school students defending their town from a Soviet Union invasion. When the 2012 remake came around, the invading force was changed to North Korea, but this didn’t help. The New York Times accused the film of having, “bargain bin special effects, bad acting and politics. ” And The Hollywood Reporter deemed it ham-fisted and ill-advised.

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28. The Italian Job (2003)

A cast including Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron and Jason Statham helped the 2003 The Italian Job remake paper over the cracks. One member of the cast even had to be threatened with a lawsuit in order to star. Yes, Edward Norton was forced by Paramount to fulfil his contractual obligation to a three-picture deal he’d signed in the 1990s. His performance, predictably, felt bored and reluctant.

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27. Arthur (2011)

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The original 1981 Arthur was a beloved comedy classic starring Dudley Moore. The 2011 remake, starring eccentric British comedian Russell Brand, was anything but. The Rotten Tomatoes consensus was, “An irritating, unnecessary remake that demonstrates the libertine charm Russell Brand exudes in supporting roles turn against him when he’s the star of the show.” Even the star himself later said that he’d made a mistake.

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26. Poseidon (2006)

Warner Bros. were confident enough in the public appetite for a remake of 1972 disaster film The Poseidon Adventure that they sank $160 million into the movie’s budget. Unfortunately, even with acclaimed director Wolfgang Petersen at the helm, the 2006 version wound up losing the studio $69 million. It was nominated for Worst Remake or Ripoff at the Golden Raspberry Awards.

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25. The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)

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This remake was so disastrous that a documentary was released in 2014 detailing its troubled production. It revealed that Val Kilmer was routinely rude and abrasive on-set. The script was constantly changing, so instead of attempting to learn his lines, Marlon Brando had them fed to him through an earpiece. What’s more, director Richard Stanley found himself fired and replaced by the studio after three days.

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24. Dinner For Schmucks (2010)

According to Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, Dinner For Schmucks is, “A buttock-clenchingly bad film.” It’s hard to argue with that, as this remake of a 1998 French comedy is a mostly laugh-free zone. But it’s worse when you consider the comedic talent that took part: Director Jay Roach, of Meet The Parents and Austin Powers, and actors Steve Carell and Paul Rudd.

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23. The Mummy (2017)

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Universal were going to reboot their classic monsters within an interconnected series of films. And they would come under the banner of the Dark Universe. Tom Cruise starred in The Mummy in 2017, which was intended to launch the series into the stratosphere. However, after poor returns that meant the studio lost millions, the proposed Dark Universe was scrapped.

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22. Taxi (2004)

In France Taxi is a bankable franchise of exciting action comedies, with the fifth entry seeing release in 2018. However, in the United States Taxi constitutes one woeful 2004 remake of the original French movie. Despite starring talented comedic actors Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon, the American version was accused of insulting its audience’s intelligence by The New York Post.

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21. The Wicker Man (2006)

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Nicolas Cage’s 2006 version of The Wicker Man is a far cry from the quietly unsettling 1973 British original. A movie so unintentionally hilarious and absurd that it could never be frightening, it eventually became the fodder for countless internet memes. However, Cage told Huffington Post in 2013 that he and director Neil LaBute were in on the joke.

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20. Ben-Hur (2016)

In 1959 Ben-Hur became the second highest grossing movie of all time, behind only Gone With The Wind. It also won a record 11 Academy Awards. Yet, when it was remade in 2016, it made a paltry $96 million worldwide, against a production budget of $100 million. As Forbes’ Scott Mendelson noted, in an era where blockbusters are in plentiful supply, modern audiences simply weren’t interested in a remake.

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19. Fame (2009)

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For a verdict on the 2009 Fame remake, let’s turn to famed movie critic Roger Ebert. In his damning review, he wrote, “Why bother to remake Fame if you don’t have a clue about why the 1980 movie was special? Why take a touching experience and make it into a shallow exercise? Why begin with an R-rated look at plausible kids with real problems and tame it into a PG-rated after-school special?”

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18. Black Christmas (2006 and 2019)

Black Christmas was one of the first slasher films. And some film historians believe it influenced John Carpenter’s seminal Halloween, which took the slasher genre mainstream in 1978. It has been remade twice, in 2006 and 2019. Now, the second remake was received slightly more favorably, but that’s faint praise considering the dismal 15 and 38 percent approval ratings both films have on Rotten Tomatoes.

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17. Get Carter (2000)

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In 2000, Michael Caine appeared in a supporting role in Get Carter, the Sylvester Stallone-fronted remake of his classic 1971 London gangster movie. However, even Caine’s seal of approval wasn’t enough for the movie to rise above its own pointlessness. The flick didn’t even get a theatrical release in the United Kingdom. Perhaps the studio feared a backlash from Caine-loving British audiences.

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16. The Fog (2005)

John Carpenter’s 1980 horror movie, about ghostly seafarers who appear within a supernatural fog, was remade in 2005. But this version, which starred Smallville heartthrob Tom Welling and Lost actress Maggie Grace, was a critical dud. The consensus on Rotten Tomatoes was, “The Fog is a so-so remake of a so-so movie, lacking scares, suspense or originality.”

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15. Swept Away (2002)

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Guy Ritchie’s 2002 version of 1974 Italian romantic drama Swept Away starred his then-wife Madonna. It is not only considered a terrible remake, but also one of the worst films ever made. A box-office failure, it also saw Madonna win Worst Actress at the Golden Raspberry Awards. In 2017 Ritchie admitted to Yahoo Movies, “The experience of Swept Away was quite a painful one.”

