These Lousy Movie Remakes Will Never Replace the Originals

By Rachel R.Last Updated Apr 2, 2020 5:26:14 PM ET
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No movie is safe from the dreaded remake, especially not a former blockbuster. Everyone knows the original was awesome, but sometimes filmmakers just shouldn’t mess with a good thing. 

So, which movie remake takes top honors as the worst of them all? Read on to see the rankings of the worst movie remakes, from action to comedy to horror. In a few cases, the remade films almost ruined the associated actors’ careers. Yikes!          

34. Arthur (2011)

If you haven't watched the 2011 remake of Arthur, you didn't miss anything. The original movie premiered in 1981 starring Dudley Moore. Moore played an alcoholic billionaire who falls in love with a working-class girl right before his arranged marriage. The 1981 classic was hilarious and won an Academy Award.

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Unfortunately, the 2011 remake was painfully unfunny. Russell Brand took over the lead role, but his performance didn't please the crowd. Audiences thought the jokes were weak and called Brand's voice for the character "irritating." As a result, Brand earned a Golden Raspberry nomination for Worst Actor.

33. The Stepfather (2009)

Slasher legends like Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees dominated horror in the ‘80s, but The Stepfather also deserves a shout out. The movie is about a man who marries into a family, takes their lives, changes his identity and moves on to the next innocent family.

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Many fans of the 1987 classic say it’s best to avoid the 2009 remake. Nip/Tuck star Dylan Walsh couldn't bring the tension or scares like actor Terry O'Quinn in the original. Gossip Girl’s Penn Badley also couldn't save the remake from a sad 11% Rotten Tomatoes score.

32. Godzilla (1998)

The original 1954 Godzilla was so good that fans believe people should stay far away from the 1998 remake. In the remake, actor Matthew Broderick portrayed an expert who studies Godzilla and finds out that the monster has laid hundreds of eggs underneath New York City. As an iconic monster, Godzilla deserved better, according to fans. What exactly was the plot? No one is really sure. 

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The crowd thought the film tried to rip off Jurassic Park, but ultimately failed. The little Godzillas added nothing to the story in the remake. Even worse, you know it's bad when director Roland Emmerich says he regrets working on the film.

31. Ghostbusters (2016)

The Ghostbusters reboot faced a lot of controversies before, during and after its release. Although the reboot was full of talented and successful comedians, the finished product turned out to be a disappointing big-budget flop. It also wasn't even funny.

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Critics ripped the film for its long runtime. They also thought the remake tried too hard to be better than the 1984 original. Where was its own flare? Unfortunately, Hollywood hasn't learned its lesson because another Ghostbusters reboot is in production.

30. Around the World in 80 Days (2004)

Both the original and remake of Around the World in 80 Days was based on the book of the same name. Focusing on the character Phileas Fogg, the 1956 classic starred David Niven and received an Academy Award. The remake's story switched focus to Passepartout, a different character in the book, played by Jackie Chan.

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Unfortunately, Chan couldn't bring the same comedy and energy to the remake. The action scenes were also awkward, with viewers seeing more of the character’s facial expressions than the actual fights. As a result of the mess, the remake earned a nomination for “Worst Remake” at the Razzies.

29. Child’s Play (2019)

Wanna play? Or does Chucky still haunt your dreams? Chucky is probably the last doll you want to take home. After the remake of Child’s Play was announced, many social media users responded with "Ew," "No" or "Who asked for this?"

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The new film’s plot is pretty identical to the original, in which the knife-wielding doll tries to kill his owner, Andy. A lot of people noticed that Chucky’s face got a makeover in the 2019 Child’s Play, and most were curious about the reasoning behind it. In other words, they didn’t seem to like it. Naturally, the original Chucky doll creator (Don Mancini) also dissed the redesign.

28. Pink Panther (2006)

Actor Peter Sellers made quite an impression as Inspector Clouseau in the 1963 Pink Panther. His character created hilarious mayhem purely by accident, and the charm was undeniable. Steven Martin is also a talented comedian but didn’t manage to bring the same energy as Sellers in the Pink Panther reboot.

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The failed remake also features Inspector Clouseau searching for a missing pink diamond. The mess wasn’t entirely Martin’s fault because he was tossed into the ridiculous remake filled with excessive amounts of gags, puns and accents. Critics and audiences found the new tempo and tone unappealing.

27. The Nutty Professor (1996)

The Nutty Professor is a retold story of the 1963 film of the same name. Jerry Lewis starred in the original, portraying a geeky scientist who turns into a ladies' man after drinking a potion. In the remake, Eddie Murphy took over the lead and played an overweight professor.

