Scratch beneath the shiny, Oscar-glammy surface and the ugly, unavoidable truth is that the movie business has some serious problems these days: Ticket sales were down five percent last year, DVD revenues continue to evaporate, and last month was the worst January for the industry in 20 years. In this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, we offer 10 fixes to help Hollywood get its mojo back — among them, Don’t remake good movies; remake bad ones. Like it or not, there’s no getting around Hollywood’s addiction to remakes; as one former studio exec tells EW, “With a few exceptions, everyone in a key position at the studios manages their whole life based on fear of making a mistake, so they go for something familiar.” But if you’ve got the redo itch, why not remake a movie that was flawed, if not downright awful, but had a great idea at its core (think: Ocean’s Eleven or The Fly), not one that was actually really good (think: The Planet of the Apes or The Pink Panther)?
Well, it looks like Warner Bros. is already ahead of us. As first reported by Deadline, the studio is embarking on a remake of the 1992 blockbuster The Bodyguard, which starred Whitney Houston as a famous singer under the protection of a former Secret Service agent (Kevin Costner). The Bodyguard was widely reviled by critics, including our own Owen Gleiberman, who gave it a D, and it received six Golden Raspberry nominations, including Worst Picture. Still, the movie had an undeniable commercial hook (it didn’t make $410 million worldwide just because people liked hearing Whitney Houston sing “I Will Always Love You”) — a hook that Warner Bros. plans to update by making the bodyguard character an Iraq War vet and by working Internet-stalking into the plot. There’s no word yet on who will be cast as the singer (feel free to share your own suggestions below). Will a Bodyguard remake work? Who knows. But at least in this case we can’t complain that Hollywood is mucking around with a hallowed classic of cinematic art, can we?
For more of our suggestions on how to fix the movies, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, Feb. 24.