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.
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.
'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.
'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.
'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.
'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.
'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.
'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.
'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.
'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.”