News Worth Sharing: Lionsgate Films to Remake “Dirty Dancing”

It was announced yesterday that Lionsgate Films will be remaking the 1987 film, “Dirty Dancing”, which originally stared Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in one of his most famous roles.

Directing the movie will be Kenny Ortega, director of the “High School Musical” series and Michael Jackson’s posthumous concert film, “This is it”.

Ortega has connections to “Dancing” dating back to the original, where he served as choreographer. He also directed a couple of episodes of “Dirty Dancing”, the short lived tv series, which aired for one season (1988-89).

Although it’s not the strongest resume in the world, it seems a given that Ortega will be respectful of the franchise at least.

Casting has yet to begin.

The true test will be whether audiences have a stomach for a remake of this film or not. Although I myself am not the biggest fan, this was obviously a very big movie, and is still cherished by many fans. Now, as it becomes the latest in a long line of famous films to be remade, will audiences accept it or reject it?

The movie has had a sequel already, 2004’s blip on the radar “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights”. It obviously was not met with the same enthusiasm as the original.

How do you feel about it? Any protective feelings towards the original?

9 thoughts on “News Worth Sharing: Lionsgate Films to Remake “Dirty Dancing”

  1. I’ve yet to see the original. But even so, I have to question this, and not just because I’m inclined to roll my eyes at the idea of any remake of a major, successful film. (Quality remakes in my view — not counting new adaptations of classic literature — consist so far of “Ocean’s 11″ and “Little Shop of Horrors”; I’ve heard the new “True Grit” might allow me to expand that list to an actual list.) The thing is… it seems like the public has rather firmly shot down the idea of revisiting the Dirty Dancing franchise. The TV series was a failure. “Havana Nights” was a failure. Where’s the studio’s assumption coming from that this would be a success? Granted, musical themed movies and shows seem to be on an upswing right now with “Glee” and “High School Musical” being a big hit in the teen crowd, and the teen crowd couldn’t care one whit about any alleged sanctity of the original film… but it still seems like a mighty iffy gamble to me.

  2. My philosophy on remakes is that anything is fair game, as long as the public memory doesn’t still hold the original near and dear. You can’t remake Jaws, you know? And then, like you said, when you DO remake it, it has to have some quality to it on its own and not be a shameless cash grab. (There’s been other quality remakes too, John Carpenter’s “The Thing” springs to mind right off the bat… “The Departed” was a remake, but I think foreign films are always fair game).

    I just wonder if the people for whom the name holds meaning (and thus the reason why Hollywood would remake a movie rather than go with something original – presold tickets) will be pissed or not.

    I know I still havent seen the new “Karate Kid” even though I hear its really good.

    • Yeah, I’d say foreign films are always fair game for a “remake” — to be honest, I find it hard to even classify that as a remake, since the different language and cultural idioms inevitably render it a fairly different story anyway. Haven’t seen “The Thing”, but I’ll grant there may be other good remakes out there I haven’t seen. I’ve just seen witnessed more bad than good so far (well, OK, more mediocre than good; I’ll be fair.)

      In the particular case of “Dirty Dancing”‘s fans… yeah, I’m expecting them to be pissed (and in fact I’ve already heard from one friend.) And that’s just factoring in the usual “80s movie fan” backlash. Then you factor in that Patrick Swayze died only two years ago, and it winds up feeling like they barely waited for his body to get cold. And if “Dirty Dancing” isn’t Swayze’s most recognized role, it’s still probably in the top three, certainly in the top five. Factor in that they’re also remaking “Red Dawn”, another Swayze film (though where it’d fall in the ranking, I don’t know), and it just seems very callous. And being perceived as callous seems like it would amount to poison at the box office.

  3. I am getting tired of what I view as a lack of motivation. Music, films, heck even books…..everything is a re-make. Where are the new innovative ideas? I would rather wait longer between movie releases, than look forward to “the new improved version” of what i have already seen and deemed great.

    As far as Dirty Dancing…. probably won’t see it. Same reason I didn’t see Karate Kid either.

    • Heyyyy Deb! Nice to see you here. :D

      You know, that’s another great point about all this remake nonsense – what is it that we’re missing out on because of the fact that so many Hollywood resources are committed to regurgitating past movies?

      Who knows, if it weren’t for committing to this remake, the studio may have greenlit something else, the directors stars and writers would have done other projects, and maybe one of those things would have been a pop culture smash in it’s own right!

      Good point!

  4. I don’t care for the original, but I know that it is held near and dear the many.

    I hire many people, and after the usual interview questions, I always ask the candidate what their favorite movie is. It has no bearing on them getting hired or not, but I find that it’s usually a fun way to end an interview. Since I started this in 1999, I’d say that about 25% of my female interviews answer with “Dirty Dancing”.

    • That’s cool. LOL. Interviewing candidates can be rough. That’s a nice little “deflator” so the end of the whole interview isn’t so tense.

      This isn’t one of my faves, either, but I know how much people love it.

  5. This was surely one of the definitive and iconic movies of my youth but i would never call it a favorite. Im glad I saw it. Im glad I know the story, otherwise id feel pretty stupid every time somebody says “nobody puts baby in a corner”. But the problem I see isn’t the general problem of a remake not usually being as good or exciting as the original. Its more fundamental than that. Its that the story itself kinda sucks. Good girl meets bad boy. Throw in some dance and tunes. PLAYED OUT. And DD didn’t have the advantage of being cognizant of its own sillynes…ala Grease…..and for the record the remake of karate kid was decent.

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