Film Flops I Have Seen (2)

I am continuing this series of film flops with this completely unnecessary remake, from 2004. As a child, I went to see John Wayne starring in ‘The Alamo’, in 1960. It was a more-or-less factual account of the famous defence of the Alamo Mission in 1836, against the superior Mexican forces led by Generalissimo Santa Anna.

For some reason best known to themselves, Touchstone Pictures, and producer Ron Howard, decided to do a by-the-numbers remake, 44 years later.

They scraped together a decent, if far from stellar cast, including Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Quaid in the main roles. Both leading men had been in far better films, and it is fair to say that both were in the autumn of their film careers. It is also fair to say that the ‘target market’ for such a film had already seen the 1960 original, probably many times. And like me, they undoubtedly retained a fondness for it. Besides that, it was on TV all the time, dirt cheap on DVD, and there was zero demand for it to be remade.

From anyone, anywhere.

Disney refused Howard’s over-optimistic budget, and the original cast members Russell Crowe and Ethan Hawke left during the financial arguments. The director insisted on complete historical authenticity, and many details were changed from the John Wayne version. Deciding on presenting a ‘serious’ view of the Alamo battle proved to be the film’s undoing.

The critics didn’t like it. The public didn’t like it. Too much detail, too much talking, and action sequences that were not as exciting and involving as the 1960 film. With the critical panning, the audiences stayed away in droves. It wasn’t 1960 anymore, and they had all seen bigger and better historical blockbusters. Then there was that John Wayne original. It was undeniably a better film. More stirring, more involving, and overall more exciting.

The film lost a fortune. It cost $107,000,000 to make, and took less than $23,000,000 worldwide, including DVD sales.
That left it at number six, of the all-time film flops.

I watched the film the year after its US release, and can only agree with the critics, and the public. Another pointless remake.

Will they ever learn? I suspect the answer is “No”.

25 thoughts on “Film Flops I Have Seen (2)

  1. It’s baffling isn’t it? I know you generally do not like remakes (that’s an understatement, ha!) but, from my point of view, the original wasn’t a very good film to begin with. Did Ron Howard like the film in the first place? It doesn’t seem like it. Did he take an inferior film and make it better? Nope. I like this series of original vs. remake, Pete.
    –Pam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This series is about ‘flops’, Pam. The first film featured was ‘The Cotton Club’. It won’t always be remakes. I enjoyed the original because I was only 8 years old, and it had a lot of action. ๐Ÿ™‚
      It is not a ‘great film’, but this 2004 version is a lot worse.
      Nice to see you back.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t seen John Wayne’s “The Alamo” since I was a kid, but I’ve been to the Alamo twice as an adult, once in 1995, and again in 2010. One of the Alamo’s well-known defenders was Thomas R. Miller, a friend of David Crockett, and a community leader in Gonzales, Texas. Oral tradition in the Miller family states that he has a place in our family tree, and there is a lot of evidence to back it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I completely forgot about this film, Pete – and for good reason. Let’s see, the basic plot is some people are massacred in a small building….while I understand how it has some mystique here in the US, that is mostly because John Wayne defended it, NOT Billy Bob Thornton! What a massive loss – oh, and other recent remakes of films like “Papillon” and “Robin Hood” also bombed and vanished without a trace…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Ron Howard butI didnโ€™t see the point of a remake of this so I never bothered to see it. This is quite timely Pete. The CEO of Sony Pictures has remarked that pitches have been made by โ€œvery famous peopleโ€ to remake The Princess Bride. My favorite response so far is from Cary Elwes (channeling his character Wesley) who tweeted โ€œThere is a shortage of perfect movies in this world. It would be a pity to damage this one.โ€

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I never understood the Psycho remake. It was a shot for shot remake with worse acting. Money would have been better spent just colorizing the original, though I think the deep contrasts of the black and white would have still won out. Who honestly tries to outdo Hitchcock?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think you hit the nail on the head when you say “It is also fair to say that the โ€˜target marketโ€™ for such a film had already seen the 1960 original, probably many times.” The producers of the remake must have thought the exact opposite, that a younger audience who hadn’t seen the original, would lap it up. A very expensive mistake to make, and a rare misfire for Ron Howard, who’s usually pretty savvy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post!

    I think that a remake is only worth the effort if the original movie was bad but there was a good idea behind it. Nowadays, though, Hollywood producers think that simply remaking good/famous/beloved/cult movies is enough to make money, and I find this approach very stupid!

    Liked by 1 person

All comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.