'Footloose' may fizzle, but 'Police Academy' star is pro-reboot
"Footloose" landed awkwardly at the box office this week, and plenty of 1980s comedies have taken their lumps in their 21st century guises (see "Arthur," "Fright Night"). But can other Reagan-era hits make a more successful return?
Steve Guttenberg, who starred in an inordinate number of them, says he believes they can. And, he says, Hollywood should believe it too.
Guttenberg, who headlined the "Police Academy," '3 Men and a Baby" and "Short Circuit" franchises (combined box office: $570 million) feels those movies would find an audience quickly if they came out now. "They're shoo-ins for $40-, 50-million [opening] weekends," he told 24 Frames about reboots of these titles.
New installments in all three franchises are in development at Hollywood studios -- Disney has "Three Men and a Bride," New Line is working on a "Police Academy" reboot and Dimension Films is moving forward with a new "Short Circuit." The idea, of course, is that an older audience will go to these films for nostalgic reasons, while a younger crowd will discover them for themselves, especially if they feature hot young stars.
Whether that logic is enough to overcome the prevailing mood remains to be seen. It didn't exactly apply to "Footloose" -- with a $15.6-million opening, the movie is on track to take in only about half the total of the 1984 original, and in 2011 dollars, no less. (Incidentally, if you're wondering what Guttenberg is up to, he's back on Broadway in "Relatively Speaking," a play co-written by Woody Allen.)
Of the three Guttenberg franchises, it's "Circuit" that may have the best shot of getting to the screen. This summer, Dimension Films hired director Tim Hill ("Hop") to offer a new take on the robot comedy, and a person familiar with the project said producers had contacted Fisher Stevens about reprising his role as eccentric Indian scientist Ben Jabituya. (Stevens was said to be open to it, although the character's political incorrectness may require a modern update.)
Don't necessarily expect to see Guttenberg in that one, though. He's been involved with the new "Police Academy" as it's been developed, but producers on "Short Circuit" have, he says, left him out of the process. Asked about the film's development, Guttenberg said, "I would do things differently," and then invoked a metaphor to describe how he felt:
"What happens in Hollywood sometimes is that you hear about a party, but the guy throwing it didn't call you. And you're like 'That's my best friend; why didn't he call me?' And then what happens is that they call you the day before the party and say, 'We meant to invite you.' And you're like, 'Dude, really?'"
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Steve Guttenberg and Ally Sheedy in "Short Circuit." Credit: TriStar Pictures.