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C'mon, Hollywood: Why exactly did Oldboy bomb?

Dec. 10, 2013by: ResidentRiddle64

Remakes are always controversial no matter who's attached to the project, the number of years it's been since the original was released, how good the first one was, etc. With directors ranging from Justin Lin to Steven Spielberg, the OLDBOY remake eventually became Spike Lee's responsibility and after playing a very long waiting game, the film has finally come and hit theaters with a resounding "eh." The film tanked at the box office, prompting one to wonder, "What exactly went wrong?"

Maybe it was bad timing as the film was pushed to the day before Thanksgiving. With all the brutal violence and graphic sexual content, this may not have been a movie people necessarily wanted to take Grandma to. It could be that fans of the original weren't interested in seeing a remake of Chan-wook Park's cult classic. Competition like FROZEN, THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE and HOMEFRONT could also have been a factor in the films underperformance. Or maybe, the public as a whole simply didn't give two shits.

Or perhaps director Spike Lee didn't ask himself whether or not a remake waswarranted. Sure, the material is fantastic and it really is a shame that more American audiences haven't experienced the powerful original, but does that mean that a remake is necessary or something that audiences even really want? The numbers appear to speak for themselves as the movie hasnt even made $2 million at the box office yet. Anyone can argue that its only been released in 583 theaters, but with THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG being released this Friday, this movie has no chance of garnering enough cash for a wider release, much less advancing up the box office chart. To put it simply, OLDBOY is an absolute and unnecessary failure.

The caliber of actors and look of the film were impressive, but just because a movie is well made doesn't make it a good film. This example just reminds me of another expendable remake that crept up on me this year: CARRIE. While director Kimberly Peirce has given us good films in the past (BOYS DON'T CRY, STOP-LOSS) and the film was made competently enough, a remake was completely unneeded. Why are we getting these remakes now? Is there anything new to say or any deeper insight that needs to be explored? Not really and even if there was, both remakes didn't examine these themes or take any legitimate chances while going along. While I wouldn't say either remakes were as momma-slappingly bad or pointless as say, Gus Van Sant's PSYCHO, they're all similarly unneeded pieces of cinema that didn't offer anything new or do anything to change the way many of us feel about the originals.

If filmmakers absolutely need to remake a film, they should take some notes from this year's EVIL DEAD. While the film wasn't perfect, that's how you do a remake (or reboot or re-imagining or whatever the hell people like to call it) correctly. The film was surrounded in a ridiculous amount of positive hype after some hard-hitting trailers, was released 30 years after the original (giving a perfect amount of time for newcomers to hop on board while simultaneously exciting original fans of THE EVIL DEAD), had some new, legitimate talent attached to it AND was made by those who actually wanted the best possible final product. It gave audiences something new while paying respectful homage to the original, which is something that unfortunately rarely happens.

Another remake that comes to mind that did it right is THE DEPARTED. When we could have easily been given another shot-for-shot remake, we were given a deeper, more elaborate thriller. While it's original, INFERNAL AFFAIRS, was great, Martin Scorsese brought his signature style and intensity to the story and delved deeper into the characters and gave us something different while still keeping the twist-filledstory of the original(while earning a few Oscars, too). Last year's DREDD is another great example. Taking everything that was wrong with the original JUDGE DREDD and fixing it, DREDD gave us awesome action set pieces and presented a more faithful adaptation from the comics it was based on. Sure, it wasn't trying to bring home any Oscars and wasn't exactly a box-office success, but it's since become very popular on home video and was an overall great action movie (especially for a remake). Now, we can only hope that ROBOCOP was paying attention and gives us something equally as badass next year.

So, C'mon, Hollywood! Perhaps it's time for directors to start asking themselves how necessary their remake is in the first place. If a remake is something that absolutely has to be made, consider the factors of what goes into something successful and what goes into something that's ultimately forgotten by everyone. While there are a myriad of factors that went into the overall failure of OLDBOY, it would appear that there was a general disinterest in the movie from theget-go. If filmmakers are investing their time and energy into remaking something just because it has a "built in audience" then they've failed. Movie-goers are catching on and it's going to take more than a second look at a bloody hammer to put butts in seats anymore.

Extra Tidbit: Did you happen to catch the remake? If so, how do you feel about it?
Source: Joblo

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6:03PM on 12/11/2013

Timing.

