By Rock Mayock 2:00 p.m. | Apparently the world of entertainment holds nothing in this world sacred. As we discussed in April, Hollywood studio heads have embarked down the dark road of taking classic movies and “reimagining” them for contemporary audiences. Every once in a blue moon the reimagining or reboot of a franchise is a good thing. Case in point, Christopher Nolan elevated the Batman franchise to new heights with Batman Begins, Batman The Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises. Typically the reboot or reimagining of a franchise ends with disastrous results.
Unfortunately Hollywood has elected to take another 1980’s classic, Red Dawn, and remake it for a contemporary audience. Without seeing the movie, I can already assure it is both a terrible watch and a terrible investment. To prove the point we will objectively evaluate Red Dawn 1984 and Red Dawn 2012.
Tale of the Tape:
Red Dawn 1984’s success is predicated upon two factors working in its favor the first of which is star power. The collection of talent featured in Red Dawn 1984 is astounding. Swayze, Sheen, Howell, Gray and Thompson all enjoyed long lucrative careers in Hollywood. Additionally these actors went on to star in other iconic movies such as Platoon, Ghost, Dirty Dancing, Roadhouse, Point Break and Back to the Future. Collectively these actors have grossed in excess of $1.5 billion (or $3.4 billion in 2012 dollars) in box office receipts over the duration of their careers.
The second factor is an appropriate budget and the subsequent return on investment. The 1984 budget for Red Dawn was a paltry $4.2 million, or $9.6 million in 2012 dollars. The 1984 domestic box office gross for the film was $35.9 million or $82 million in 2012 dollars. That is an 854% ROI or approximately the same return DoubleTap Jenkins expects during a night of blackjack in the High Rollers room at the Bellagio.
Ironically Red Dawn 2012 failure is predicated upon the same two factors. The collection of talent assembled for Red Dawn 2012 includes one (1) household name, Chris “Thor” Hemsworth. The remainder of the cast has starred in blockbuster films such as Legion, RV, Ice Age, Immortals, Total Recall (2012) and Seven Pounds. Craptacular! These films have grossed approximately $1.2 billion in 2012 dollars.
The 2012 iteration of Red Dawn has a reported budget of $75 million. The bloated production budget dictates that a gross domestic box office of $640.5 million will be necessary to match the ROI produced by Red Dawn 1984. To place this in perspective, the year’s highest grossing film The Avengers has generated $616.3 million in box office receipts. There is 0% probability that Red Dawn 2012 will out gross The Avengers.
Ultimately the problem with Red Dawn 2012 is the plot. Red Dawn 1984 was released at the height of the Cold War. Before Glasnost and Perestroika took hold in the Soviet Bloc, there was a very real fear of war with Communist Russia and its allies. Therefore a movie depicting the invasion of Middle America by Russian and Cuban forces struck a cord with audiences. On the other hand a movie about North Korea, a country teetering on the brink of collapse, invading the United States is laughable. Red Dawn 2012 is already dated given the fact it wrapped shooting in 2010.
The Game Tape:
Red Dawn 2012 Appears to be a cacophony of noisy explosions tied together with a very questionable story line. Although this is not an “official” trailer for the movie, it paints an adequate enough picture. Chris Hemsworth (Thor/Captain Kirk), Josh Peck (Jimmy from iCarly), and Connor Cruise (Tom’s adopted Scientology child) lead a pack of high school kids in a fight against invading North Korean soldiers. Invariably Chris Hemsworth will spend an inordinate amount of time either sleeveless or shirtless (we do not have problem with that).
We are unsure how the North Koreans solved the logistical of inserting multiple battalions of soldiers in Middle America but that’s the story they are pitching us. We are also unsure how Will Yun Lee’s Captain Lo will step to Ron “Superfly” O’Neal’s Captain Bella.
Red Dawn 1984 One word should sum up why this movie kicks ass: WOLVERINES! Nothing will geek you up like seeing Swayze and Sheen dressed in camo sticking it to those godless pinko commie Russians and Cubans.
This trailer clearly and concisely explains the story: The Russians invaded the Midwest by using military transport aircraft disguised as commercial freight airliners. Once those Russian boots hit US soil it became the civic and national duty of our nation’s youth to fight back. The rest is cinematic history.
This simple comparison exercise leaves no question which version of Red Dawn reigns supreme. Patrick Swayze is dirty dancing all over Chris Hemsworth’s ass while Charlie Sheen is WINNING! on Josh Peck’s face. The only remaining question for Hollywood execs is “What’s next?” Perhaps they should have the audacity to try remaking National Lampoon’s Vacation with a super hilarious contemporary comedian. Oh wait, Ed Helms has already signed on for that project…