In this time of endless remakes and reboots the question often is brought up: how much time should pass between the original and the remake. If it’s too soon many fans may cry foul, as happened to some extent with “The Amazing Spider-Man.” It seems like 20 years is the new magic number when it comes to an acceptable time frame for remakes and reboots. The 1980s are fair game and now films from the early 1990s are getting the remake treatment as well. The latest one to get the treatment will be the 1991 Disney film “The Rocketeer.”
Vulture.com has learned that Disney has started putting in motion a remake and the studio is beginning to meet with potential writers. The choice of this particular property seems a bit strange at first. “The Rocketeer” was not a hit at the time of its release and never really took off on home video either. There are certain fans of the film but for most movie goers who remember it at all the entire thing was little more than a blip on the radar.
However in a way this actually makes it ideal remake fodder. When it comes to Disney remaking or rebooting its films the studio has an inherent problem: most of its best films are considered timeless classics. It really is out of the question to remake a film that is still held in high esteem and sells well on video, which is the case with so much of Disney’s back catalog. So it makes sense to turn to the ideas that had potential but for whatever reason didn’t quite work the first time around. The name will still have a certain amount of recognition but nobody is going to claim that the studio is desecrating a classic.
“The Rocketeer” actually bears a close resemblance to a number of recent superhero films from Marvel, which Disney now owns. Like “Iron Man” it deals with a man in a metal mask who has the ability to fly thanks to advanced technology, a rocket pack in this case. And like “Captain America: The First Avenger” it is a period superhero movie set in the WWII era, and both were in fact directed by Joe Johnston. The success of both of those films probably had more than a little to do with the choice to remake this particular film.
Lately the Disney brand itself has been losing steam in the entertainment world. The various companies it owns, such as Marvel and Pixar, are flourishing but the flagship company isn’t the go-to destination for family films it once was. It looks like the recently appointed studio chief Alan Horn may be trying to turn that around. Having an action franchise under the Disney banner itself certainly wouldn’t hurt.