Look who it was up against. Oldboy was released against a disney movie and a jason statham movie. Statham movies tend to do the average at the box office but disney movies always do good. Plus it was released a week after Catching Fire. We could all point the finger at Spike Lee but then again that would be mean (even if his last good film was summer of sam).
Look who it was up against. Oldboy was released against a disney movie and a jason statham movie. Statham movies tend to do the average at the box office but disney movies always do good. Plus it was released a week after Catching Fire. We could all point the finger at Spike Lee but then again that would be mean (even if his last good film was summer of sam).
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5:51PM on 12/11/2013
my buddy's aunt makes $70 an hour on the internet. She has been without work for nine months but last month her payment was $12442 just working on the internet for a few hours. blog link... www.Buzz19.com
my buddy's aunt makes $70 an hour on the internet. She has been without work for nine months but last month her payment was $12442 just working on the internet for a few hours. blog link... www.Buzz19.com
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11:27AM on 12/11/2013
Lack of marketing, an egotistical director, a remake, and low release. That's why it bombed.
Lack of marketing, an egotistical director, a remake, and low release. That's why it bombed.
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7:22AM on 12/11/2013

You gave us the answer already....

" Or maybe, the public as a whole simply didn't give two shits".

What was Oldboy? Never heard of the original, BARELY heard of this remake, and that's only because I hang out here way too much :) I'll chalk this up to an effectively ZERO dollar budget for marketing.
" Or maybe, the public as a whole simply didn't give two shits".

What was Oldboy? Never heard of the original, BARELY heard of this remake, and that's only because I hang out here way too much :) I'll chalk this up to an effectively ZERO dollar budget for marketing.
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11:46PM on 12/10/2013

Oldboy...

the least advertised theatrical release of the year. I had read about it on here, but as another user said, I wasnt even aware it was out yet. It seems like Lee thought the original had enough fans that he wasnt concerned with putting his product out there....obvious mistake.
the least advertised theatrical release of the year. I had read about it on here, but as another user said, I wasnt even aware it was out yet. It seems like Lee thought the original had enough fans that he wasnt concerned with putting his product out there....obvious mistake.
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11:24PM on 12/10/2013
Maybe because a remake of an ultra-violent and obscure (to most Americans) Korean film with an un-bankable lead actor and a director past his prime and out of his genre was NEVER a good idea? Ya think?
Maybe because a remake of an ultra-violent and obscure (to most Americans) Korean film with an un-bankable lead actor and a director past his prime and out of his genre was NEVER a good idea? Ya think?
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10:12PM on 12/10/2013
The main problem is many times directors and producers jump on projects with big names and followings while ignoring lesser known material. Producers love to use movies with a built in fan base as they assume it will garner more attention if it is remade. The real solution is to look at other lesser known works instead of relying on stuff that already has been done. Take for example there is Food of the Gods from HG Wells. Everyone loves to do time machine and war of the worlds but you rarely
The main problem is many times directors and producers jump on projects with big names and followings while ignoring lesser known material. Producers love to use movies with a built in fan base as they assume it will garner more attention if it is remade. The real solution is to look at other lesser known works instead of relying on stuff that already has been done. Take for example there is Food of the Gods from HG Wells. Everyone loves to do time machine and war of the worlds but you rarely hear hollywood looking at that one despite its crazy implications of a world where humanity is slowly becoming the insects as all creatures on the planet continue to grow in size. There is much that hollywood has ignored and for that reason we often see remakes of movies which already have a fan base with expectations and demands. Its for that reason that we never see a lot of original content cause hollywood is just not willing to jump on projects without a built in fan base.
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9:37PM on 12/10/2013
Really? You think competition from Frozen and Catching Fire hurt this movie? I'm pretty sure those films aren't going for the same demographic. "Hey kids, do you want to see Frozen or Oldboy tonight?"
The answer is the only people this movie would appeal to are people who saw the original and realized this remake had nothing new to offer. I don't care how much they market this movie, I doubt it would result in this becoming some smash hit.
Really? You think competition from Frozen and Catching Fire hurt this movie? I'm pretty sure those films aren't going for the same demographic. "Hey kids, do you want to see Frozen or Oldboy tonight?"
The answer is the only people this movie would appeal to are people who saw the original and realized this remake had nothing new to offer. I don't care how much they market this movie, I doubt it would result in this becoming some smash hit.
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-1
9:05PM on 12/10/2013

release date, remake and bad marketing

The three elements that cause a movie like this to fail is that one, it's a remake. If you're going to remake something then make it better or different. People don't rush out and see remakes unless it's a giant blockbuster that everyone is familiar with. But if you're remaking a film only a small percent of the world has seen then you better make it the best movie ever. The 2nd element is marketing. When they released the first trailer / redband trailer people were talking about it. But
The three elements that cause a movie like this to fail is that one, it's a remake. If you're going to remake something then make it better or different. People don't rush out and see remakes unless it's a giant blockbuster that everyone is familiar with. But if you're remaking a film only a small percent of the world has seen then you better make it the best movie ever. The 2nd element is marketing. When they released the first trailer / redband trailer people were talking about it. But a month later everyone forgot about it because there weren't any new trailers and I for one barely saw any tv spots. The marketing for this wasn't down right shitty but it was somewhat bad. The 3rd and final thing that killed the movie was the release date. At first when I heard they pushed it that close to Christmas I thought it was something special and maybe something of a surprise awards type movie. But no.... there was no word on how good the movie was until the release. So by the time it came out it was going up against Frozen, Hunger Games, still Gravity and any other awards films that were just recently released into cinemas. From the trailer this film looks as if its like a slasher/mystery movie. It's a guilty pleasure. Those types of films NEVER ever do well once November comes around. Everyone wants to see a happy family film. Oldboy is not that type of film. I'm just like everyone else. I got excited when the first trailer was released but by the time it came out I saw other movies. I still want to see Oldboy but it might have to wait after I see The Hobbit....oh wait.... then I'll want to see American Hustle and Anchorman. Maybe after those....oh wait!....it won't be in cinemas anymore. Drats. Maybe on dvd.
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8:30PM on 12/10/2013

