Movie Article

Extreme Makeovers

The movie classics Hollywood is making over. From ''Chocolate Factory'' to ''The Pink Panther'' the flicks that are getting nips and tucks

Nicole Kidman, The Stepford Wives (Movie - 2004) | MERRY 'WIVES' 2004's ''Stepford'' version
MERRY 'WIVES' 2004's ''Stepford'' version

Yes, there was on-set rancor, last-minute reshoots, and weeks of negative press before its release. But perhaps the biggest hurdle that ''The Stepford Wives'' had to overcome was its pedigree: It's another friggin' remake!

While the practice is nothing new in Hollywood, movie studios seem to be suffering from a sweaty case of remake fever -- but it may soon break. ''Stepford'' may have scored a respectable opening ($21.4 million), but tepid reviews and dismal CinemaScores are likely to make it difficult for Paramount to recoup its investment. A retelling of 1956 Oscar winner ''Around the World in 80 Days'' opened June 16, and on July 30 a redo of the 1962 political thriller ''The Manchurian Candidate'' rolls out with Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington stepping in for Angela Lansbury and Frank Sinatra.

Has Hollywood run out of ideas? No way, says screenwriter Paul Rudnick, who turned ''Stepford'', a creepy B movie, into a post–women's lib black comedy. ''I would hope that audiences wouldn't want simply a duplicate,'' he says. ''You want to surprise them.''

But not too much: Recent horror reduxes ''The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'' and ''Dawn of the Dead'' stayed true to their predecessors' gory spirit, grossing a healthy $80 million and $59 million, respectively. Hollywood never frowns on box office success; thus, development rosters around town drip with titles both classic (''Harvey,'' ''The Seven Samurai'') and not so (''Porky's,'' ''The Shaggy Dog''). Here's a look at some high-profile two-timers in the works:

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