Next year marks the 30th Anniversary of the original sci-fi action classic Robocop, but don't expect the fans to make the 2014 reboot a part of the celebration. The dastardly remake, starring Joel Kinnaman as Alex Murphy/Robocop, failed to impress audiences and critics alike, and filmmaker Paul Verhoeven, who directed the original movie, seems to know why. The filmmaker revealed in a recent interview that the reboot made one fatal flaw that may have turned the movie around, if corrected.
Paul Verhoeven hasn't made a studio project since 2000's Hollow Man, but both his Robocop and Total Recall movies have already been rebooted, with a Starship Troopers remake currently in development. His next film, the dark comedy Elle, recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, ahead of its theatrical release on November 11. During an interview with Collider, the filmmaker was asked if he ever watched the Robocop reboot or the Total Recall reboot. Here's what he had to say, revealing what he thinks is wrong with both movies.
"Oh sure, I watch them. Somehow they seem to think that the lightness of say Total Recall and Robocop is a hindrance. So they take these somewhat absurd stories and make them much too serious. I think that is a mistake. Especially in Robocop when he awakens they gave him the same brain. He's a horribly injured and amputated victim, which is horrifying and tragic from the very beginning. So we didn't do that in Robocop. His brain is gone and he has only flashes of memory and needs to go to a computer to find out who he even is. I think by not having a robot brain, you make the movie much heavier and I don't think that helps the movie in any way. It becomes more silly or absurd, but in the wrong way. Both those movies needed the distance of satire or comedy to situate it for audiences. Playing it straight without any humor is a problem and not an improvement."
The Robocop reboot, which starred Joel Kinnaman as Alex Murphy, took in just $58.6 million domestically, just $5.2 million more than the $53.4 million domestic take of the original Robocop back in 1987. The reboot did fare much better in international markets, with $184 million, for a worldwide total of $242.6 million from a $100 million budget. While that worldwide gross surely wasn't as big as Sony had hoped for, we learned last year that a sequel still may happen.
While this was never confirmed, reports surfaced that Sony was taking pitches from various filmmakers for Robocop 2. While this project isn't a terribly high priority, the studio reportedly isn't giving up on the project. Paul Verhoeven also revealed in his interview that he heard a rumor that MGM was considering picking up the sequel ideas he had worked on in 1987 with co-writer Michael Miner that were never used on the 1990 sequel Robocop 2. As of now, nothing has been confirmed about any RoboCop sequel.