The Most Mid Movies to Ever Be Remade

Why remake a movie that made critics say ‘meh’?
The Most Mid Movies to Ever Be Remade

The only question one can ask is “Why?” Why remake a movie that made critics say “meh” and elicited little more than a yawn from audiences? For whatever reason, producers have insisted on making modern versions of movie mediocrity — and often, with better results. Here are some of the most mid movies to ever get the remake treatment…

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Zero Hour!


No one who came across Zero Hour! on middle-of-the-night cable television would ever have dreamed that there would one day be another version. Not unless they knew the Zucker brothers and their friend Jim Abraham. “Zero Hour! was intensely serious and unintentionally hilarious,” says Jerry Zucker in Surely, You Can’t Be Serious: The True Story of Airplane! But the movie did have “a very well-constructed plot. You could actually use it to teach film structure. What a gift!” 

Zucker's Airplane! is more of a remake of Zero Hour! than you might imagine, with the filmmakers using actual lines of dialogue and nearly all the plot from the original. “All we had to do,” says Zucker, “was add the jokes.”

Ocean's 11


“Easygoing but lazy” is Rotten Tomatoes’ summation of the 1960 version of Ocean's 11, a vanity project that allowed Frank Sinatra to hang out with his Rat Pack pals on the studio’s dime. It coasts on the charisma of Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and the gang, but that “barely trying” quality is exactly what makes it mid. It’s not entirely surprising that George Clooney wanted to remake it in 2001 as a way to hang with his version of cool actor pals, only Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon did it better.

The Little Shop of Horrors


1960 also saw the debut of The Little Shop of Horrors, a black comedy from B-movie maestro Roger Corman. The cheap special effects are laughable, and most audience members at the time saw it as one more terrible drive-in horror movie. But wouldn’t it be funny, an enterprising playwright thought, to set all of the cartoonish gore to music? Little Shop of Horrors got its first remake as an off-off-Broadway musical, graduated to a five-year off-Broadway run, and then became a movie once again starring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. It’s an unlikely journey that almost resulted in another 2020 remake featuring Scarlett Johansson as Audrey. Pesky pandemic. 

The Wizard of Oz


Before Judy Garland traveled over the rainbow, there was a silent, 1925 telling of The Wizard of OzMovie critic Dennis Schwartz summed up his reaction: “Terrible version of The Wizard of Oz that’s filmed as a heavy-handed slapstick comedy.” You might not recognize this telling of the tale, featuring a toymaker who reads Dorothy’s story to his young granddaughter. The film makes up myriad characters who will be completely unfamiliar to anyone who’s seen the Garland version or who read the L. Frank Baum books for that matter. Why silent comedy star Larry Semon decided to invent all those ancillary characters, we’ll never know — but thank goodness this one was remade into the timeless classic.

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