We often hear about Hollywood remaking foreign-language pictures, translating them for the domestic audience. (Some would say, "dumbing down and stripping away everything that made them unique and special," but I digress.) Now a Hollywood studio is proceeding with plans to remake its own movies for international audiences. Do they have any hope for success?
Fox International Productions is working on versions of Tony Scott's Man on Fire and Mike Nichols' Working Girl for the Russian market, according to Variety, and is planning a different version of Working Girl for the Japanese market. In a case of "turnabout is fair play," Taka Ichise, who produced the original Japanese versions of The Ring and The Grudge, will perform the same duties for the Japanese Working Girl. The Russian versions are considered re-imaginings rather than remakes, "with concepts to be tailored by Russian writers."
The Russian films can be made on the cheap (under $4 million) because, presumably, the Russian equivalents of Denzel Washington, Tony Scott, Harrison Ford, and Mike Nichols won't be paid millions of dollars and production costs will be lower. A Russian remake of Johnny To's Breaking News was recently released, so maybe Russian audiences are primed and pumped to see local remakes of foreign films. It's not likely that American audiences will ever be able to (easily) see any of these particular foreign-language films, but I admit to curiosity over how Russian creative talent will interpret the basic premises of Man on Fire and Working Girl, or how Working Girl will translate in Japan. They sound like odd choices to remake. Anyone want to venture an opinion on why and how?