The elephant in the room

This is an example of [link] A genre film site is going to appreciate the original flick. Broader audiences don't really want to see a movie about incest, with this level of intimate graphic violence (it's not about things blowing up). We spend so much time trying to trivialize other points of view in order to legitimize our own, that we put blinders on to some basic facts: whether people a "stupid" for not liking old-boy, there's simply not a critical mass of people who would want to see the
This is an example of [link] A genre film site is going to appreciate the original flick. Broader audiences don't really want to see a movie about incest, with this level of intimate graphic violence (it's not about things blowing up). We spend so much time trying to trivialize other points of view in order to legitimize our own, that we put blinders on to some basic facts: whether people a "stupid" for not liking old-boy, there's simply not a critical mass of people who would want to see the original. So out of the group of fans of the original, only a much smaller group is going to want to see a remake, which is likely going to be inferior. There simply is no addressable audience for this film large enough for a box office success. If that hurts your feelings and you want to down-vote me for being an asshole - fine; it's not a commentary on the value of the film, just recognizing that mainstream tastes are what drive box-office success.
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8:24PM on 12/10/2013
I think it's a combo of it only being in 500 theaters and those who knew what it was weren't gonna see it. Rather watch the original on Neftlix any day.
I think it's a combo of it only being in 500 theaters and those who knew what it was weren't gonna see it. Rather watch the original on Neftlix any day.
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8:10PM on 12/10/2013

Not surprised

1.) The Korean Oldboy, as I recall, got quite a bit of good press here in the states when it came out and I believe he had a limited release over here as a result. So it wasn't like your typical Hollywood remake of a virtually unknown Asian film that hadn't really been exposed to the American masses. Oldboy already had been exposed to the American masses.
2.) Hollywood is kind of burning us out on the whole someone gets kidnapped (or whatever) and then a revenge filled rampage follows.
1.) The Korean Oldboy, as I recall, got quite a bit of good press here in the states when it came out and I believe he had a limited release over here as a result. So it wasn't like your typical Hollywood remake of a virtually unknown Asian film that hadn't really been exposed to the American masses. Oldboy already had been exposed to the American masses.
2.) Hollywood is kind of burning us out on the whole someone gets kidnapped (or whatever) and then a revenge filled rampage follows.
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+2
7:43PM on 12/10/2013
HAHAHA. I knew it was gonna flop. No one wants to see a Spike Lee version of Oldboy. American audiences are not ready for that twist at the end, especially when WIll Smith was rumored for the lead. Maybe know Hollywood will think twice about fucking with classics.
HAHAHA. I knew it was gonna flop. No one wants to see a Spike Lee version of Oldboy. American audiences are not ready for that twist at the end, especially when WIll Smith was rumored for the lead. Maybe know Hollywood will think twice about fucking with classics.
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7:03PM on 12/10/2013
Funny Games and Miami Vice are good examples of remakes done right. Could be because in these cases the directors of the originals were the film makers.
Funny Games and Miami Vice are good examples of remakes done right. Could be because in these cases the directors of the originals were the film makers.
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4:05PM on 12/10/2013

