24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Footloose

Box office: 'Footloose' just misses No. 1; 'Big Year' flops [Video]

October 17, 2011 |  2:13 pm

The Big Year flopped at the box office this weekend
"Footloose" was expected to top the box office this weekend, but in a somewhat surprising turn of events, "Real Steel" claimed the No. 1 spot again.

For the second weekend in a row, the Hugh Jackman action flick climbed to the top of the charts, grossing $16.3 million, according to Walt Disney Pictures on Monday. A remake of the classic '80s dance flick "Footloose," meanwhile, came up short with $15.6 million.

But arguably the bigger story this weekend was the failure of "The Big Year," 20th Century Fox's comedy starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson. Despite boasting three top-level comedians, the movie failed to attract audiences and only sold $3.3 million worth of tickets, making it one of the biggest flops of the year.

In this week's box-office video report, I discuss how the "Footloose" remake stacks up to the original, and why "The Big Year" proved to be such a tough sell.


Movie review: 'The Big Year'

'Footloose' star Kenny Wormald on fame and humility

'Real Steel' rules box office ring, 'Footloose' close behind

--Amy Kaufman


Photo: (From left) Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack Black star in "The Big Year." Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Footloose:' The '80's are dead. Long live the '80's.

October 17, 2011 |  8:00 am

The original "Footloose." Its 2011 remake pulled in $16.1 million at the box office.
Seasons, like paychecks and Republican presidential front-runners, come and go. But some things remain constant. Like '80s remakes. And, specifically, their power to make us yawn.

This weekend saw the moviegoing public shrug off two more retreads, a revival of a 1984 Kevin Bacon classic and a prequel of a 1982 John Carpenter cult hit. "Footloose," that Bacon revival, pulled in $16.1 million -- not a terrible number, but considering how heavily the movie was marketed, not exactly auspicious, either. Results for "The Thing" looked more grisly -- the movie eked out only $8.7 million.

The films join a long list of '80s reboots that have yielded lackluster results: "Fright Night," "Conan," "The A-Team," "Arthur."

But whilem any specific '80s titles have failed, the ethos of that decade actually remains alive in some of moviedom's most popular films.

In "Drive," the well-reviewed art-house piece that has established a loyal fan base, Nicolas Winding Refn channels the spirit of "Miami Vice" and other pastel-colored entertainment. Throwback action movies such as "The Expendables' and "Fast Five," meanwhile, have turned into the biggest hits of the last couple of years. "Footloose" may have struggled, but its spiritual descendants, the "Step Up" films, has blossomed into one of the hottest teen franchises of the last few years.

And this summer J.J Abrams looked to the movies of the 1980s, like "Stand by Me" and "The Goonies," in creating his coming-of-age adventure "Super 8." The film went on to become a huge global hit.

There are good reasons we're looking back to the movies of several decades ago: There were some storytelling values to that period, for one thing, and there are only have so many stories to tell.

Even a contemporary director such as Jason Reitman, one of the more original-minded filmmakers out there, said he felt the ghosts of decades past when he gets behind the camera. "In a strange way, I always feel like I'm doing a remake," he told 24 Frames in an interview last week. "I mean, 'Thank You for Smoking' was 'Jerry Maguire' if Jerry sold cigarettes."

In a new column, my colleague Patrick Goldstein takes a look at why so many producers these days choose to resurrect the past, offering the theory that platforms such as Netflix and YouTube make a new generation more willing to accept older stories. "With a century of culture just a click away on any computer, young consumers have become the ultimate archivists, just as willing to embrace familiarity as innovation," he said.

In that sense, Hollywood is giving us what we want with these throwback pieces -- films that remind us of stories we've heard before. It's just that we prefer they don't remind us so explicitly.


"Real Steel" shimmies past "Footloose" for No. 1

Has "Footloose" been given a conservative makeover?

Is Hollywood's mania for remakes spinning out of control?

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: The original "Footloose." Credit: Paramount Pictures

'Footloose' star Kenny Wormald on fame and humility

October 17, 2011 |  4:00 am

Kenny Wormald plays Ren McCormack in the Footloose remake
Kenny Wormald has spent most of the last decade in the shadows of fame, dancing behind Madonna and Justin Timberlake in music videos or on tours. So when the native of Stoughton, Mass., landed the lead role in Paramount Pictures’ remake of the classic ’80s dance flick “Footloose,” he thought he’d arrived.

In reality, though, getting the part was the beginning of an exercise in humility. First came the realization that he wasn’t the first choice to play rebellious Ren McCormack, whom Kevin Bacon brought to life in the 1984 original: Producers initially wanted Zac Efron, then riding high off the success of the “High School Musical” films. But Efron dropped out and was replaced by “Gossip Girl” star Chace Crawford — but he also quit, citing scheduling conflicts.

Wormald got the part only after a weeks-long audition process — during which he was put through acting boot camp with director Craig Brewer to prove he could do more than just dance. Then came more acting lessons during rehearsal. With many months between the end of filming and the movie’s arrival in theaters, he’s struggled to accept his lack of public recognition.

“This summer, I was at an MTV award show, and Selena Gomez was in front of me on the red carpet,” recalled Wormald, 27. “Everyone’s like, ‘Selena! Selena!’ I wait a couple of minutes until she moves over, and then I get on the stage and all of the camera guys just have their lenses follow her. It was a great, humbling moment.”

To familiarize the public with Wormald and costar Julianne Hough — also a dancer — Paramount sent the two on a 12-city tour. And they recently appeared together on “Dancing With the Stars,” where Hough had performed for years.

