Hollywood loves remakes but has it reached a breaking point? Some film buffs would say Hollywood peaked in the 1970s, lost its way until the mid-80s and then disappeared for a very long time. Others would argue that anything mainstream is not worth seeing. However, most would agree that the term “remake” makes them cringe in horror.
Point Break, the successful 1991 movie that starred Keanu Reeves before he became “The One” and Patrick Swayze who was still winning the hearts of every woman from his role in Ghost, is also getting a remake. The original had Reeves as Johnny Utah and Mr. Dirty Dancing himself, Patrick Swayze as Bodhi, floating in the sky with audiences along with them. As the wind pushed against their hair, every kid wanted to become an FBI agent just so they could surf and skydive.
The storyline of Point Break, revolves around FBI agent Johnny Utah who goes undercover to catch a gang of bank robbers led by adrenaline junkie, Bodhi. Utah must learn to surf in order to infiltrate the gang. The movie certainly had its market and now has become a cult classic for the 30-somethings and those who grew up with it. The story even landed itself as one of the longest running plays in LA, with Point Break Live! –an interactive play recreation of the movie where audience members get to star as Johnny Utah, himself.
The Point Break remake is set for release in 2015, starring Gerard Butler (300, Olympus Has Fallen) as Bodhi. None of the other cast members have been announced but already it is receiving a mixed response. Alcon entertainment, in charge of the reboot/remake, says that it will focus the film on international extreme sports but still will involve the same core plot.
This begs the question, when is enough, enough? What does Hollywood look for or what truly calls for a remake? NBC is remaking Rosemary’s Baby, Lifetime’s Bonnie & Clyde aired in December and even Ghost is in development as a series. NBC’s programming chief Warren Littlefield told USA Today that there are a lot of original ideas, but to sell one, “you need some kind of noise.” Littlefield will also be producing Fargo as a series for FX.
There seems to be a safety net within familiar names and not just for those who will clamor to the theaters to see the film, but those who are willing to finance it as well. Bruce Beresford, director of Lifetime’s Bonnie & Clyde said people who finance films are very cautious and don’t want to lose their money. He added that Homeland and Breaking Bad, as well as many other series, are “strikingly original” and well-written.
Original series form in waves and create quite a stir, however, do they beat out what some believe is a sure thing? With the addition of streaming video hubs like Netflix and Hulu, to learn what audiences are interested in has been easier now more than ever before. The ability to track viewer trends and determine what has suddenly become popular could very well play a part in what gets made. It’s turned every person into a Nielsen Family, instantly. The resurrection of shows such as Arrested Development, which Netflix took on as an original series was driven by it’s audience viewing habits of past seasons.
Though many may scoff at the idea of remakes or reboots, there still is an audience hungry for the memory of some meal they once had as a child. The hope is that it will live up to the expectation and not spoil, leaving a bitter taste. The audience will decide as they watch Gerard Butler jump from a plane screaming “Johnny!” While the love of remakes continues, audiences will ultimately decide if Hollywood has reached a breaking point.
By Joseph Kibler