The Remake Watch: ‘Big Valley’ edition


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It’s almost impossible to scroll through showbiz news on the Web, or, God forbid, pick up a copy of Variety without reading the news of yet another remake or update or reboot of some old movie or TV show. (I just wrote the other day about New Line’s ‘new’ version of its 1980s ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ horror series.)

It’s gotten to the point where it’s almost too generous to say that Hollywood has run out of new ideas. In point of fact, Hollywood seems actively uninterested in -- and allergic to -- new ideas. As a number of screenwriters have told me in recent months, studio executives appear to genuinely prefer old, easily recognized (and to use their parlance) ‘brandable’ ideas to anything that might vaguely smack of freshness or unfamiliarity.


Hence ‘The Remake Watch,’ which will allow us to dissect the latest announcement of some cobwebby film or TV show that you never imagined in your wildest dreams that anyone would possibly want to ever revive:

The Story: Variety is reporting that the 1960s TV western ‘The Big Valley’ is being remade as an indie feature by filmmakers Daniel Adams and Kate Edelman Johnson -- or as Variety put it: ‘ ‘The Big Valley’ is headed to a much bigger screen.’ The film, being bankrolled by a pair of independent financing entities, is slated to start in April in New Mexico and Michigan, with Adams directing.

What The Story Tells You: Johnson, who is presumably a producer on the project, is the daughter of Louis Edelman, the co-creator of the original TV series, which ran from 1964 to 1969 on ABC, and launched the careers of Lee Majors and Linda Evans.

What the Story Doesn’t Tell You: The director’s most recent film, ‘The Golden Boys,’ had such a limited release last year that it made only $183,841 at the box office. His previous film, 1997’s ‘The Mouse,’ did not have a theatrical release.

What You Can Read Between the Lines: In a throwaway sentence, Variety notes that ‘roles have not yet been cast.’ Translation: It must’ve been an awfully slow news day in trade-land, since without any stars on board, this movie is still a long way from actually happening.

Odds Of Ever Playing In a Multiplex Near You: 12%. If you’re over 50, you might remember seeing ‘The Big Valley’ as a kid, but old westerns are pretty low on the must-see pecking order, so it’s certainly not an A-list title. That’s especially true in an era where studio distributors view Westerns as having even less commercial potential than wrestling movies. Unless Adams and Johnson miraculously land a couple of big stars, this project -- if made -- seems destined to appear at a video store near you.