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Category: Red Dawn

'Red Dawn' remake to come out next year from FilmDistrict

September 26, 2011 | 12:28 pm

Photo: A scene from the original "Red Dawn" in 1984. Credit: MGM / United Artists.

This post has been corrected. Please see note at the bottom for details.

A remake of the invasion movie "Red Dawn" — with its villains now digitally modified from Chinese to North Korean — will finally hit American shores next year.

The new version of the Reagan-era classic will be released in the U.S. by independent studio FilmDistrict, according to people familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly. FilmDistrict is finalizing a deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio that produced the movie in 2009.

In the original "Red Dawn," a group of teenagers in a Colorado town battle invading Soviet forces; in the remake, the invaders were changed to Chinese. But that decision turned the film into a hot potato.

After MGM emerged from bankruptcy in late 2009 and decided it wouldn’t release the movie, no other studio wanted to touch “Red Dawn” for fear of offending the government of China, a hugely important market in the increasingly global film business.

As a result, the movie’s producers last winter used digital technology and creative editing to change most of the invaders to North Koreans. (Staunchly communist North Korea is economically isolated and not a market for any American products.) Still, it took most of the year to find a distributor willing to take the movie on.

FilmDistrict Chief Executive Peter Schlessel declined to discuss “Red Dawn.” Given that final details are still being worked out, however, it likely won’t hit theaters until 2012.

The new “Red Dawn” cost about $60 million to produce. It stars Chris Hemsworth, who played the title character in “Thor,” and was directed by Dan Bradley, second unit director on the last two “Bourne” movies and the upcoming “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.”

FilmDistrict, which is backed by finance and production company GK Films, launched in April with the horror hit “Insidious." Its most recent release is the Ryan Gosling L.A. noir film, “Drive.”

[For the Record, Sept. 28, 2:15 p.m.: An early version of this post incorrectly said the teenagers in the original film who battled invading Soviet forces lived in Washington. ]

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Photo: A scene from the original "Red Dawn" in 1984. Credit: MGM / United Artists.


Original 'Red Dawn' director takes aim at the remake

March 26, 2010 | 11:40 am

Re
Filmgoers who go see MGM's "Hot Tub Time Machine" this weekend will catch several references to "Red Dawn," the 1984 Cold War action film that MGM is remaking.

But ask John Milius, who directed and co-wrote the original, what he thinks of that remake and the answer is simple.

Not much. 

"I think it’s a stupid thing to do. The movie is not very old," says Milius, who’s not involved in the new film  but was given a chance to read the new script. "It was terrible. There was a strange feeling to the whole thing. They were fans of the movie so they put in stuff they thought was neat. It’s all about neat action scenes, and has nothing to do with story."

In the original film, the Soviet Union has invaded the continental United States, and a group of young men and women (Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey) band together as a guerrilla group, nicknamed the Wolverines, to fight off the occupiers.  In the 2010 edition, directed by Dan Bradley and starring Chris Hemsworth and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the villains are the Chinese.

While the new baddies might tap into American fears about a rising China, to Milius it makes little political sense. “There’s only one example in 4,000 years of Chinese territorial adventurism, and that was in 1979, when they invaded Vietnam, and to put it mildly they got their [butts] handed to them,“ says Milius, noting that China built a wall to separate itself from invaders. “Why would China want us? They sell us stuff. We’re a market. I would have done it about Mexico."

“Red Dawn” isn’t the only Milius film getting a new treatment. Marcus Nispel (“Friday the 13th") is making a new “Conan,” a retelling of the mythology that Milius explored in the 1982 film “Conan the Barbarian,” which launched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career.  But Milius is not too psyched about "Conan" either -- or remakes in general. “No one wants their movie remade, especially when the movies take on a life of their own," he says.

--Rachel Abramowit

Photo: "Red Dawn." Credit: MGM

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