2 reasons

1. The broader population who never heard of the original Oldboy were never reached because of a non-existent advertising campaign.
2. The film-geek audience that already did know about it is comprised of a vast majority of individuals rooting for Spike Lee to fail at this from the get-go. And mostly for reasons that have zero to do with his talent as a filmmaker.
1. The broader population who never heard of the original Oldboy were never reached because of a non-existent advertising campaign.
2. The film-geek audience that already did know about it is comprised of a vast majority of individuals rooting for Spike Lee to fail at this from the get-go. And mostly for reasons that have zero to do with his talent as a filmmaker.
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8:25PM on 12/10/2013
I'd argue that there was a ton of commercials for Oldboy the weeks leading up. I think that this is a very niche story. The people it would appeal to, largely already saw the original, and didn't feel a strong need to see the movie remade. For everybody else, this story, and the graphic nature, is a little off-putting.
I'd argue that there was a ton of commercials for Oldboy the weeks leading up. I think that this is a very niche story. The people it would appeal to, largely already saw the original, and didn't feel a strong need to see the movie remade. For everybody else, this story, and the graphic nature, is a little off-putting.
3:56PM on 12/10/2013
I thought the remake was phenomenal and stood on its own. Truly bizarre cinema. It's not exactly something I run around recommending anyone see, but I've got a twisted little brain and I hadn't seen the original in nearly 10 years, so I had forgotten the twist at the end, which they approached slightly differently than the original. It was never going to be a box office smash, and most people I know don't even know what an "Oldboy" is, as in they have never heard of it, and since it doesn't
I thought the remake was phenomenal and stood on its own. Truly bizarre cinema. It's not exactly something I run around recommending anyone see, but I've got a twisted little brain and I hadn't seen the original in nearly 10 years, so I had forgotten the twist at the end, which they approached slightly differently than the original. It was never going to be a box office smash, and most people I know don't even know what an "Oldboy" is, as in they have never heard of it, and since it doesn't have a number after it, they could be less interested. Meh. I loved it. Like this site, I give it a 9/10.
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2:03PM on 12/10/2013
I don't think it's failure is due to the fact that there was no need for a remake. I mean remakes of foreign films happen all the time and end up being successful. I think that's all that was intended with this movie. Filmmakers saw that it was a great story but many people would never see it because it's a foreign film. So they decide to due an english language remake. It's a recipe that has been successful many times in the past.

I think this movie failed because the studio which made
I don't think it's failure is due to the fact that there was no need for a remake. I mean remakes of foreign films happen all the time and end up being successful. I think that's all that was intended with this movie. Filmmakers saw that it was a great story but many people would never see it because it's a foreign film. So they decide to due an english language remake. It's a recipe that has been successful many times in the past.

I think this movie failed because the studio which made it failed to do any marketing for it. I'm familiar with the remake because I visit sites like Joblo.com. But even still, I was unaware when it was coming out. I don't think I ever saw a commercial for this movie on TV, a poster anywhere around town, or even a trailer before other movies for it. And I live in Toronto - a pretty popular town to release a movie. Fact is, it's the studio's fault for it's failure because they failed to get the word out about their movie.
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1:17PM on 12/10/2013
There is a reason why the original Oldboy is a cult favorite -- because it appeals to a small but very dedicated audience. obviously there was hope that the remake would grow that audience, but it didn't. that reveals a lack of interest in the concept more than anything -- the wider audience beyond the fans of the original had no interest in the movie -- remake or original, which is why they haven't watched either. nobody who hadn't seen the original was clamoring to see an American version
There is a reason why the original Oldboy is a cult favorite -- because it appeals to a small but very dedicated audience. obviously there was hope that the remake would grow that audience, but it didn't. that reveals a lack of interest in the concept more than anything -- the wider audience beyond the fans of the original had no interest in the movie -- remake or original, which is why they haven't watched either. nobody who hadn't seen the original was clamoring to see an American version of the film, and fans of the original tend to be very defensive of it and wanted the remake to fail so they could justify their continued allegiance to the original as the better and only necessary version, so they avoided it as well.

it has nothing to do with remakes in general are necessary, it has to do with remaking movies whose concepts will appeal to a new audience. remakes are not for audiences who have seen the original, they are to bring the movie to audiences who have not seen and have no interest in seeing it, whether it is because it is simply an older film and they do not watch older films, or a foreign film and they do not watch foreign films, etc.

beyond that, Josh Brolin simply isn't a star that will inherently make people want to see a movie on his power alone. so you have a concept nobody cares about and an actor they don't care about either, and likely a director that is very divisive, and you have a project doomed to fail. not because it wasn't as good as the original because fans of the original were never going to make this movie a hit.

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1:15PM on 12/10/2013
I didn't know this movie started in limited release. I live in Little Rock, and we usually get just about everything (eventually) but stuff like foreign films that won't be nominated for an Oscar, but we haven't gotten Oldboy yet. I was really surprised because I'd like to check the movie out and planned on doing it on Thanksgiving, but to my surprise, it wasn't on anywhere. Is it that much of a "low-budget indie art house" film? I thought it was going to be fairly mainstream, accessible,
I didn't know this movie started in limited release. I live in Little Rock, and we usually get just about everything (eventually) but stuff like foreign films that won't be nominated for an Oscar, but we haven't gotten Oldboy yet. I was really surprised because I'd like to check the movie out and planned on doing it on Thanksgiving, but to my surprise, it wasn't on anywhere. Is it that much of a "low-budget indie art house" film? I thought it was going to be fairly mainstream, accessible, at least for a gory, R rated revenge film, because of the talent involved. I figured it would get the same kind of screens that Labor Day will probably get. I don't really watch actual TV much so I don't see what movies they are promoting or how often, but I figured this movie was gonna be a major release. Were there any advertisements for this on TV? Were there many? Does anyone else live in a fairly large city but still doesn't have it? Is it suppose to keep expanding?
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12:50PM on 12/10/2013
Vanilla Sky... Tom Cruise... 100 million domestic. The Girl with the dragon tattoo, James Bond Craig... 102 million domestic. Oldboy with Spielberg/Smith involved... probably in the 50/100 million range. C'on guys nobody cares about Mr. Brollin (sure, he's a great actor but not a profitable one). And Spike Lee is not in his best times. There are a lot of other explanations (bad timing, not too many screens) but the names involved are always the big factor.
Vanilla Sky... Tom Cruise... 100 million domestic. The Girl with the dragon tattoo, James Bond Craig... 102 million domestic. Oldboy with Spielberg/Smith involved... probably in the 50/100 million range. C'on guys nobody cares about Mr. Brollin (sure, he's a great actor but not a profitable one). And Spike Lee is not in his best times. There are a lot of other explanations (bad timing, not too many screens) but the names involved are always the big factor.
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11:49AM on 12/10/2013

