Why Gremlins' Director Won't Be Involved With The Remake

Having directed both Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch, director Joe Dante deserves a great deal of the credit for making the franchise as beloved as it is to this day. Unfortunately, though, the filmmaker will not be a part of the upcoming reboot, and there's what seems to be a pretty simple reason: he doesn't possess any ownership of the property.

We actually heard about a year ago that Joe Dante would not be getting involved with the new, in-development version of Gremlins, but it was while recently speaking at the Riviera Maya Film Festival that he explained the situation. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the director was asked if he would have any involvement with the new film, and he delivered a rather blunt and simple response:

No, because I don’t own the project. It’s owned by other people

Joe Dante has mentioned in the past that there are creative difficulties that come with not having ownership of a property, as he has found himself forced to jump through multiple hurdles in order to execute his own ideas. His further comments on the matter at the the film festival suggest that he isn't broken up about the fact that he's not a part of the new Gremlins. This is because Dante isn't big on the Hollywood culture of remakes - and cited one specific title that came out last year as an example. Said Dante,

They remake pictures that people just didn't want to see remade. Did anybody really want to see another RoboCop?

The domestic box office performance of the RoboCop remake definitely supports Joe Dante's argument. Made for a reported $100 million, the Jose Padilha action film only managed to make $58 million in the United States by the end of its run, and came in third its opening weekend losing to The LEGO Movie - in its second weekend - and Steve Pink's About Last Night (ironically another remake that came out the same weekend). It is worth mentioning, however, that RoboCop actually did find success overseas, and added an extra $184 million to its worldwide total from foreign theaters.

The question that Joe Dante was asked about the Gremlins reboot was very likely spurred on my the recent news that has been coming out about the project, with screenwriter Carl Ellsworth coming aboard to write the script. Chris Columbus, who wrote the screenplay for the original movie, is developing the reboot, and has said that his intention is to "take those characters and do something interesting." Exactly what that will wind up looking like is currently a mystery.

Do you think that the new Gremlins has potential for success, or do you think that it can't succeed without the mind of Joe Dante behind it? Hit the comments below with your thoughts.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.