NEW YORK – A disco Grease soundtrack?!
Dirty Dancing goes to Cuba?
Get ready to flash back to the '70s and '80s as Hollywood studios — spurred by Charlie's Angels' (search) $125 million-plus success — reinvent hits of TV and cinema past.
"Charlie's Angels really opened the bank as far as Hollywood is concerned," said Bill Hoffman, entertainment columnist for The New York Post. "The floodgates are open and now every show on TV can be remade."
Indeed, audiences could soon be deluged by retro flicks, said Greg Dean Schmitz, who writes Greg’s Previews for Yahoo Movies.
"Most action TV shows of the '70s and '80s are in development now," said Schmitz, who named Starsky & Hutch, Magnum P.I., Hawaii Five-O, The A-Team, Knight Rider, MacGyver and The Six Million Dollar Man as programs all in development to be big-screen attractions.
Two of the summer's most highly anticipated releases come from '70s TV shows: The Hulk (search) and Charlie’s Angels 2: Full Throttle. And this time the butt-kicking beauties will be accompanied by an original angel, Jaclyn Smith (search).
"Cameos rope the fans in," said Hoffman. "The old folks want to see how the original cast have fared. The new kids who weren’t around for the original thrill can now have their own. It’s like going to Woodstock — as long as you name it that, they will go even though they couldn’t go to the original."
A name may spark initial interest, but some spin-offs such as Havana Nights: Dirty Dancing II have tenuous ties to the original.
"I expect it to be a continuation of the previous movie," said Summer Hutchens, a film buff in Houston, Texas. "It doesn’t make sense to consider it a sequel when it’s not following anything."
In Dirty Dancing, audiences last saw Baby and Johnny in 1963 having "The Time of Their Life." But Dirty Dancing II leaves Baby in the corner for a new story line and characters — set in Cuba in 1958. A cameo by Patrick Swayze is rumored, but the similarities end there.
Movie fan Barbara Stever of Hatfield, Pa., said she loved the original Dancing, and was dismayed when she heard the set-up of the upcoming version.
"It’s a misnomer and misleading," she said. "I just don’t feel they are doing justice to the first movie if they use that in the title."
Mining another sentimental favorite, Paramount Pictures is hoping fans want them to "tell me more, tell me more" about the Rydell High gang —- or at least their offspring. Set in the late '70s, Grease 3 will feature the original characters' kids swinging their hips to a disco beat. Rumors of appearances by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John have not been confirmed.
"They are reinventing it for a generation of kids who were born 10 years after it came out," said Schmitz.
But Hutchens isn’t impressed: "Are you kidding? Grease 2 was bad enough!"
Many dedicated fans who stomped their hearts out to "Maniac" may consider remaking Flashdance sacrilege, but Jennifer Lopez could try to fill Jennifer Beals' (search) ripped sweatshirt. The music video for J-Lo's "I’m Glad" replicates the film so faithfully that she was reportedly asked to star in a remake of the 1983 film.
Hoffman isn't optimistic about a replication's appeal. "People don’t want their favorite movies messed with," he said.
One reason these retro films are popular is because they invoke youthful memories.
"Certain projects you’ll see people getting involved in because they are fans of the shows, and actors in their late 20s and early 30s grew up with these shows," Schmitz said, pointing out that actors Ben Stiller (search) and Owen Wilson (search) are starring in Starsky and have both said they were fans of the program.
But why are studios recycling material when there are so many new scripts floating around Tinseltown?
"Studios are so commercially oriented now that when it comes to taking a brand new idea or something that’s a proven box-office winner, they’ll go for box-office winner every time," Hoffman said.
The box office will tell if fans shell out to see favorites reproduced.
Hutchens said indie films should be given a chance, but is also willing to watch remakes for one reason.
"I’d go see it to see how bad it is," she said.