Here's why Oldboy bombed:

Yes, Spike Lee has lost my trust as a film maker. He seems like he's actively trying to produce stuff nobody is interested in. But also: To me, the original Oldboy offered hope. Yes, it's dark and violent, but there's a warmth underneath it all, of hope and humanity. This one just looks like it exists to show us violence. I'm a fan of bloody action movies and violence (LOVED Out of the Furnace) but with Oldboy it looked like the film makers actively zapped any joy from the proceedings. Holidays
Yes, Spike Lee has lost my trust as a film maker. He seems like he's actively trying to produce stuff nobody is interested in. But also: To me, the original Oldboy offered hope. Yes, it's dark and violent, but there's a warmth underneath it all, of hope and humanity. This one just looks like it exists to show us violence. I'm a fan of bloody action movies and violence (LOVED Out of the Furnace) but with Oldboy it looked like the film makers actively zapped any joy from the proceedings. Holidays or mid-summer, that just did not appeal to me.
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11:14AM on 12/10/2013
Two words, Spike Lee.
Two words, Spike Lee.
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11:09AM on 12/10/2013
The first Evil Dead was never a classic like Carrie and Oldboy and The Departed is Martin Scorsese's most commercial film. There's no lesson to remember here, except that remakes are risky.
The first Evil Dead was never a classic like Carrie and Oldboy and The Departed is Martin Scorsese's most commercial film. There's no lesson to remember here, except that remakes are risky.
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11:00AM on 12/10/2013
It bombed because of Spike Lee. People aren't rushing out saying "I've GOT to see the latest Spike Lee joint!" He has alienated a wide audience. He has a few sycophants.
It bombed because of Spike Lee. People aren't rushing out saying "I've GOT to see the latest Spike Lee joint!" He has alienated a wide audience. He has a few sycophants.
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10:56AM on 12/10/2013

Remakes are a double-edged sword

Movies like Oldboy and Carrie are regarded as true classics to their fan-bases. Carrie had another remake, and a twenty-year-later sequel, neither of which are particularly well-regarded or remembered. Because unlike a Nightmare on Elm Street or Evil Dead, Carrie never was franchise material. Everyone knew that a remake would just be rehashing the bully theme, but with a PG-13 rating, and a prettier actress playing the title character. As for Oldboy, it's brutal, twisted, and the most likely
Movies like Oldboy and Carrie are regarded as true classics to their fan-bases. Carrie had another remake, and a twenty-year-later sequel, neither of which are particularly well-regarded or remembered. Because unlike a Nightmare on Elm Street or Evil Dead, Carrie never was franchise material. Everyone knew that a remake would just be rehashing the bully theme, but with a PG-13 rating, and a prettier actress playing the title character. As for Oldboy, it's brutal, twisted, and the most likely group of people who'd be interested in seeing it probably already saw the original Oldboy. Or are fans of Josh Brolin, who's not exactly a box office star. I actually think the reason they made an Oldboy movie was because sooner or later it was going to happen, and when it fell to Spike Lee, he thought it would be an opportunity to try something different, just to experiment a little.

One of the things I think The Departed did right was it changed the title of the movie. Now, this is counter-intuitive to studios who try to use name recognition to sell their remakes. But Martin Scorsese saw potential in the plot-line, got William Monaghan to pen an adaptation moving the action to his native Boston for added cultural flavor, and built up the backstory so that anyone who'd seen Infernal Affairs might even momentarily forget it was pretty much the same (plus a love triangle and Mark Wahlberg chewing scenery).

