ByMatt Kranis, writer at
President of the Salacious Crumb Fan Club. Staff Writer at Movie Pilot. Twitter: @Matt_Kranis
Matt Kranis

Today marks the 15th anniversary of Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes, a movie that hit theaters and immediately made us all realize that we didn't need a new Planet of the Apes movie. And while the franchise has now been successfully revived, Burton's film is probably one of the most polarizing remakes of the last 20 years.

We may be facing a particularly trying summer filled with sequels, reboots and remakes, but its not something all that new. After all, studios are in the business of making money, and remakes already have a built in audience. Burton's Planet of the Apes received terrible reviews, but it was a box office hit, and according to Box Office Mojo made a worldwide total gross of $362,211,740 from a $100 million budget.

To honor the 15th anniversary of Burton's film, we're taking a look back at some of the most polarizing movie remakes in Hollywood history. Some of them are good, some of them are bad, but all of them are controversial.

1. Ghostbusters (2016)

Many diehard fans of 1984's Ghostbusters were eager for a third installment in the franchise, and freaked out when a female-driven remake/reboot was announced. The film's first trailer became the most disliked movie trailer in YouTube's history, while fans fired off racist tweets to star Leslie Jones following the films release. The controversy's displayed a dark streak of misogyny and racism from a fan community typically seen in a positive light

The movie's polarizing nature is even more confusing considering that it's received overall positive reviews. It seems more than likely that we'll get more Ghostbusters movies in the future, so fans better get used to the new status quo.

2. Godzilla (1998)

Coming off the massive success of Independence Day, it only made sense for director Roland Emmerich to bring his flair for disaster movies to one of cinema's greatest monsters. But his 1998 take on Godzilla proved that the King of the Monsters should probably stay home in Japan.

It's not a straight remake of 1954's Godzilla, but like many entries in the franchise the story is essentially the same. Godzilla rises from the ocean, and its up to a group of scientists, military men and everyday folks to stop the creature's path of destruction. But the movie really frustrated fans with its total redesign of the monster, who looked more like a massive iguana than the bulky dragon-like design we knew and loved. And it didn't help that Emmerich switched the traditionally Japanese setting to New York City, filling the cast with a mix two-dimensional stereotypes. In later entries in the Japanese Godzilla franchise, the monster from the 1998 movie was renamed "Zilla" and was bested in battle by the true Godzilla.

3. Psycho (1998)

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made, but that didn't stop it from getting a 1998 remake thanks to director Gus Van Sant. For fans of the film that might not be so bad, considering Van Sant basically copied Hitchcock shot-for-shot.

Unlike other remakes, this one proved so controversial in part because of how little it actually changed. Sure, the cast was entirely new, the film was shot in color and its setting was updated to the modern day, but beside that 1998's Psycho is essentially the same as Hitchcock's 1960 film. Van Sant replicated many of the original's camera moves and editing techniques, and even used an updated arrangement of the original's score. In the end, the remake provided little for those who had already seen the original.

4. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Sadly, Tim Burton doesn't have a great track record when it comes to remakes. 2005's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory diverged greatly from 1971's Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, with a greater emphasis on author Roald Dahl's original book that mixed with Burton's typical style for a final product that alienated many.

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is fondly remembered for it's inventive sets, wacky characters and its light-hearted fun. But Burton's film took those elements and cranked them into high-gear, with wild computer-generated sets and even more outlandish characters, chief among them Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. Depp's Wonka is a tortured, reclusive genius that comes off far more creepy than Gene Wilder's original take. Burton's mix of campy and macabre elements only further polarized fans, with some pleased by the new take and others annoyed.

5. The Karate Kid (2010)

Did 1984's The Karate Kid need a remake? Absolutely not. But that didn't stop Hollywood from going back to the property for 2010's The Karate Kid, and creating a new movie that bears little resemblance to its inspiration.

The 2010 film makes huge changes to the story, most notably switching the setting from suburban Los Angeles to Beijing. But more importantly, it found hero Dre (Jaden Smith) learning kung fu instead of karate. The discrepancy between the title and movie was a big deal for some, considering karate is a Japanese form of martial arts while kung fu is Chinese. Once again, it spoke to Hollywood's insensitivity towards Asian cultures.

6. A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)

The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise had already seen its fair share of sequels by 2010, and with interest waning in the series it made sense to reboot the franchise with a remake of the original 1984 film. But the remake may have done more harm than good.

A Nightmare On Elm Street, released in 2010, already upset fans by bringing on a new Freddy Krueger, replacing longtime actor Robert Englund with Jackie Earle Haley. However, the film lacked the subversive edge and dark humor of the franchise's best entries, instead opting for a generically grim and gritty style that had become popular for the horror genre. The movie was the last entry in the franchise, and it's unclear if or when Freddy Krueger will return.

What are your favorite Hollywood remakes? Let us know in the comments.

[Source: Box Office Mojo]


Latest from our Creators