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Moviegoers disliked the dull jokes as well as the obscenities and vulgarities. Some of them found the fat jokes to be offensive and cruel and didn’t like the concept of using a professor’s weight to create a few cheap laughs here and there. A better written script that didn’t mock a character’s weight might have significantly improved the remake.

26. Christopher Robin (2018)

Christopher Robin isn’t a remake of an actual movie, but it certainly remade the adorable characters living in the Hundred Acre Wood. The film focused on the grown-up Christopher Robin, who returns to the site of his childhood fantasies. Does the plot sound familiar? It should because it was basically a copy of the movie Hook.

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Christopher Robin was thought to be a film for children, so it was confusing that the story centered more on adult themes, like work and war. Some critics found the film charming, but most people believe it’s best to keep Winnie the Pooh and his pals alive in hand-drawn animation.

25. The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

An alien visitor and his destructive robot threaten to destroy Earth if humans don’t get it together in The Day the Earth Stood Still. Both the original and the remake have identical plots, but the 1951 classic centered around the nuclear standoff of the Cold War, while the 2008 film focused on environmental issues caused by humans.

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The environmental theme wasn’t well received. Some reviewers called the movie too "preachy" and "boring." The Day the Earth Stood Still also focused too much on special effects and cheap thrills. Where was the action, character development and suspense? 

24. The Mummy (2017)

The Mummy franchise was rebooted in 2017 with the film of the same name. It included a star-studded cast: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella and Russell Crowe. The monster movie follows a soldier who gets terrorized by an angry Egyptian princess after raiding her ancient tomb and waking her up. (But then, who wouldn’t get mad when someone disturbs your sleep after thousands of years?)

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The Mummy got slammed for its narrative tone, acting and plot. "Meh," "cheesy" and "hot garbage" are just a few words audiences used to describe the chaotic movie. It was the first film to kick off the Dark Universe franchise, and it was a huge disappointment because moviegoers thought the film was hard to follow and messy.

23. Friday the 13th (2009)

Hollywood revived the 1980 slasher film Friday the 13th in 2009. The revived horror movie featured the hockey-masked maniac just like the iconic original. Of course, in the original, Jason Voorhees wasn’t the actual killer, but in the 2009 film, Jason took the lives of teenagers at Camp Crystal Lake, the notorious site of a child’s drowning.

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Everyone was excited to see Jason again in Friday the 13th, but their mood quickly changed after watching the movie. Audiences found the acting and entire movie unimpressive. Was there suspense? No. Scares? Nope. Gore or even laughs? Not at all. Sadly, the new Friday the 13th drowned the horror franchise.

22. Robin Hood (2018)

Robin Hood has been remade too many times and there are a lot of bad versions out there. However, the 2018 film takes the crown for wrecking the famous legend. Despite casting talented actors like Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx, the film received terrible reviews for the plot and pacing.

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The performances were boring and awkward, and the action scenes were poorly edited. For one thing, Robin Hood was filled with annoyingly bad CGI and slow-motion scenes. Adding nothing new to the story, the movie steals two hours of your life, and many reviewers suggest avoiding it.

21. Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Disney’s live-action remake craze started with Alice in Wonderland in 2010. The movie was a visual treat, thanks to Tim Burton, the genius behind Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas. However, it couldn’t measure up to the 1951 animated masterpiece.

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Tim Burton is great with the creepy factor, but he failed to capture the fun of Wonderland. The Alice in Wonderland remake delivered no sense of wonder, joy or curiosity. Mia Wasikowska is a talented actor, but her depiction of Alice was weak, according to reviewers, who claimed she responds to everything with no emotion.

20. Footloose (2011)

The 1984 version of Footloose starred Kevin Bacon and has the same plot as the remake. A teenage boy, Ren, moves into a town where the minister has convinced the citizens to ban loud music and dancing. Ren does everything he can to break the rules and falls in love with the minister’s troubled daughter.

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The original showed off some great choreography and dance moves, while the remake did not. It was a basic cable-quality movie that featured awful acting. In fact, the new Footloose is so cheesy it has everyone rolling their eyes. The pacing was too fast, and the movie felt like it was over before you knew it — which was actually a plus.

19. Bangkok Dangerous (2008)

In 2008, the Pang brothers returned to direct and remake their own 1999 film Bangkok Dangerous. Both films followed a hitman and his killing assignments in Bangkok. The original Thai film was so good it won an award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

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However, the duo couldn’t recreate the same magic for the second film, which starred Nicolas Cage. The boring story and "vile" filming disappointed viewers. In response, Bangkok Dangerous fell victim to a massive amount of negative reviews and a sad 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The remake also crashed and burned at the box office. Ouch!

