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Image: Footloose remake
Paramount Pictures
They're gonna cut loose, "Footloose," kick off their Sunday shoes.
TODAY contributor
updated 9/9/2011 3:05:37 PM ET 2011-09-09T19:05:37

So, after a summer stuffed with sequels, prequels, reboots and retreads, you thought the fall movie season would be totally new and different? Wrong.

This is Hollywood we’re talking about, where familiar properties always leap to the top of the development list. Get ready for another round of déjà vu at the multiplex. The weather may be cooler, but pre-sold plotlines remain as hot as ever.

'Straw Dogs' (Sept. 16)
The original:
Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 drama was about a meek American (Dustin Hoffman) who takes up arms when he and his British wife (Susan George) are attacked in the English countryside by thuggish locals. Still considered a pioneering film for its brutal presentation of screen violence, and a controversial rape scene.

The remake: Critic-turned-director Rod Lurie transplants the action to the American South, with wimpy James Marsden standing up to Alexander Skarsgård in defense of Kate Bosworth.

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Worth seeing? The trailer seems to promise plenty of sweat and suspense, and while Lurie is no Peckinpah, there’s a chance that this version will at least be trashy and entertaining, if not the classic that the original one has become.

Video: Watch the 'Straw Dogs' trailer (on this page)

'Footloose' (Oct. 14)
The original:
A beloved, white-bread 1984 dance musical about a funky city boy (Kevin Bacon) who moves to a small town where the powerful local clergyman (John Lithgow) has banned dancing and rock music. Probably the last dance musical that could operate in a hip-hop–free zone.

The remake: This time the rural setting prompts a country-fried soundtrack, which will include boot-scootin’ covers of hit songs from the original (the title song, “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” etc.) as well as some new tunes for stars Kenny Wormald and “Dancing With the Stars” vet Julianne Hough to shimmy to.

Worth seeing? Gen X-ers (and Gen Y-ers) who grew up on the original may not cotton to a new version, but kids who never slow-danced to “Almost Paradise” at their prom might embrace this 2011 retread, if the filmmakers can recapture that same cornball magic.

Video: Watch the 'Footloose' trailer

'The Thing' (Oct. 14)
The original: First there was 1951’s “The Thing from Another World,” about scientists and Air Force personnel battling a vicious alien creature at an arctic base. And then John Carpenter put his own bloody, terrifying spin on the material in 1982’s “The Thing.”

The remake: Well, it’s not quite the 31 years that lapsed between the first two versions, but close enough. This time, Mary Elizabeth Winstead leads a parka-clad cast against an extraterrestrial that can assume the shape of any living thing.

Worth seeing? Both previous versions have fervent cult followings, so this new “Thing” has big snowshoes to fill. And the shots of Winstead in the trailer prompt memories of Kate Beckinsale in “Whiteout” — and that’s not a good thing.

Video: Watch 'The Thing' trailer

'The Three Musketeers' (Oct. 14)
The original: IMDb lists dozens of previous adaptations of the Alexandre Dumas classic, but the best known ones in this country are probably the 1993 version (which starred Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland and Chris O’Donnell), the boisterous 1973 Richard Lester action-comedy with Michael York and Faye Dunaway, and the swashbuckling Gene Kelly vehicle from 1948.

The remake: Each generation apparently deserves its own Musketeers, since this property gets hauled out every few decades for a retooling. This time out, we get an international cast (including Orlando Bloom, Juno Temple, Luke Evans, Milla Jovovich and Christoph Waltz) crossing swords.

Worth seeing? The track record of director Paul W.S. Anderson (“Alien vs. Predator,” the “Resident Evil” movies) doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Rent the 1973 version instead.

Video: Watch 'The Three Musketeers' trailer

'Puss in Boots' (Nov. 4)
The original: The suave kitty cat voiced by Antonio Banderas in the “Shrek” series gets his own franchise.

The remake: This prequel, also featuring Salma Hayek as Kitty Softpaws and Zach Galifianakis as Humpty Dumpty, follows the feline on one of his pre-“Shrek” adventures.

Worth seeing? Banderas’ Puss in Boots was a scene-stealer in small doses; it will be interesting to see if he can carry a whole movie on his furry little back.

