Newsbites: Remakes, sequels, McD’s, G’s

Here are some of the more interesting stories that came up today.

1. Wolfgang Petersen just can’t stay out of the water. Following Das Boot (1981) and The Perfect Storm (2000), he is now working on a remake of The Poseidon Adventure (1972). The Hollywood Reporter says the film will star Kurt Russell as an ex-fireman (not the same character he played in 1991’s Backdraft, I assume), disaster-movie veteran Emmy Rossum (The Day After Tomorrow) as his daughter, Andre Braugher as the ship’s captain, and Richard Dreyfuss as “a gay man whose relationship breaks up just before departure.” No word on whether anyone will be playing a doubting priest, a la the Gene Hackman character in the original film.

2. CNN and the Dow Jones Newswire are following up a Wall Street Journal story, reprinted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, to the effect that McDonald’s intends to “play the field” once its exclusive ten-year contract with Disney expires next year. The contract was forged at a time when Disney had just come off its “renaissance” — the period between 1989’s The Little Mermaid and 1994’s The Lion King, which was the top-grossing cartoon of all time for several years — but since then, Disney has had a string of flops (though the failure of at least one of these, 2002’s Treasure Planet, was blamed at the time partly on the fact that Disney was locked into a certain release date because of its deal with the fast food chain). McD’s is now looking at forging ties with Pixar, whose Finding Nemo (2003) broke the record set by The Lion King, and DreamWorks, whose Shrek 2 (2004) currently holds that record.

3. I saw Sixteen Candles (1984) for the first time last year while preparing for my interview in The Big V. Gadzooks, what a relic of that era it is (you couldn’t get away with two f-words or eroticized nudity in a PG-rated movie, or with calling someone a “fag”, these days). But now comes news, via the Associated Press, that Molly Ringwald is in talks to make a sequel. The story doesn’t say who she’s talking with, though. I’m not sure whether it would be a good thing or not if writer-director John Hughes were involved, given how happy he became to make pure dreck following the success of Home Alone (1990). But let’s just say that, as far as movies that pick up the lives of other movies’ characters a decade or two later go, I’m not holding out any hope for a success on the level of, say, The Barbarian Invasions (2003) or Before Sunset (2004).

4. Reuters and the Associated Press both have stories on the Dove Foundation‘s release of yet another survey claiming that G-rated movies are more profitable than R-rated movies. I’m sure there’s any number of ways to spin these numbers and the calculations that produced them, so make of them what you will.

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