For whatever reason, Hollywood loves a good remake to stir up a fanbase and draw in a box office.
To be fair, it's not an unwritten rule that all movie remakes are always inferior to the original. However, the fact that Hollywood studios often use the concept of a remake to simply re-wrap and re-deliver the same old stories as new means most movie remakes are pointless.
It's rare for a remake to deserve its time in theaters. Perhaps it has something different to say, using a similar premise to take audiences in a new direction. Or maybe it improves on the original with deeper characters and more complex dynamics.
But given that most movie remakes happen for classics that are well-loved and well-received, they tend to fail. At best, they're unable to capture the magic of the original; at worst, they're simply terrible.
Of all the bad Hollywood movie remakes, which ones were the worst? Which ones were clearly cash grabs made solely to rake in revenue without any semblance of creative magic?
Here are our picks for the worst Hollywood movie remakes of all time and how they missed the mark so badly.
8. The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
Casting Keanu Reeves as an alien trying to understand the value of human life sounds like it could actually be a good move in theory. The beloved Hollywood star isn't known for his emotional range, which would make him playing an alien a good fit and subtly meta.
But when The Day the Earth Stood Still released, it became clear that this remake's execution wasn't up to snuff. In fact, the whole thing hopelessly started falling apart early on in the film.
Not only does the dialogue sound like the final edit was completed by an aspirational 50-year-old who'd never read a script before, Scott Derrickson's overall direction is all over the place.
But the biggest problem? It struggles to strike an emotional chord. The film tries too hard to make a statement on human life, resulting in it whacking us over the head with zero subtlety.
7. The Mummy (2017)
The odd thing about Tom Cruise's The Mummy is that the cast's performances aren't entirely awful.
The film is a rare misstep for the usually dependable Cruise, but even in this complete swing-and-a-miss of a movie, he still gives it his all. Sofia Boutella, too, delivers a performance that deserved a much better movie around her, as she successfully comes across as a lethal villain.
With that said, just about everything else in The Mummy was a complete mess. Dialogue and tonal problems aside, it tried to build an expansive world, but the end result wasn't exciting in any way.
And Russell Crowe, in the role of Dr. Henry Jekyll, inexplicably gives his best impression of Tom Hardy as Alfie Solomons. In the end, the movie failed miserably on nearly all fronts.
6. Robocop (2014)
In trying to remake Robocop for a new age and audience, the studio only managed to make the original look worse.
There's very little to like about the Robocop remake. The ensemble cast is wasted on a downright shoddy narrative, and the action sequences have very little pep—as if concocted by a disgruntled choreographer watching his son repeatedly attack a Barbie with an Action Man.
The result was a disaster for all involved, with the actors walking away and saying as little as they possibly could about the film, quietly pocketing the paycheck and moving on to better opportunities.
5. The Lion King (2019)
The saddest thing about Jon Favreau's The Lion King is how much the world looked forward to his interpretation of the remake. The use of photorealistic animals and the voice cast of Disney's dreams felt like we were headed for something special—then, it released in theaters.
It's easier to ask what went right with the remake of The Lion King than what went wrong, because the weight of all the negative aspects could be measured in critical ink.
The effects were brilliant, nobody disputes that. But the dialogue was mostly lifted from the original or written by a child who'd just watched it. Even Donald Glover fell apart as his vocals gave an odd monotone that felt wildly out of place. All in all, it was unforgivably dull.
4. The Shining (1997)
Stanley Kubrick's The Shining didn't please Stephen King one bit, who felt that his book had not come across well in the legendary filmmaker's adaptation. So, Stephen King set out to make something more faithful.
It came in the form of a TV miniseries. Of course, it'd be unfair to say that Stephen King's The Shining miniseries remake is wholly terrible. But compared to Kubrick's classic? It has no leg to stand on.
Everything that made Kubrick's slow-burning original a masterpiece of modern horror is ignored in the remake. Instead, we got a close representation of King's work that couldn't find its feet.
Any time a book is adapted to movie or television, a certain amount of creative deviation is needed to fit the new medium. King learned that lesson when he tried to produce something better than Kubrick's.
3. The Wolfman (2010)
The Wolfman had a lot of promise, and that kind of anticipation is what hurt the most when audiences finally got to see the film.
With a cast led by Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, and Anthony Hopkins, the look of the film from a pre-release perspective was exciting. However, the finished product was an overblown piece of turgid cinema that failed to become anything more than a borderline parody of the original.
The performances suffered from moronic dialogue and a weak narrative throughline, as the three acclaimed actors were reduced to meandering lines and nonsensical character decisions.
Seeing Benicio Del Toro as the titular Wolfman should have been one of modern cinema's most fun castings, but it ended up as a metaphor for overblown hubris—and another reason to be wary of remakes.
2. The Ladykillers (2004)
Though the Coen Brothers' remake of the British comedy fails in every way to be as good as the original, that doesn't mean it doesn't have merit as a movie on its own. Tom Hanks in the leading role is fun, and the cast follow his lead by bringing a sense of dastardly humor to the film.
However, the original The Ladykillers still looms over it like a specter, as though the force ghost of Alec Guinness was still present.
The Coen Brothers made a rare camel in their attempt to put their own unique twist on the original, seemingly pushing for it to be less interesting and more filled with slapstick humor.
For this, the film suffers badly and has no weight when measured against the masterpiece original—which is a shame, because it could have proven to be quite special under different circumstances.
1. Psycho (1998)
Remaking any celebrated film is generally a bad idea, but it's really bad when you decide to go shot-for-shot. The only thing that could make it worse is when you think you can remake one of the most legendary films ever... like Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.
In the case of Gus Van Sant's Psycho, it's hard to imagine what anybody was thinking when they thought that a direct shot-for-shot remake of the film was anywhere near a good idea.
And the cherry on top? Vince Vaughn in the role of Norman Bates. That just feels like a producer had met Vaughn while out all night in Hollywood, high on a combination of power and high-grade cocaine.
Nothing makes the film watchable because why would anyone want to watch a remake when you can just watch the masterpiece original? It's a question that must still keep Van Sant awake at night.