18. The Wiz (1978)

The Wizard of Oz has remained one of the most iconic films of all time since its release in 1939. It has inspired many sequels and spin-offs featuring Emerald City, Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West. Hollywood recognized the blockbuster potential of the hit Broadway version, The Wiz.

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The Wiz film featured an all-star cast, including Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow. However, the film busted at the box office, becoming a critical and commercial failure. Critics ripped The Wiz to shreds, saying it transitioned unsuccessfully from the stage to the screen and was too scary for children. 

17. Annie (2014)

Annie started as a comic strip that was made into a feature film, followed by many adaptations. The 2014 musical film was considered the most poorly executed. Starring Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhané Wallis, Annie is about a young orphan who gets adopted by a successful businessman.

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Most Annie adaptations take place in the Depression era, but the 2014 remake used modern, 21st century New York as its setting. The backdrop wasn’t the problem, however. Critics called out Annie for its use of clichés, excessive cuteness and "distasteful" materialism.

16. The Stepford Wives (2004)

"I f---ed up…And I didn't follow my instincts," said Frank Oz, the director of the 2004 remake of The Stepford Wives. The original film, made in 1975, and the remake were based on Ira Levin’s novel of the same name.

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Both films have similar plots that revolve around men turning their wives into perfect suburban fembots. Audiences called the original a funny and scary sci-fi film. The remake was none of that, even with a star-studded cast that included Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick and Glenn Close. Rolling Stone said it best: "Buzz of troubles on the set... can't compare to the mess onscreen." Ouch!

15. House of Wax (2005)

The 2005 film House of Wax is actually a remake of a remake. That’s right — the famous 1953 version is based on the 1933 movie Mystery of the Wax Museum. Critics enjoyed mocking the 2005 film, which featured Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, Jared Padalecki and Paris Hilton.

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On Rotten Tomatoes, House of Wax has a painful rating of 25%. Critics also didn’t hold back when it came to slashing Hilton for her lackluster performance. She won a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress, but then she also earned a Teen Choice Award for Best Scream Scene of the year.

14. Fathers' Day (1997)

The 1983 French film Les Compères was reimagined in 1997 as Fathers' Day, starring the funniest men in the comedy world, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal. In both films, a woman makes two men believe they’re the father of her runaway son.

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Despite casting big names in the film, Fathers' Day went up in flames at the box office, becoming a major critical and commercial failure. Chaos and wacky antics were thrown into the film, but none of them were funny, and it has an awful rating of 25% on Rotten Tomatoes.

13. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Director Wes Craven introduced Freddy Krueger, one of the scariest slashers of all time, in 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. Notorious for his gloved hand with razors, burned skin and red-and-green striped sweater, Krueger has haunted the dreams of millions.

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However, if Wes Craven is against a Krueger remake, you know it’s not going to end well. The 2010 version of A Nightmare on Elm Street got burned to a crisp by negative reviews. Audiences didn’t find the film scary or suspenseful, despite its similarity to the original.

12. Conan the Barbarian (2011)

Many fans recognize Jason Momoa for his starring role as Aquaman in the DC Universe and as Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones. However, some don’t know — or want to forget — that he also appeared in the retold story of Conan the Barbarian.

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The original film was made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1982. Unfortunately, Conan the Barbarian didn’t bring Momoa the same amount of fame as Schwarzenegger. In fact, the remake is considered a box office bomb with no potential sequels in the future.

11. Flubber (1997)

You know the story: A professor creates a green, bouncy substance that has a life of its own. Flubber is a reimagination of the 1961 comedy film The Absent-Minded Professor. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 24% rating. Many people dislike the movie because it has plot holes and lacks character development.

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One of the writers for the remake was John Hughes, who also wrote the successful Home Alone series. Of course, Home Alone is known for its comedic thief duo, and, unsurprisingly, viewers saw the same formula in Flubber. As a result, viewers found the Flubber thieves boring and unoriginal.

10. Fame (2009)

Fame is a good example of why some classics are better left alone. Audiences got an inside look into the lives of students at New York's High School of Performing Arts in the 1980's film. As an iconic film with an incredible soundtrack, the original film won two Academy Awards and a Golden Globe, including an Oscar for Best Original Music Score.

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The Fame remake didn’t come anywhere close to creating the same successful drama and soundtrack as the original, even with stars like Naturi Naughton and Kelsey Grammer. Critics heavily slammed the remake, especially Roger Ebert, saying it was "sanitized and dumbed down" for a "hypothetical teen market."

9. Poltergeist (2015)

The remakes...They’re coming! Horror drama Poltergeist was rebooted in 2015 and based off the 1982 original film of the same name. The supernatural horror story is about a family who is terrorized by demonic forces and must save their daughter from child-abducting ghosts.