Video: Watch the 'Puss in Boots' trailer

'The Muppets' (Nov. 23)
The original:
These TV stars hit the big screen with 1979’s “The Muppet Movie” and then clowned their way through several more features.

The remake: Jason Segel (who worked a bizarre puppet musical into “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) stars in and co-wrote this all-new, eagerly anticipated comedy

Worth seeing? The want-to-see factor on this one is off the charts, and Disney keeps stoking audience interest with viral parody trailers and music videos. So let’s hope they don’t mess it up.

Video: Watch 'The Muppets' trailer

'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' (Dec. 9)
The original: A seven-part 1979 miniseries, starring Alec Guinness as John le Carré’s veteran espionage agent George Smiley. This multiple award-winner (and Emmy nominee) is still considered one of the all-time great TV events and a stunning adaptation of a popular book.

The remake: Gary Oldman steps into Smiley’s shoes in a new adaptation directed by Tomas Alfredson (“Let the Right One In”). Set amidst the grimness of the Cold War, Smiley is called out of retirement to flush out a Soviet agent who has infiltrated MI6.

Worth seeing? Advance buzz has been exceedingly favorable, with many prognosticators saying this could be the movie that finally gets Gary Oldman (who’s never even been nominated before, mind you) his first Oscar.

Story: Piranha, mad surgeons and more offer movie scares

'New Year’s Eve' (Dec. 9)
The original: Director Garry Marshall packed theaters in February 2010 with "Valentine's Day," another perfectly timed ensemble comedy featuring an all-star cast grappling with the vagaries of love. Critics rightly hated it, but the movie had a huge opening weekend before word-of-mouth got out.

The remake: Marshall and his “Valentine’s” screenwriter Katherine Fugate set out to fool us twice by using the same formula on a different holiday. This time, his cast includes Ashton Kutcher, Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sarah Jessica Parker, Hilary Swank, Josh Duhamel, Sofia Vergara and Lea Michele, to name just a few.

Worth seeing? If it’s as wretched as the contrived and unfunny “Valentine’s Day,” then no thanks.

Video: Watch the "New Year's Eve" trailer

'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' (Dec. 21)
The original: Niels Arden Oplev’s 2009 Swedish-language screen adaptation of the international best-seller by Stieg Larsson was a mammoth hit overseas, made a rising star out of leading lady Noomi Rapace, and grossed a respectable $10 million in the subtitles-averse United States.

The remake: For the millions of people who loved the book but refuse to see movies not in English, David Fincher feels your pain. His take on the material, adapted by screenwriter Steven Zaillian (“Schindler’s List”), stars Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig.

Worth seeing?: On the heels of “Se7en” and “Zodiac,” nobody does police procedurals like Fincher. And the sleeper success of “The Help” bodes well for movie versions of popular books. One caveat: The last time Craig starred in what was supposed to be the first chapter of a trilogy based on best-selling novels, it was “The Golden Compass.”

Video: Craig 'shocked' by violence in 'Tattoo'

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Video: Watch the 'Straw Dogs' trailer

Photos: September movies

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  1. 'Apollo 18'

    Stars: Lloyd Owen, Warren Christie

    Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 2

    Think there wasn't an "Apollo 18" lunar mission? Think again. Decades-old found footage from the supposed secret expedition reveals the reason the U.S. has never returned to the moon. Hint: Didja see "Alien"? (The Weinstein Company) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. 'The Debt'

    Stars: Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington and Tom Wilkinson

    Director: John Madden

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 2

    "The Debt" begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (Mirren) and Stefan (Wilkinson) about their former colleague David. The group supposedly tracked down a Nazi war criminal in 1966 -- or did they? (Miramax Films) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. 'Shark Night 3D'

    Stars: Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan and Alyssa Diaz

    Director: David R. Ellis

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 2

    The title, "Sharl Night 3D," says it all. But sharks in a freshwater lake? Hollywood will do anything to get the blood, bikinis and severed limbs flying in 3-D. (Relativity Media) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. 'A Good Old Fashioned Orgy'