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14. The Haunting (1999)

Jan de Bont’s The Haunting was rightly derided upon its release in 1999. A hodgepodge of unconvincing CGI ghosts and cliché horror tropes, not even a cast including Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta-Jones could save it from mediocrity. It’s hard to believe it was based on the same source material as both the original 1963 movie and Netflix’ superlative 2018 TV series The Haunting Of Hill House.

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13. Charlie’s Angels (2019)

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Elizabeth Banks’ 2019 Charlie’s Angels movie was a reboot of the franchise that included elements from the original 1970s’ TV show and the early 2000s movies. Unfortunately, it bombed at the box office and was received in a mixed way by critics and audiences. The movie did have its fair share of fans, but was also accused in some quarters of being bland, generic, and rote.

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12. The Wolfman (2010)

Universal Pictures have remade and/or rebooted their classic monsters on numerous occasions. This remake of the 1941 The Wolfman came out in 2010 and starred Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins. Unfortunately, it didn’t set the world on fire, with critics underwhelmed and box office numbers fizzling. Ron Meyer, then head of Universal, said in 2011 that it was, “One of the worst movies we ever made.”

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11. The Hitcher (2007)

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Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production company has remade a lot of horror movies. It re-did The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror and Friday the 13th, amongst others. None were critical darlings, but equally none were as bad as its 2007 remake of 1986’s The Hitcher. Empire called it, “A depressingly formulaic reworking of a unique cult favorite that should have been left well enough alone.”

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10. The Pink Panther (2006)

Steve Martin’s first turn as the dim-witted Inspector Jacques Clouseau in the 2006 version of The Pink Panther was the 10th film in the franchise synonymous with Peter Sellers. It was financially successful enough that Martin returned for a sequel, but was critically savaged. Kam Williams of Upstage magazine wrote, “Without a whit of subtlety, this tired retread induces nary a laugh, only groans of disbelief.”

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9. Death Wish (2018)

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The 2018 Death Wish starred a sleepwalking Bruce Willis and was directed by horror movie maestro Eli Roth. A remake of the 1974 Charles Bronson vigilante revenge thriller, it was suitably violent and filled to the brim with guns. However, as Los Angeles Times critic Justin Chang noted, the movie tried to function as both a violent thriller and a self-aware satire but wound up doing neither particularly well.

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8. Rollerball (2002)

Rollerball was a 1975 sci-fi sports movie chock full of social and political commentary. Regarding the 2002 remake, which starred Chris Klein, screenwriter of the original movie William Harrison reportedly said he had no interest in ever watching it. The film was a financial bomb and critic Roger Ebert called it, “an incoherent mess, a jumble of footage in search of plot, meaning, rhythm and sense.”

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7. Clash Of The Titans (2010)

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Released in 2010, when Hollywood was valiantly trying to make Sam Worthington a movie star, the Clash of the Titans remake was a perplexing movie. It had a great supporting cast, featuring the likes of Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, and some spectacular CGI-enhanced battles. But it simply didn’t live long in the memory and felt strangely empty. The same could be said about the 2012 sequel Wrath of the Titans.

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6. Annie (2014)

The 2014 Annie, which was both a remake of the original 1977 Broadway musical and the iconic 1982 film version, was almost universally disliked. The Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus was that it, “smothers its likeable cast under clichés, cloying cuteness and a distasteful materialism.” In an interesting side note unrelated to the movie’s negative reception, Cameron Diaz quietly retired from acting following its release.

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5. The Invasion (2007)

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The Invasion was the fourth film version of Jack Finney’s 1955 novel The Body Snatchers. A troubled production, the movie was credited to director Oliver Hirschbiegel, but both the Wachowski’s and James McTeigue reportedly directed uncredited re-shoots. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times accused the final product of feeling like it was made by someone in a trance.

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4. Around The World In 80 Days (2004)

The 2004 Disney remake of Around the World in 80 Days reimagined the 1956 movie as a comedic vehicle for Steve Coogan and Jackie Chan. It cost a whopping $110 million to make, yet only brought in $72 million at the worldwide box office. The Guardian critic Rob Mackie summed it up as, “Pretty much just another Jackie Chan buddy movie.”

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3. Point Break (2015)

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The original 1991 Point Break, starring Keanu Reeves and the late Patrick Swayze, has a dedicated fanbase to this day. But its 2015 remake was reviled. Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club summed it up perfectly with, “Boldly reimagining Kathryn Bigelow’s cult favorite as a movie where absolutely nobody seems to be having any fun, the new Point Break drops the original’s Zen-like balance of macho mysticism and camp in favor of dour humourlessness.”

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2. The Heartbreak Kid (2007)

Ben Stiller’s 2007 remake of 1972 black comedy The Heartbreak Kid saw him reteam with directing duo the Farrelly Brothers. They had previously made modern comedy classic There’s Something About Mary together but couldn’t recapture the same creative spark. In fact, their second collaboration was criticized for its nasty, unpleasant characters.

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1. Planet Of The Apes (2001)

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After the release of his 2001 reimagining of Planet of the Apes, director Tim Burton was asked by The Guardian if he’d return to direct a sequel. He responded, “I’d rather jump out the window.” His feelings were reflected by audiences, who lambasted the film and were confused by the twist ending. Despite strong box office numbers, 20th Century Fox chose not to make a direct sequel.

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