7 Recession-Friendly Reboots

Franchise reboots are nifty for studios because, as well as the chance to make the plot better / actors prettier than the original, it means they can save a bit of money during the production.

Just send all the costumes to the dry cleaners, change the name on the back of the director’s chair and they’re already halfway there.

But what about those massively expensive movies? In these times of financial obliteration, how much money could be saved with a thrifty redux?

1. Waterworld (1995)

Budget (approx)? $175,000,000

Where did all the money go ?

Making a film in the middle of the sea is like trying to do an oil painting in a sand storm.

Costner and co. had to take loads and loads of electronics out into the ocean (which isn’t the best idea), make it all waterproof and buoyant, then figure out a way to not to make the audience seasick as the actors bob up and down.

On top of that, they built a floating ‘atoll’ and had to create a smorgasbord of Swiss Family Robinson-style gadgets and weapons. Towel costs alone must have gone into the millions.

Reboot on the cheap

Film it over the summer holidays at Brockwell Lido. Use the kids on school break as extras and use the pool’s Crazy Swim sessions to film the action sequences.

Tie floats together to make the floating base and cut costs by paying the teenage lifeguard £30 to replace Kevin Costner as the lead.[page-break]

2. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)

Budget (approx)? $300,000,000

Where did all the money go?

Well if you will just use A-list celebrities for the main cast, as well as The Monarch of Debauchery, Keith Richards, you’re going to have to fork out some serious dosh for the privilege.

Also, luscious outfits, CGI armies of the undead, gorgeous locations and fresh fruit don’t grow on trees. Well, the fruit does...

Oh yeah, and why not chuck a couple of full-size galleon-ship sets into the budget while we’re feeling saucy?

Reboot on the cheap

Relocate the entire shoot to Center Parcs, where both dense vegetation and water are available.

Pick up homeless people from under motorway bridges en route. Choose the 2nd craziest to play Jack, the prettiest to play Will Turner and chuck a dress on a broom for Elizabeth Swan.

As for all the action, replace any explosions with campy falling-down bits performed by the homeless Jack (use cooking sherry to boost performance).[page-break]

3. Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Budget (approx)? $258,000,000

Where did all the money go?

Computer geeks are making out like bandits thanks to Hollywood going ga-ga for CGI, and it’s films like Spiderman 3 that keep them in diamond-encrusted calculators.

You want a black Spiderman? That’ll be $24,230,000 dollars. You want a fight scene? That runs at $349,000 every 8 seconds.

Err, how much for him to lie motionless on his back delivering a monologue about the futility of crime? Oh, we have to get a specialist from Japan for that. It'll cost ya...

Reboot on the cheap

Remake the move as a film noir, where all you see of Spidey are his eyes, peering from the shadows as the police arrive at the scene of his battles after the action has transpired.

Do it in black and white and make Venom’s costume with Pritt Stick and a bin bag cut into ribbons.[page-break]

4. Titanic (1997)

Budget (approx)?

Where did all the money go?

The usual suspects: filming in water, arse-loads of CGI and Leonardo Di Caprio’s haircut.

Plus there’s all that detail to the interior of the world’s largest floating coffin and adding all those little computerised puffs of cold air when everyone’s bobbing around in the sea at the end...

Couldn’t they have just, we don’t know, made it colder in there? We’d happily take a bout of flu for $12,000,000.

Reboot on the cheap

Rather than having her memories made real by a live action re-enactment, just have the old lady ramble on about the horrific ordeal with the aid of a PowerPoint slideshow presentation, with JPEGs, statistics and sound files to help punctuate her recounting of the event.

Personally, we’d find a tragically thin wedge on a pie chart labelled ‘survivors’ far more harrowing than a 3-hour sink-fest.[page-break]

5. Wall-E (2008)

Budget (approx)? $180,000,000

Where did all the money go?

Computers, obviously. Being an entirely ‘in-computer’ film, the price is only ever going to go up. You aren’t going to get given a bag of pixels for free by a computer company to thank you for previous business, are you?

Also we’re pretty sure if Woody Allen had creative property of his awkward-yet-charming mannerisms, the cost would have been bumped up significantly by a hefty lawsuit.

Reboot on the cheap

Make a gritty, real-life version using stop-motion animation and stuff you find in a dump.

Substitute Wall-E for a skip and have him fall in love with an old fridge. Have some students vandalise the fridge to create a tear-jerking moment and have the final scene featuring the two of them, rotting away together in the corner of a council estate. Aaaah...[page-break]

6. King Kong (2005)

Budget (approx)? $207,000,000

Where did all the money go?

A gigantic bloody monkey, that’s where! Peter Jackson and his mates had to make absolutely sure ol' Kong's body hair ruffled naturally when he was juggling commuters.

Do you know the physics that are involved when you have a big fat ape punching a bridge’s brains out? No, but the guy who does made loads of money from inputting the right numbers into his computer.

Reboot on the cheap

Get a bag full of Lego men and Micro Machines, go to London Zoo’s gorilla enclosure, give the alpha silverback the bag and flick an elastic band on his scrotum.

Film the carnage and then paint a peanut to look like Naomi Watts and watch them fall in love. Get the caretaker to shoot the ape with a tranquiliser dart to simulate Kong's final plummet into oblivion.[page-break]

7. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

Budget (approx)? $200,000,000

Where did all the money go?

It literally went up in flames. Boooom! = $35,000. KABLOOOOW!! = $179,000. Ratatatatata = $350 per syllable.

That is, sodding great big explosions, robots, stunts, fire crews and paramedics.

The computer-wranglers obviously had a role to play (are you sensing a pattern here?), but at least someone got their eyebrows singed during this production.

Reboot on the cheap

Spray-paint some miniature skeleton toys silver, tie fishing wire to them, set fire to a box of fireworks and drag the models through all the fizzing and banging whilst playing Wagner on a ghetto blaster.

To save on voiceovers get a mate to download the Arnold Schwarzenegger soundboard onto his laptop and randomly prod buttons during filming.

Pete Armstrong

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