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On Rotten Tomatoes, the retold story holds a sad rating of 32%, with critics saying the new film added nothing special to the original or the franchise. Shaking their heads in disappointment, reviewers called the remake "okay" and "easily forgettable" due to the limp scares and terrible acting. Apparently, Hollywood didn’t learn its lesson because another remake was announced in April 2019.

8. Gulliver's Travels (2010)

Jonathan Swift’s novel Gulliver's Travels has inspired countless adaptations, from music to films and even an abandoned theme park in Japan. Out of all the film adaptations, the 2010 modern remake ruined Swift’s story the most, earning a dismal 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Despite the star-power of Jack Black, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, Gulliver's Travels was criticized for overusing special effects and ignoring the characters and the story. British magazine Empire described Gulliver's Travels as "a low-grade comedy that'll have Jonathan Swift turning in his grave."

7. The Haunting (1999)

Shirley Jackson's horror novel The Haunting of Hill House has been brought to life in many film and movie adaptations, including an admired Netflix series and this (not so admired) 1999 movie. Starring Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson, The Haunting follows a few participants who sign up for a sleep study at a mansion — but then find out the house is actually haunted.

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Unimpressed critics roasted The Haunting for the weak script, horror clichés and excessive use of special effects. The movie lacked actual horror, and the performances were awkward due to bad casting, consequently receiving a terrible rating of 16% on Rotten Tomatoes.

6. Psycho (1998)

In 1998, moviegoers were disturbed by the Psycho remake (and not in a good way). The film was packed with talented actors, including Vince Vaughn, Julianne Moore, Viggo Mortensen, William H. Macy and Anne Heche. Regardless, it became a critical and commercial failure.

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Psycho was a modern remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film of the same name, and it was actually an exact clone, except for the actors. The 1998 film used the same script, movements, editing and even musical score as the original film. Audiences and critics agreed that the shot-for-shot and line-for-line copy was pointless and seemed more insulting than a tribute.

5. The Wicker Man (2006)

The Wicker Man is supposed to be a mystery drama thriller film, but the remake was met with laughter and boos. The film tells the story of a cop searching for a missing girl on a small island. His investigation leads him to realize the community is hiding an evil secret.

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Mainly a remake of the 1973 British film with the same name, The Wicker Man failed at the box office and flopped financially. It was plagued by weak acting, terrible screenwriting and massive plot holes. Although most people just want to put this terrible movie behind them, the bee scene is still a viral internet meme.

4. The Shaggy Dog (2006)

Disney tried recreating the magic of the 1959 live-action film The Shaggy Dog with a remake in 2006, but it backfired miserably. The original film is about a boy who turns into a sheepdog at the most inconvenient times, making audiences slap their knees in laughter.

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The 2006 remake replaced the boy with a man (Tim Allen), and it had quite the opposite effect. Audiences found The Shaggy Dog uninspiring and unoriginal. It garnered so many bad reviews that it has a "Rotten" rating of 26%. Children may be pleased with the movie, but many adults are annoyed.

3. Swept Away (2002)

Swept Away is the film that almost ruined Madonna’s career.(Wait? Did she actually have a successful movie career?) Maybe you’re thinking it couldn’t have been that bad, but, yes, it was a disaster. Not only was Swept Away a box office bomb, but it is also considered one of the worst films ever made, thanks to five Razzie Award nominations.

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The remake is based on Lina Wertmüller's 1974 Italian film of the same name. Critics mocked Madonna and said she can't act, but the movie’s failure wasn’t entirely Madonna’s fault. In truth, the film tried to incorporate too many genres, and viewers couldn’t tell if it was really a comedy, drama or romance. Consequently, Swept Away has a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

2. The Fog (2005)

John Carpenter's 1980 film The Fog terrified audiences enough to inspire a 2006 remake. The supernatural horror film follows a weird fog that covers an island town. Spooky enough but then the fog actually turns out to be a bunch of ghosts that trap and fight the locals.

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Starring Tom Welling, Selma Blair and Maggie Grace, The Fog remake was instantly dissed for the boring characters, lack of originality and few scares. Would you still watch it, knowing it has a low rating of 4% on Rotten Tomatoes? Probably not.

1. Rollerball (2002)

Rollerball is another almost-career killer but this time for American Pie’s Chris Klein. Based on the 1975 science-fiction film of the same name, Rollerball took place in a modern-day setting and featured a violent, bloody sport that sometimes turned deadly.

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Critics trashed Rollerball with many negative reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a crumbling 3% rating, partially for being an "awful mess" that was "too violent." Audiences scratched their heads trying to figure out the story because it made no sense. What was the plot or the point? No one knows. (Insert shrug emoji here.)