Evil Dead is an easier sell. Granted, it changed story elements, but teasing some hardcore horror violence, the fact that fans of horror franchises seem eager to test themselves against any new iterations of their beloved classics just to show that the filmmakers missed the mark, and that Deadites have been pining for another entry into the series for twenty years now, and might as well settle for the next best thing.
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2:11PM on 12/10/2013
Excellent points all around. With Evil Dead they had success just based on the title. Personally I think they turned out a great movie and took a good approach to remaking it - they didn't let themselves get bogged down in trying to appeal to 30 years of fandom. They took the basic substance of the original, used today's gruesome horror elements, and wrote a story that would appeal to today's audience. But at the end of the day, they tapped into the fact that fans have been clamoring for
Excellent points all around. With Evil Dead they had success just based on the title. Personally I think they turned out a great movie and took a good approach to remaking it - they didn't let themselves get bogged down in trying to appeal to 30 years of fandom. They took the basic substance of the original, used today's gruesome horror elements, and wrote a story that would appeal to today's audience. But at the end of the day, they tapped into the fact that fans have been clamoring for another Evil Dead movie for years - as long as they had Evil Dead as the title, good or bad people would be coming out to see it.
+10
10:51AM on 12/10/2013
Oldboy bombed because it was barely advertised or supported by the studio. If people don't know a certain movie exists then they're not going to be able to see it, especially if that movie gets a restricted release.
Oldboy bombed because it was barely advertised or supported by the studio. If people don't know a certain movie exists then they're not going to be able to see it, especially if that movie gets a restricted release.
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10:23AM on 12/10/2013

Marketing was non-existent on this movie.

I didn't see one commercial on TV for this, and if they were relying on word of mouth from fans of the original, they alienated that audience just by remaking it to begin with. Everything about this release points to a studio dump.
I didn't see one commercial on TV for this, and if they were relying on word of mouth from fans of the original, they alienated that audience just by remaking it to begin with. Everything about this release points to a studio dump.
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10:09AM on 12/10/2013
well running dry?
well running dry?
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9:19AM on 12/10/2013
It bombed partially because the loyal fanbase to the original did not want any part of it. They knew was going to be a basic rehash of what they had already seen. Scorsese did it right with The Departed, he took the basic plotline of the Infernal Affairs and tweeked it in the right spots to make it different. He gave us more characterization, he dug deeper in to their psyches than what the original film did and changed the basic archetypes that each character was in the original. He also
It bombed partially because the loyal fanbase to the original did not want any part of it. They knew was going to be a basic rehash of what they had already seen. Scorsese did it right with The Departed, he took the basic plotline of the Infernal Affairs and tweeked it in the right spots to make it different. He gave us more characterization, he dug deeper in to their psyches than what the original film did and changed the basic archetypes that each character was in the original. He also respected that both movies took place in two very different cities so the type of people populated these cities are vastly different even f they are criminals. He also just simply made a better film overall.
There have been many classics like that have been remakes of others. Magnificent Seven, Assault on Precinct 13, and A Fistful of Dollars that took plot elements from the originals but tweeked them enough and changed the genres in some cases. This films managed to breath new life in their time tested formulas, they were not just a rehash like most remakes are
Oldboy also had the misfortune of coming out at Thanksgiving time, this would have been a good Pre-Summer release or even a Fall release. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that Spike Lee was not the films problem. If anything he was a better choice than most but he was hampered by a studio that did not understand the source material. That will always be a major problem with studios.
At the end of the day the proof is there that this remake should not have happened,
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10:11AM on 12/10/2013
I agree with you all the way.
I agree with you all the way.
10:56AM on 12/10/2013
Scorsese didn't tweek or add that much, he just took those things from the sequels and jammed it all into one film. That trilogy digs a lot deeper than the Departed does, the whole third movie is pure psychology.
Scorsese didn't tweek or add that much, he just took those things from the sequels and jammed it all into one film. That trilogy digs a lot deeper than the Departed does, the whole third movie is pure psychology.
9:02AM on 12/10/2013
Why did it bomb? Pay me for my opinion on why it bombed!
Why did it bomb? Pay me for my opinion on why it bombed!
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8:23AM on 12/10/2013

Don't look at the director, look at the producers

This was clearly a producer-driven project: take a foreign language hit and remake it for American audiences. So you have to ask them what the hell they were thinking. As others mentioned, the promotion for this film was almost non-existent; it was literally dumped into theatres. It didn't help that it was going up against some serious heavy hitters in HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE and FROZEN. Even if it was a good remake (like last year's LET ME IN), this movie never had a chance of being
This was clearly a producer-driven project: take a foreign language hit and remake it for American audiences. So you have to ask them what the hell they were thinking. As others mentioned, the promotion for this film was almost non-existent; it was literally dumped into theatres. It didn't help that it was going up against some serious heavy hitters in HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE and FROZEN. Even if it was a good remake (like last year's LET ME IN), this movie never had a chance of being successful.
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8:23AM on 12/10/2013

o:

It had bad placement in the year I think. It's a solid movie, and very entertaining.
It had bad placement in the year I think. It's a solid movie, and very entertaining.
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8:19AM on 12/10/2013

