"Titans" First in Series of '80s Film Remakes

In this film publicity image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Sam Worthington portrays Perseus in a scene from "Clash of the Titans." (AP Photo/Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, Jay Maidment)
AP Photo/Warner Bros.
"Clash of the Titans" writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi understandably are excited about their movie arriving in theaters Friday. But to really get them going, mention the "Red Dawn" remake coming later this year.

"I love that movie," Hay says of the 1984 Cold War adventure flick where Colorado high school students use guerrilla warfare to stave off a Soviet invasion of America. "Everyone from my generation loves 'Red Dawn.' It's really ripe for a remake."

These days, it seems any movie that came out during the 1980s is ripe for a remake. "Clash of the Titans" and "Red Dawn" are but two of a significant number of '80s-related films Hollywood will bring to theaters in coming months.

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Joining their ranks are Disney's mega-budget "Tron" sequel starring Jeff Bridges; reboots of "The Karate Kid," "Predator" and "Nightmare on Elm Street" franchises; a follow-up to Oliver Stone's "Wall Street" and the Sylvester Stallone-directed "The Expendables," an '80s-style, men-on-a-mission movie teaming Stallone with other action stars of his vintage.

"It's crazy, man," Bridges says. "You almost want to look around and make sure people still have their cell phones and laptops. It's like going back in time."

You mean, like stepping into a "Hot Tub Time Machine?" The nostalgia-infused, gross-out comedy "Time Machine," which opened last weekend, uses the '80s as a punch line, taking its heroes back to a decade heavy on the legwarmers, mullets and primary colors.

"Anyone who wants to know why the '80s are a joke need only look at the fashions in our movie," "Hot Tub" director Steve Pink says.

But if the '80s are a joke, it's a quip studio executives and filmmakers are now eager to share with moviegoers. Chalk it up to the fact that the people who grew up watching Freddy Krueger and Mr. Miyagi are now in a position to green-light the movies they loved as children.

"Certainly, there's a fondness for that culture for those who come of age with it, and now we want to share it," says Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad.

In addition to "The Karate Kid," Belgrad, 44, and Columbia co-president Matt Tolmach, 45, are developing sequels and reboots to such 1980s properties as "Ghostbusters," "21 Jump Street" and "The Smurfs." 20th Century Fox will release a feature film based on the '80s action-adventure TV series "The A-Team" this year.

"Grown-ups are always looking for movies they could share with their kids," Belgrad adds.

With "The Karate Kid," he notes, Will Smith took that idea a step further, suggesting remaking one of his favorite childhood movies with his 11-year-old son, Jaden, as its star. The new "Karate Kid," due in June, shifts the action to Beijing, attempting to add a dash of culture clash to the familiar story.