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Remake of Ben Hur.


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#1 John Holland

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Posted 15 August 2015 - 04:48 PM

I have just watched my Blu-Ray copy of the 1959 Ben Hur shot in Camera 65 [ Ultra Panavision 70 ] Anyone out there can tell why me on earth a remake is at this time being made now in Rome ? 


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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 15 August 2015 - 04:59 PM

Directed by a Russian producer who's last film was complete trash "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter".

:sigh: It's unfortunate people are unwilling to fund original ideas anymore.
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#3 cole t parzenn

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Posted 15 August 2015 - 05:14 PM

The 1959 "Ben Hur" is the third "Ben Hur." Well, the third "Ben Hur" film - the original "Ben Hur" is a book.


Edited by cole t parzenn, 15 August 2015 - 05:14 PM.

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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 03:31 PM

On that point, one of my favorite films "My Darling Clementine" (John Ford, 1946) is a remake of "Frontier Marshall" (Allan Dwan, 1939), which in turn is a remake of "Frontier Marshal" (Lewis Seiler, 1934). So it's important to remember that Hollywood has been cannibalizing it's own back catalogue for a very long time. At least they waited over 55 years this time!


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#5 Mark Dunn

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 04:25 AM

After half a century, maybe. But Total Recall? After 20 years? Barmy. Still, it's a generation on. They only waited 7 years to remake Seven Samurai after all.


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#6 John Holland

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 04:44 AM

I suppose my point was why remake very good films no matter how old they are ,over the last few years there have been so many remakes of great films that turn out so much worse than the original. If they have to do a remake pick a film that wasn't as good as it should have been and try and improve it ! For gods sake The Magnificent Seven is in production now !


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#7 Mark Sperry

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 11:59 AM

Ben Hur is old enough to be a good candidate I think.  A competent film maker could do a lot with what we have to offer these days.  I'm 31 years old and I've never see the 1959 version, a huge amount of people are in the same boat.  Short making a big re-release hullabaloo they're not going to.  Plays go on Broadway more than once, Shakespear is constantly re-interpreted.  Almost anything is fair game IMO.  I thought it was a lot dumber to re-make Willy Wonka when the original is so good, and so iconic.  The original The Thing is great, as is the remake IMO!  Depends on what you're making.  I just watched Rosemary's Baby and personally I wouldn't mind seeing that story told through a modern perspective, and I would get to enjoy both!  It's all in the execution.


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#8 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 01:30 PM

I'm 31 years old and I've never see the 1959 version, a huge amount of people are in the same boat.


Which is very, very, very sad since it's one of the best movies ever made, was made at the height of the widescreen "technology" driven era. Studio's were working over time to get people back into the theaters. So they made some amazing epic films that would cost us $300M - $500M to make today. The stunts are real, there is no green screen, the sets physically existed and the imagery is unbelievably powerful. If more younger people saw some of these classic movies, they may push away from our modern green screen crap because it's so sensationalist, so over the top. 'Ben Hur' isn't over the top, it's realistic and that's just one of the many reason's it's such a great film.

I mean, I'm "young" and I've seen 'Ben Hur' a lot. If you do anything in hollywood, seeing these classic films is a pre-requisite! Download the AFI 100 list and watch every single film on there. You'll be entertained, educated and understand the reasoning why a lot of our modern films are crap.
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#9 John Holland

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 02:01 PM

I support 100% what Tyler says ! Get off your arse and look what has been made in the past and maybe learn something !!


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#10 Mark Dunn

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 02:28 PM

The stunts are real, there is no green screen,

None to speak of. Unfortunately there's a bit on the raft after the sea battle with Judah and Arrius. Not Bob Surtees' finest hour.

The soppy ending tends to knock it down a few notches below  El Cid in my book.

It's still a must-see and should be in everybody's top 50. What a restoration that would be in 70mm.


