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The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

‘Oldboy’ remake is a reminder of what Hollywood is doing wrong

Sharlto Copley as Adrian Pryce in “Oldboy”. The film is the latest uncalled for Hollywood adaptation. (Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)

To no one’s amazement, “Old Boy” came out last week and flopped. What’s worse than just how badly it flopped was how practically everyone saw it coming. The film, inexplicably directed by Spike Lee (“Do the Right Thing”), is an adaptation of a Japanese Manga, though it’s best known for its cult hit 2003 Korean adaptation.

The American remake budgeted at $30 million managed to make less than $900,000 its opening weekend, and it’s poor performance since has made it the biggest flop of 2013 so far.

Reading through Oldboy’s reviews you’ll find that a big portion of film critics aren’t even talking about whether the movie was good or not and mostly condemning it for being made in the first place.

Old Boy isn’t your classic flop; it’s not the big budget blockbuster that wasn’t marketed right or was just poorly made. $30 million dollars is a relatively tiny budget by modern standards for a studio to give a movie, especially an action movie.

This remake’s been in the works since 2008 and since then one major studio and two other directors that we know of dropped their involvement with the film, which doesn’t even account for how many directors and studios were offered the movie and passed on it. The film’s lead was passed on by Will Smith before Josh Brolin took the part. The antagonist was passed on by Christian Bale, Colin Firth, and Clive Owen. In fact, “Oldboy’s” IMDb trivia page is not much more than a list of actors and directors who passed on being involved with the film.

The only reasonable explanation for the tiny budget and for so many people passing it up is that everyone who heard anything about this movie knew from miles away that it was going to fail. And they were right! So why was it made at all?

Hollywood’s love for remakes and adaptations in the last dozen years has grown more and more to the point where the movie market’s now so saturated with remakes and adaptations that it’s now the exception for a big-budget movie to be based on an original script.

The reason things got as bad as they have is because those movies, even if they turned out bad, could generally be expected to make its money back based on hype alone. You didn’t have to advertise them nearly as much, and people would give into their curiosity if nothing else. The studios, which are businesses after all, made those investments time and time again because they were the safest bets.

But “Oldboy” is as clear a red flag as anything can be that the bet just isn’t safe anymore. Movie audiences are not only so sick of adaptations that they’re no longer as curious when a new one comes out and the market’s so oversaturated with them that the studios aren’t saving any money on advertising against the countless other remakes and adaptations coming out.

In the last year these movies have been bombing left and right. How many more Lone Rangers can these studios afford?

And yet every major studio is so obsessed with finding the next Harry Potter franchise that every obscure fantasy series is being made into a film. Ever heard of Seventh Son of a Seventh Son? No? Be ready to hear it flopped in about a month. What about the next Twilight? After a bunch of failed vampire and werewolf movies hollywood is acquiring the rights to almost every well-known monster there is. There are–I kid you not–not one but two big-budget, star-studded Frankenstein movies in production right now.

Like action? How do Robocop, Commando, a new trilogy of Terminator movies, another Conan the Barbarian, Highlander, Mortal Kombat, Point Break, TimeCop, Van Helsing, and Waterworld sound?

If you liked your childhood you’re gonna love the upcoming Jumanji, Honey, I shrunk the Kids, Annie, Neverending Story, Police Academy, Bill & Ted, and Gremlins! Aren’t you?

If Oldboy has done anything worthwhile it’s been to prove that there’s a point at which it stop being exciting that we get to see modern adaptations of the older movies, books, and comics we already love. At this point, it’s just insulting that these studios think they’re doing us a favor by pulling a name we recognize out of a hat and farting out a remake.

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About the Contributor
Sasan Kasravi
Sasan Kasravi, Opinions editor
Opinions editor, spring 2014, fall 2013, spring 2013.

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‘Oldboy’ remake is a reminder of what Hollywood is doing wrong