10 Movie Franchises That Could Use a Reboot (And How to Make Them Better The Second Time)

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Tony Todd in Candyman (1992) Movie Image

Why Reboot It? 1992’s “Candyman” scared the hell out of me when I first saw it in theaters. Of course, it’s since lost much of its power over time, but that’s true for most horror franchises you’re introduced to as a kid/teenager. But the character, I think, still has a lot of potential for exploration, with its combination of urban legend and a dark part of America’s past instrumental in the creation of the character. Talk about troubled psyche!

Ways to Make it Better The Second Time Around: As with most rebooted franchises on this list, “Candyman” would benefit from the ubiquitous presence of the World Wide Web that has us all interconnected, where meme and viral videos can spread like wildfire. Now imagine the story of Candyman, spreading through social media, Youtube videos, etc. It could be what the recent “A Nightmare on Elm Street” reboot tried to do — only more successfully. Well, that goes without saying, doesn’t it?


Angus Scrimm in Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994) Movie Image

Why Reboot It? It’s the cult horror franchise that hasn’t really gotten its due, but definitely deserves wider acclaim. The creation of writer/director Don Coscarelli, the franchise seemed to lose its way with each subsequent sequel, and for a while there seemed to be treading water instead of actually getting to a point. (There was a point, right?) A complete reboot could condense Coscarelli’s ideas into a more coherent, winning approach. Let’s face it; Coscarelli spent four movies doing something that wouldn’t necessarily take four movies. Two, at the most.

Ways to Make it Better The Second Time Around: As big a fan as I am of the “Phantasm” films, even I have to admit that they could have used bigger budgets. A reboot of a cult favorite franchise would provide that needed injection of funds, and with Coscarelli also back as writer/director, there’s no reason why a reboot of the franchise couldn’t be the same story — only newer and more improved. And let’s face it, Angus Scrimm ain’t getting any younger. Of course, Coscarelli has to come back. Without him, mind as well not bother.


Michael Ironside in Scanners (1981) Movie Image

Why Reboot It? This is a personal favorite. Why reboot it? Just cause I’d really, really like to see a contemporary take on the series about psychics doing battle. I’m a big fan of comic book/superhero movies, and while the “Scanners” franchise was never that exactly, it had plenty of rad superpowered battles that could benefit from today’s special effects. Plus, the exploding heads. Don’t forget about the exploding heads. The franchise got subsequently silly after a while, with titles like “Scanner Cop” and “Scanner Cop II”, so it can only go up from there, right?

Ways to Make it Better The Second Time Around: Combine the “Government conspiracy” element of the original entries with the “Bourne” films, and you’ve got Bourne 2.0 — with superpowers. Think about it: Jason Bourne running around with not only wicked fighting skills, but also the ability to explode your head with a thought. It would be mind-blowing. Literally.


Michael Dudikoff in American Ninja (1985) Movie Image

Why Reboot It? It started in 1985, the story of a white guy who somehow ended up a master ninja, who then used his skills to fight … other ninjas. The film came out during the big ninja fad of the ’80s, and was 100% a product of its time. Schlocky, cheesy as all get-out, but one hell of a good time. The action was over-the-top, but the franchise benefited from Michael Dudikoff, who knew actual martial arts. It’s time “American Ninja” got a face-lift, don’t you think? After all, there must be some evil ninjas out there plotting world domination or some such…

Ways to Make it Better The Second Time Around: Go gritty. Ditch the colorful ninja costumes and anything involving ninjas wearing anything other than black. It should be a down-to-Earth, balls-to-the-wall ninja movie, similar to 2009’s excellent “Ninja Assassin”. Combine that with a Hollywood/White leading man like in the original, and you have an instant hit with the boys. Add an Asian megastar in a co-starring role, and you’ve got an Asian hit on your hands, too. And No, Taylor Lautner must not be allowed anywhere near this reboot. EVER.


Nick Stahl in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) Movie Image

Why Reboot It? This is going to piss off all the Arnold Schwarzenegger fans out there, but it can’t be helped: He’s too old, and so is the franchise. They tried to continue the story of John Connor in McG’s “Terminator Salvation”, but only ended up deconstructing the character into a shell of what he should be. The man who was once a mythical hero of humankind, but in “Salvation”, he became a generic soldier played by Christian Bale. You can’t continue from there — but you can go back and start all over again, with a completely new angle on the character.

Ways to Make it Better The Second Time Around: The TV show “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” had it kind of right. The problem with that show was in the title, though. Sarah Connor is interesting and all, but she’s not what the franchise is about. A rebooted “Terminator” movie should be about a young John Connor living “off the grid”, similar to the Nick Stahl version in “Terminator: Rise of the Machines”. That was one of the few things that film did right — it presented a 20-something John Connor trying to scrape by, desperate to avoid any entanglements for fear of being found by Skynet. A rebooted “Terminator” centered around that character, as he attempts to survive while constantly being hounded by Terminators from the future, would be different and appeal to a younger audience bred on constant Internet connection. And oh, no more Arnold Schwarzenegger. Look, it’s just not plausible to keep him around any longer, okay? I don’t care how big a fan of his you are, you just have to accept that.

So there you have it. Ten movie franchises that we think could use a reboot. Thoughts? Suggestions of your own? Angry cries of sacrilege? Let’s hear’em.

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