Oculus director Mike Flanagan has been tapped to reboot Sony‘s Horror franchise I Know What You Did Last Summer. I’m sure that your brain is firing off neutrons left and right, trying to make sense of this news. My first thought was, “Did Hollywood run out of Japanese Horror films to rip off?
The film made decent box office money back in 1997, but will that translate to today’s big screen market? If this last summer has taught Hollywood anything it’s that the theater market is on the verge of change. Sequels that everyone expected to do well at the box office flopped like fish out of water. Those movies didn’t just plop, they repeatedly smashed their heads against the wall again and again.
This last summer might be the very reason that Flanagan was brought on board. Oculus was done on an extremely tight $12 million dollar budget that turned into $40 million in world-wide box office numbers. Can he do the same with this reboot?
No here is one interesting thought. The original I Know What You Did Last Summer was loosely based on the 1973 novel by Lois Duncan. I say loosely and you can see why in the author’s own words:
I keep getting e-mail from kids who are doing book reports on I Know What You Did Last Summer and say things like “My favorite part was when Julie was trying to hide in the ice chest and found the heads of her two best friends.” That’s when I know they didn’t read the book at all. That scene took place in the movie, not in my novel.
When a production company options a story, the author loses all control. Hollywood takes over, and the script writer can change “the property” in any way he chooses. I had no idea my book was being turned into a slasher film until I went to the theater, (buying my ticket just like everybody else), and sat down to watch it. The lights dimmed and there was a scenic view of the ocean. How could that be? My story was laid in New Mexico. Then a fisherman with an ice hook appeared on the screen. He wasn’t in my book. By now I was starting to think I’d walked into the wrong theater by mistake. But, no — up came the title — I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. I was bewildered. Who was that fisherman, and what was he going to do with that ice hook?
Well, I soon found out. He was going to decapitate my characters. Heads flew off, blood spurted, the audience screamed, I SCREAMED — I was so horrified I couldn’t even open my popcorn. The first thing I did when I staggered out of the theater was phone my married daughter, Kerry, and tell her, “Don’t let my grandchildren see it!”
So, never, NEVER judge a book by the movie. Usually they have little, if anything, in common.
I’ve been terribly embarrassed by this movie, despite the fact that it was a box office hit and made my novel a best-seller.
Could this reboot go back and stay closer to the original book? That just might make this reboot worthwhile. We already know that the cast will mirror the original, ie young beautiful people like the original cast, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Ryan Phillippe.
Then again this might just be another Sony move to hold onto the rights to I Know What You Did Last Summer film rights. We’ve gotten lots of horrible movies over the years from Sony clinging to film rights. Not that I can blame them, I wouldn’t give up Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four either.