Piranha 3D: Is There A Horror Movie They Won’t Remake?

piranha-posterIt’s a serious question, is there a horror movie that won’t be remade? You’d figure there would be some¬† movies so revered that no one would attempt a remake, but we’ve gotten recent remakes of Halloween and Friday the 13th, two of the most iconic modern horror movies. Not to mention Psycho, Dawn of the Dead, The Omen, etc.

You’d also figure there would be movies that gained a little notoriety by ripping off the plot of a famous horror movie that wouldn’t really be worth the effort to remake. Logically, you’re right. Practically, you’re wrong.

My Bloody Valentine was a ripoff of any random slasher movie that came before it, but that didn’t stop Lionsgate from jumping in on a remake, and in 3D no less. So far, Bloody Valentine has a worldwide box office of $71.8 million. Combine that with the $15 million budget and you’ve got yourself what movie studios call a winning formula.

So it is both with little understanding or surprise to hear that Piranha is going to be remade. If you couldn’t tell by the poster, Piranha was simply a ripoff of Jaws. It was just another of Roger Corman’s nondescript, over-the-top horror movies. It’s better than most since it had a capable director (Joe Dante), capable writer (John Sayles), and some great people working on the special effects (Rob Bottin and Phil Tippett). It was a weak concept that was elevated by the talents of the filmmakers.

I liked High Tension and all, but Alexandre Aja is no Joe Dante or John Sayles. Aja must be like the horror remake go-to guy, seeing that this is his third in a row. Maybe he has just enough talent and low enough salary demands that he hits a low-budget sweet spot. And Elisabeth Shue made a good babysitter, but casting her as the sheriff goes a bit far. No, much too far.

And the solution to making this bottom-dwelling remake work is to 3D-ify it. How much could be made on a straight remake of Piranha? Black Christmas was a reasonably obscure movie, and the 2006 remake made $21 million. The aforementioned My Bloody Valentine was also reasonably obscure, but the 3D remake is over $70 million. Valentine opened on the largest number of 3D screens at the time, and an estimated 80% of the movie’s opening weekend box office came from the 3D showings, about $17 million, leaving $4 million for the 2D presentation. As a 2D only movie, Black Christmas made almost $4 million it’s opening weekend.

What does that mean? Audiences are hungry for 3D and will shell out money to see anything. Studios know this and are more than willing to throw out anything for people to see. Hence, Piranha 3D. If they’re already scraping the bottom of the barrel this early in digital 3D’s life-cycle, how long will it be before they start turning out 3D horror movies you’ve never heard of? My guess: too soon.

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