    Stars: Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Bibb and Tyler Labine

    Directors: Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 2

    In "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy," Jason Sudeikis and pals have partied for years at his dad's beach house. But when dad (Don Johnson) announces he's selling the place, his son decides it's time for the ultimate party. (Samuel Goldwyn Films) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. 'Contagion'

    Stars: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and Jude Law

    Director: Steven Soderbergh

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 9

    Have your face masks ready -- you'll want one after seeing "Contagion." The action thriller follows people trying to survive a lethal virus. Big stars abound, and it sure looks like from promos that things don't go well for Gwyneth Paltrow. (Warner Bros) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. 'Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star'

    Stars: Nick Swardson, Don Johnson and Christina Ricci

    Director: Tom Brady

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 9

    "Bucky Larson" is a kid from the Midwest who moves out to Hollywood in order to follow in his parents footsteps -- which for him, means becoming a porn star. (Columbia Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. 'Warrior'

    Stars: Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte and Joel Edgerton

    Director: Gavin O'Connor

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 9

    In "Warrior," two estranged brothers face the fight of a lifetime. Nick Nolte plays their alcoholic dad, who trains one to eventually land in the ring against the other in a mixed martial-arts tournament. (Chuck Zlotnick) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. 'Straw Dogs'

    Stars: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth and Alexander Skarsgard

    Director: Rod Lurie

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 16

    "Straw Dogs" is a remake of the 1971 Dustin Hoffman thriller, infamous for its controversial rape scene. L.A. screenwriter David Sumner relocates with his wife to her hometown in the deep South. There, while tensions build between them, a brewing conflict with locals becomes a threat to them both. (Screen Gems) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. 'I Don't Know How She Does It'

    Stars: Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan and Kelsey Grammer

    Director: Douglas McGrath

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 16

    "I Don't Know How She Does It" is a comedy centered on the life of Kate Reddy (Parker), a finance executive who is the breadwinner for her husband and two kids. Based on the best-selling novel. (The Weinstein Company) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. 'Drive'

    Stars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Bryan Cranston

    Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 16

    In "Drive," Gosling plays a Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman. After a heist goes wrong, he discovers that a contract has been put on his life. (Richard Foreman Jr Smpsp / FilmDistrict) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. 'Moneyball'

    Stars: Brad Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright and Jonah Hill

    Director: Bennett Miller

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 23

    Brad Pitt stars as Oakland A's manager Billy Beane in "Moneyball," based on Michael Lewis' book. The focus is on Beane's attempt to create a competitive team despite Oakland's unfavorable financial situation. (Columbia Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. 'Abduction'

    Stars: Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins and Alfred Molina

    Director: John Singleton

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 23

    In "Abduction," Taylor Lautner plays a young man who sets out to uncover the truth about his life after finding his baby photo on a missing persons website. (Lionsgate) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. 'Dolphin Tale'

    Stars: Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr.

    Director: Charles Martin Smith

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 23

    IThe 3-D film "Dolphin Tale" is is inspired by the true story of a bottlenose dolphin named Winter who lost her tail in a crab trap. Her human friends work frantically to create a prosthetic so she can still swim. (Warner Bros.) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. 'Dream House'

    Stars: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts

    Director: Jim Sheridan

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 30

    The beautiful home in "Dream House" is more of a nightmare. Soon after moving in, a family learns that a mother and her children were brutally murdered there. (Universal Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. '50/50'

    Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick

    Director: Jonathan Levine

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 30

    "50/50" is a comedic account of a 27-year-old man's cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease. (Summit Entertainment) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. 'Killer Elite'

    Stars: Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro

    Director: Gary McKendry

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 30

    Action film "Killer Elite" focuses on a retired member of Britain's Elite Special Air Service (Jason Statham) who is forced into action when his mentor (Robert De Niro) is taken hostage. His mission: kill three assassins dispatched by their cunning leader (Clive Owen). (Open Road Films) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. 'What's Your Number?'

    Stars: Anna Faris, Chris Pratt and Chris Evans

    Director: Mark Mylod

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 30

    "What's Your Number?" refers to the number of men a woman has slept with. Anna Faris plays Ally, a woman whose number is 20, as she looks back at those men wondering if any of them are her true love. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
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