Spike Lee

One of the main reasons I had no interest was it was in fact a Spike Lee Film (not joint). He has become a political joke and nearly caused an innocent family to be destroyed when he tweeted what he thought was George Zimmerman's address but was wrong. Even if he had the right address what was he thinking. I hope they get a good deal of money from their lawsuit. Whether it is this or being a jerk at Knick games he has become a joke that's not funny. His movies were never box office hits and he
One of the main reasons I had no interest was it was in fact a Spike Lee Film (not joint). He has become a political joke and nearly caused an innocent family to be destroyed when he tweeted what he thought was George Zimmerman's address but was wrong. Even if he had the right address what was he thinking. I hope they get a good deal of money from their lawsuit. Whether it is this or being a jerk at Knick games he has become a joke that's not funny. His movies were never box office hits and he tried to piggy back on someone else's vision and got burned. Good.
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9:55AM on 12/10/2013
Amen. He is an asshole and I think makes race relations worse. That tweet you mentioned really pisses me off and shows how he thinks his shit don't stink. I will never pay to see one if his films again, will only watch for free, if at all.
Amen. He is an asshole and I think makes race relations worse. That tweet you mentioned really pisses me off and shows how he thinks his shit don't stink. I will never pay to see one if his films again, will only watch for free, if at all.
8:04AM on 12/10/2013

Why? I didn't give a shit; that's from my POV

Moreover, I think Lee is an asshole and he's one of the VERY FEW that turns me off enough as a person to keep me from paying to see his shit. Oh, and I don't like 90% of his movies, either.
Plus, OLDBOY did not need to be remade. Like, at all. The clips and pics I've seen made it look like a near shot-for-shot rehash.
As for making the possible impression that excessive remakes are a "new thing"... it's been overboard for the last 15 years, and it looks like it isn't stopping soon.
Moreover, I think Lee is an asshole and he's one of the VERY FEW that turns me off enough as a person to keep me from paying to see his shit. Oh, and I don't like 90% of his movies, either.
Plus, OLDBOY did not need to be remade. Like, at all. The clips and pics I've seen made it look like a near shot-for-shot rehash.
As for making the possible impression that excessive remakes are a "new thing"... it's been overboard for the last 15 years, and it looks like it isn't stopping soon.
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6:44AM on 12/10/2013

It bombed because...

... you can't improve on perfection
... you can't improve on perfection
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-14
6:28AM on 12/10/2013
"The Departed" was pretty weak compared to "Internal Affairs", suffering from underwritten characters (Matt Damons role) and and an horribly scenery chewing Jack Nicholson. Scorcesse got those Oscars for this one because he got none for the superior Goodfellas.
"The Departed" was pretty weak compared to "Internal Affairs", suffering from underwritten characters (Matt Damons role) and and an horribly scenery chewing Jack Nicholson. Scorcesse got those Oscars for this one because he got none for the superior Goodfellas.
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6:43AM on 12/10/2013
Agreed, Internal Affairs trilogy was so much better.
Agreed, Internal Affairs trilogy was so much better.
9:15AM on 12/10/2013
I don't think you're wrong, or right. I prefer the Departed. But in the case of the Departed it's not about which one was better. Scorcesse took the story and made it his very own. Drawing in plot points and themes, while keeping it his own style. Someone who had no idea that it was a remake could watch it, then see Infernal Affairs a few months or years later, and have no clue the two are related. I haven't seen Spike's Oldboy so I don't know how it compares to the original, but from what I
I don't think you're wrong, or right. I prefer the Departed. But in the case of the Departed it's not about which one was better. Scorcesse took the story and made it his very own. Drawing in plot points and themes, while keeping it his own style. Someone who had no idea that it was a remake could watch it, then see Infernal Affairs a few months or years later, and have no clue the two are related. I haven't seen Spike's Oldboy so I don't know how it compares to the original, but from what I hear, it's almost a scene for scene remake, like The Hangover 2 is to the Hangover 1.
6:18AM on 12/10/2013

Fair or unfair,

Spike Lee is a divisive lightning rod that immediately conjures strong feelings either for or against him. If the studio releases the exact same film with "Quentin Tarantino presents" at the top of the bill, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.
Spike Lee is a divisive lightning rod that immediately conjures strong feelings either for or against him. If the studio releases the exact same film with "Quentin Tarantino presents" at the top of the bill, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.
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+27
5:37AM on 12/10/2013
You do remakes of B-movies that had potential but failed to live up to it. You don't do remakes of accomplished works just because the audience is too lazy to read subtitles or refuses to deal with faces they don't recognise, it's their loss if they can't cross that ridiculously low threshold.

Too bad it worked for The Departed, since, even there, the original was far superior.
You do remakes of B-movies that had potential but failed to live up to it. You don't do remakes of accomplished works just because the audience is too lazy to read subtitles or refuses to deal with faces they don't recognise, it's their loss if they can't cross that ridiculously low threshold.

Too bad it worked for The Departed, since, even there, the original was far superior.
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+28
5:34AM on 12/10/2013

Dredd..

