Sure, maybe I wasn’t alive when the original Straw Dogs came out, but that doesn’t mean I liked the 2011 version anymore than the average waking individual. Not even the star power and sex appeal of James Marsden, Kate Bosworth and Alexander Skarsgard could keep me entertained. And who’s idea was that, anyway? To take a low-end Dustin Hoffman movie about Podunk losers, terrifying move-ins and turn it into a 21st century blockbuster-it simply served no purpose.
According to IMDB.com, the 2011 version cost about $25 million to produce and earned just $10.3 million at the box office — an indisputable flop. On the other hand, the 1971 original had a budget of about $3.2 million, but earned more than it’s recent counterpart, a successful $11.1 million. Is there supposed to be a message here? Relevance maybe? Given the earnings, Straw Dogs proved a poor choice for remake.
Straw Dogs was just the beginning of the thriller/horror genre remakes in 2011. Did anyone not laugh at the trailer of Fright Night, starring Colin Farrell? Could anyone guess that Del Toro’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Darkwould make any money? These films, though part of a low-earning genre, scared us away from horror remakes for good. Next time you’re going to remake a vampire classic or a TV movie, try a little harder, Hollywood.
But thrillers are not the only ones to hit the big screen for the second time in 2011. In the comedy category, we had Arthur, starring Russell Brand. An update of the 1981 Dudley Moore/Liza Minnelli farce, this year’s Arthur was poorly timed. In a decade of economic recession and hardship, the last thing we want to see is a over-priviledged man-child traipsing around Manhattan and rubbing in the things that we do not have. Brand’s usual off-the-cuff hilarity was remiss in a starring role. As with most of the others, Arthur didn’t even manage to earn its spendings. Next we have the dreaded dance movie Footloose. Though a surprisingly decent hit at the box office, this preachy down-south reboot did not even come close to the 1984 original, which earned over ten times its production budget. A sad day indeed for modern southern belles.
With remakes of more Hollywood classics such as Hitchcock’s The Birds in the works, the future looks bleak. So please, let us plead: throw out the remakes and bring originality back to the theater.