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#11 Mark Sperry

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 09:22 AM

Guys, I love film, I've seen a lot of films.  Just haven't seen Ben Hur yet.  As a person that is posting right now on cinematography forums it's pretty likely that I'm going to get around to it.  My broader point was that LOTS of people haven't, and they're also not commenting on this forum, or really giving a poop about much of anything that isn't right in front of them.  With that in mind, I'm saying that there is room to make a new version.  I'm also idealistic enough to think that they could do it without making 300 part 3.  No reason it can't look great.  No reason it can't be even shot on 70mm!  Yeesh.


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#12 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 02:16 PM

My broader point was that LOTS of people haven't


Sure and most of those people aren't trying to be filmmakers.

Most modern audiences would find 'Ben Hur' boring because there is substantial meaningful dialog throughout which requires paying attention and the film is pretty long. Today's blockbusters are made by committee, carefully tailored to include certain aspects in order to make money and trimmed to a short length to promote more screenings per day.
 

With that in mind, I'm saying that there is room to make a new version.


What about the hundreds of thousands of scrips out there, most of which are new/unique ideas, that are waiting for someone to produce? Filmmakers today would rather re-make something that's been made over and over again, then tell a NEW story! Filmmakers today are so scared, they're only making "safe" remakes, very little unique/new material. 'Ben Hur' is a poor choice as a remake because to do it right, would cost too much money. So it's going to be another green screen affair where everything in the frame is made in a computer. I don't know about you, but when I go to see a live action film, I expect live action, not animation.
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#13 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 02:37 PM

I don't have a problem with remakes if they're old. Gives a new generation a chance to become familiar with great stories that they would never have sought out otherwise. It's like theatre - you can set up and re-imagine Othello as many times as you want. I, for instance, have for decades hoped they'd rediscover the old Alistair MacLean films and remade them. I'd love to see remakes of Where Eagles Dare, Guns of Navarone, Ice Station Zebra etc.

 

When I do have a problem is when they remake Point Break etc. Films that aren't that old. Not only that, it's one of the best films of its era and a true classic - why remake it now? Wait another 20 years at least.


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#14 Jay Young

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 03:02 PM

Most modern audiences would find 'Ben Hur' boring because there is substantial meaningful dialog throughout which requires paying attention and the film is pretty long.
  'Ben Hur' is a poor choice as a remake because to do it right, would cost too much money. So it's going to be another green screen affair where everything in the frame is made in a computer. I don't know about you, but when I go to see a live action film, I expect live action, not animation.

 

Hear, Hear!


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#15 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 04:12 PM

Gives a new generation a chance to become familiar with great stories that they would never have sought out otherwise.


You mean it's an excuse for people not to watch older movies.

If the original film is good or in this case, one of the most iconic pieces of cinema, the studio only needs to re-release it in the theaters. A) It costs a lot less money. B) People would go to see it. C) It will show the world that re-makes aren't important.

Sure, there are MANY older films which suck (unrecognized as a consequence) and re-making them with maybe a better cast, tighter script or better production values, could be an option to telling a story nobody knows about. However, ICONIC films, should be screened in theaters on a regular basis to remind people just how good films can be. The content owners don't want to do that however because imagine if cinema go'ers saw the original 'Ben Hur' restored in 70mm and projected all over the world. They may think twice about seeing the crap we push into the faces of today's audiences.
 

It's like theatre - you can set up and re-imagine Othello as many times as you want.


Actually it's not... Theatre is a totally different animal and people tell the same stories over and over again on a regular basis. This is because you can't just grab the DVD of a certain performance and watch it back. With cinema, there is instant access to older content exactly the way it was originally performed. So it's a complete waste of resources to re-create something that already exists if it was properly produced to begin with and easily accessible.
 

When I do have a problem is when they remake Point Break etc. Films that aren't that old. Not only that, it's one of the best films of its era and a true classic - why remake it now? Wait another 20 years at least.


Where I agree that remaking 'Point Break' is retarded, I personally wouldn't consider it a classic in anyway. It's a perfectly fine piece of entertainment, but at the time was just another hollywood action film and today, is no more. The story of a government agent infiltrating a criminal organization, to be converted into a criminal themselves, is a plot that's been used for decades over and over again in cinema and television. So even in it's original form, it wasn't anything truly special.