..was hardly what you'd call a 'remake'.
..was hardly what you'd call a 'remake'.
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5:34AM on 12/10/2013

The marketing for this was nonexistent

I love the original and really dug the remake, but the marketing was almost non existent. I saw one trailer in theaters, no tv spots and the posters while interesting didn't exactly sell the film. And whether you love him or hate him, Spike Lee is a talented film maker who deserved a better job from the studio. As we have seen time and time again you can not rely on internet and fanboy only marketing to open a film. It's a shame because the remake had some really solid stuff in it.
I love the original and really dug the remake, but the marketing was almost non existent. I saw one trailer in theaters, no tv spots and the posters while interesting didn't exactly sell the film. And whether you love him or hate him, Spike Lee is a talented film maker who deserved a better job from the studio. As we have seen time and time again you can not rely on internet and fanboy only marketing to open a film. It's a shame because the remake had some really solid stuff in it.
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4:45AM on 12/10/2013

Very vad timing

Well, that's what you get when you remake a more than 10 years old "niche" movie... Everyone who was interested in Oldboy had already seen the original, so why would they see the exact same movie with an English speaking cast? All the twists and turns of the plot would be the same after all and a movie like that, can only be trully experienced once.

I take it that most serious cinephiles don't care that much about reading subtitles (I live in Greece where subtitles are the norm and I thank
Well, that's what you get when you remake a more than 10 years old "niche" movie... Everyone who was interested in Oldboy had already seen the original, so why would they see the exact same movie with an English speaking cast? All the twists and turns of the plot would be the same after all and a movie like that, can only be trully experienced once.

I take it that most serious cinephiles don't care that much about reading subtitles (I live in Greece where subtitles are the norm and I thank God for that, cause I'd take subtitles over dubbing, no matter how well and professionaly it is handled, any day of the week... I mean, how can you judge an actor's performance if you can't hear his or her VOICE, for crying out loud!), which means that they don't have a problem with watching foreign movies that they hear positive word of mouth about, so they already checked out the original when it came out or on DVD. Mainstream audiences on the other hand, were probably turned off by the weirdness of the movie and they prefered to spend their money on the much more attractive alternatives that you mention on your article.

In other words, I think that it was a case of VERY bad timing, combined with a lack of an appropriate audience. Perhaps it will do better when it is released on the home market, since fans of the original and mainstream audiences alike might be more willing check it out, out of curiosity.
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-1
4:10AM on 12/10/2013

Poor Spike

He tried to play in to the studio system's good graces one more (final?) time after they sent his Inside Man 2 ideas packing, and they fucked him again.
He tried to play in to the studio system's good graces one more (final?) time after they sent his Inside Man 2 ideas packing, and they fucked him again.
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3:58AM on 12/10/2013
Remake it already!
Remake it already!
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+11
3:48AM on 12/10/2013

Spit-balling, but...

The target audience for this had already seen the beloved original thus destroying any word-of-mouth not consisting of "you should see the original". I barely saw any ads and when I did, they weren't compelling. Something about a Thanksgiving release didn't sit well with me. And - I'm neutral on Spike Lee, but when he joined, I had a gut feeling it'd be a bumpy road given his attitude.
The target audience for this had already seen the beloved original thus destroying any word-of-mouth not consisting of "you should see the original". I barely saw any ads and when I did, they weren't compelling. Something about a Thanksgiving release didn't sit well with me. And - I'm neutral on Spike Lee, but when he joined, I had a gut feeling it'd be a bumpy road given his attitude.
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3:43AM on 12/10/2013
I agree with yeehaw08 as I don't even know it's out already.
I agree with yeehaw08 as I don't even know it's out already.
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+12
3:23AM on 12/10/2013

Well from my point of view

I could say it bombed because I had no idea that it came out... Didn't one piece of advertising for it.
I could say it bombed because I had no idea that it came out... Didn't one piece of advertising for it.
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3:21AM on 12/10/2013
I think the reason Oldboy failed was because most beloved movie fans loved the original and hold it in very high regard and didn't want to see that iconic film be remade (like my situation with the Halloween remakes). I also think the twist and subject material didn't help with American audiences either. And last but not least, the fact that Spike Lee has made some not so thoughtful comments the last few years regarding some of his peers and colleagues.
I think the reason Oldboy failed was because most beloved movie fans loved the original and hold it in very high regard and didn't want to see that iconic film be remade (like my situation with the Halloween remakes). I also think the twist and subject material didn't help with American audiences either. And last but not least, the fact that Spike Lee has made some not so thoughtful comments the last few years regarding some of his peers and colleagues.
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5:00AM on 12/10/2013
Well put, sir! Especially the last part. That's why I didn't go. That and it didn't look like anything new or improved upon in regards to the original (the trailers just didn't do it for me).
Well put, sir! Especially the last part. That's why I didn't go. That and it didn't look like anything new or improved upon in regards to the original (the trailers just didn't do it for me).
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