Continue reading »

Has 'Footloose' been given a conservative makeover?

October 14, 2011 |  9:21 pm


Watching the original "Footloose” again, it's striking just how flippant the film is toward religion. If the late Herbert Ross’ 1984 dance-themed movie about an outsider who shakes up a small town doesn’t show outright animus toward conservative values, it hardly goes out of its way to embrace them, either.

But that's not exactly true for Craig Brewer's film. What's striking about the director’s new take on Ren McCormack is how many of those rough edges have been sanded off. It’s probably a stretch to say the new "Footloose," which stars Julianne Hough and newcomer Kenny Wormald, panders to the religious right. But the movie fits a heck of a lot more comfortably in Rick Perry's America.

If that seems like the musings of film bloggers with too much time on their hands, just take Rev. Shaw Moore, the preacher who serves as the film's dance-hating, fun-killing bad guy. In the Dean Pitchford-penned original, John Lithgow incarnates Moore as a fire and brimstone tyrant, someone who fulminates that rock 'n' roll is a pestilence and calls dancing pornography. (His strict views only soften at the end of the film – but even then, only because his hands are tied.)
Dennis Quaid's Moore, by comparison, is a teddy bear. Sure, he offers up some strict sermons and doesn't like dancing. But he's basically a decent guy who has some misguided ideas.

Continue reading »

The week in film: 'Hugo' and 'Footloose'

October 14, 2011 |  3:42 pm

It's been a week of realigning the old with the new. Director Craig Brewer takes on his favorite movie from the 1980s in his revival approach to redoing "Footloose," while veteran helmer Martin Scorsese seems to successfully tackle 3-D in his upcoming kid flick "Hugo."

Nicole Sperling and Steven Zeitchik discuss the first screening of Scorsese's "Hugo" at the New York Film Festival where the auteur's mastery of 3-D was lauded by critics. In the hands of an accomplished filmmaker, does 3-D have a better chance at a resurgence? And what are the commercial prospects for "Footloose," a remake of a popular film, one that doesn't feel all that different from the original?



Craig Brewer: Keeping it 'Footloose'

Scorsese's unfinished 'Hugo' shows 3-D's promise for NYFF crowd

Photo: The remade "Footloose." Photo credit: K.C. Bailey/Paramount Pictures.


'Footloose' shows familiar steps (and missteps), critics say

October 14, 2011 |  2:07 pm


If there's one thing film critics agree on regarding the "Footloose" remake, directed by Craig Brewer ("Hustle & Flow") and starring Kenny Wormald in the role Kevin Bacon made famous in 1984, it's that the movie is very, very similar to the original. Whether that's good or a bad might depend on how you feel about the first film.

The Times' Kenneth Turan notes that entire scenes, lines of dialogue and iconic objects are lifted from the 1984 version and says the new "Footloose" is "not so much a remake as a renovation." Turan writes, "That means that the clothes are tighter, the bodies more toned, the dancing hotter, the characters more racially diverse, the sexual context more obvious. But underneath it all still beats the shameless heart of a by-the-numbers diversion that acts as if these particular dots have never been connected before."

Continue reading »

'Footloose' trailer hits: Ren McCormack is reborn

June 22, 2011 |  3:15 pm

The 1980s have been kind to Hollywood as of late. Sony Pictures scored big with "The Karate Kid" and Warner Bros. had enough success with "Clash of the Titans" to greenlight a sequel. Paramount is now hoping that nostalgia for the decade of acid-washed jeans and big hair still reigns supreme in October when the studio unveils Craig Brewer's ("Hustle & Flow") faithful adaptation of 1984's "Footloose" -- the film that launched Kevin Bacon's career.

Brewer, best known for his music-soaked films, stayed very true to the original film. The director, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things "Footloose," made it clear that he's trying to recreate the cult classic and has strayed little from the Dean Pitchford film. He's even throwing in Deniece Williams'  "Let's Hear it for the Boy" and other original tunes in the updated flick.

The big question is whether or not fans of the original want to see "Footloose" redone and if new, younger audiences will find the remake fresh enough to buy movie tickets. Clearly, as you can tell by the trailer, featured below, Paramount is looking for both audiences. We'll have to wait till October to see if the film is more "Karate Kid" and less "Fame," MGM's ill-fated remake that failed to connect with moviegoers.

 --Nicole Sperling

Will 'Footloose' hit the Dekker?

May 27, 2010 |  2:42 pm

EXCLUSIVE: There's been almost as much song-and-dance over the casting for the new "Footloose" as there is in the movie itself.

With "Gossip Girl" star Chace Crawford out, the search is on once again for the lead role, with one name emerging as a top candidate: Thomas Dekker.

The 22-year-old actor, who came to prominence on both "Heroes" and "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," has been making a nice film run lately. He most recently starred both in the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" remake and is coming off a strong showing in the well-received Cannes movie "Kaboom." (Plus he's got the "Footloose"-ready hair.)

Dekker would be taking on the role of Ren McCormack, a part first pioneered by Kevin Bacon as the dance-happy outsider who shakes up a conservative small town. Zac Efron had previously been attached but dropped out when he decided to go in a less musical direction in his career.

Crawford was an appealing choice given his growing appeal among teens, but as a TV star, his commitments are numerous, and Paramount wants to get going on the movie. With both actor and director shifts (Craig Brewer has come on to replace Kenny Ortega behind the camera), the film's already pushed back its start date from the spring. Dekker may be a way to keep the music playing.

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Thomas Dekker at the "Kaboom" premiere. Credit: Valery Hache / AFP/Getty Images

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