It takes filmmakers with real balls to make original content entertainment. People who resort to churning out re-makes or future date sequels, have no imagination. Some day the re-makes, re-boots, sequels and tent pole entertainment will stop. Until then, there isn't much to watch at the cinema.
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#16 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 04:25 PM

While I get that the 'why remake (insert: classic or recent hit foreign film)?' question is mostly rhetorical, shouldn't the real question be, 'how do we fix the system so that original stories and new properties can be consistently profitable again?' Or am I being overly naive? Just seems like we're going around and around in circles.
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#17 Ravi Kiran

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 05:05 PM

I wonder if remaking Ben-Hur is a financially wise idea. Surely to do it right they'd have to spend at least $100 to $150 million, and it would have to make at least three or four times the budget to be profitable. Maybe after the surprise success of Passion of the Christ studios are chasing the next Blblical blockbuster. But POTC only had a $30 million budget, and it's success hasn't been replicated, probably because the controversy around it attracted people who normally might not have seen it.


Edited by Ravi Kiran, 03 November 2015 - 05:07 PM.

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#18 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 05:13 PM

I think it's too late to fix the system.

- When an cinematography oscar is given to a movie shot on a green screen
- When most movies are shot on 2D, yet the studio's spent millions doing crappy 3D conversions so they can charge more money at the box office.
- When theaters charge minimal $14 for a mid-day showing.
- When the price of marketing has sky-rocketed.
- When actors salaries are off the chart
- When studio's are only interested in making "safe" films. Unique stories are left for television.
- When every single movie MUST have visual effects and a substantial post budget.
- When union's are pushing to make crew millionaires.
- When there are no tax shooting incentives.
- When most films go directly to video and disappear forever.

These are the indicators of a non-sustainable industry.

The only way to fix it, is to find an investor willing to put in the money necessary. Start a new distribution company, produce extremely low-budget non-union shows with Sag schedule F. Tell interesting stories that top actors will be interested in being involved with. Use more target audience and cost effective marketing strategy instead of going after the broad audience. Focus on small numbers instead of big numbers. Don't shoot anything in Hollywood, tell stories from other places of the world. Keep the budgets under 5M and work out special deals with theaters chains directly for distribution, don't let the 300lb gorilla studio contracts boss you around.

It's all doable and if you do it right, I think things could change.
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#19 Jay Young

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Posted 04 November 2015 - 07:50 AM

It's all doable and if you do it right, I think things could change.

 

 

I 100% agree with this sentiment.  I'm working on a project now that is non-union, and the actors don't seem to care.  In fact, most of them have said if the production company can cover travel/hotel/meal expenses, they will work without a day rate!  This tells me either the talent truly wants to work with interesting original stories and characters, OR they are really hungry for work of any kind at all. The thing I hear most from actors in the audition process, usually the exact same statement, is that they "believe in this"; that is to say, they believe in the script, or the story, or the originality of the project and really want to see it succeed. 

 

I think some very interesting stories could be told with budgets under 5M. However once distribution and marketing are factored in, how much is left for the actual production process? 

 

Tyler I'm very interested in why you chose SAG schedule F instead of B, or can one not make flat-rate deals with other schedules? (Sorry for moving slightly off topic).


Edited by Jay Young, 04 November 2015 - 07:51 AM.

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#20 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 November 2015 - 11:22 AM

A SAG production is not non-union, it's just non-IATSE, non-DGA, non-WGA, and maybe non-Teamsters.

The notion that I'm on my way to becoming a millionaire just because I'm in a union is nonsense. Most IA members make close to guild minimum rates, which if you are lucky and work most of the year, can allow you to earn a middle class living, which seems more than many anti-union people seem to wish on a film worker... Before I joined the union, I shot on average three features a year and earned $20,000 a year. I probably would have earned about the same working full time at Starbucks. But those non-union producers living in Beverly Hills certainly were happy!
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