The critics savaged the ‘Flatliners’ remake but it still made $6.7 million

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Personally, I loved OG Flatliners. It’s not a good film, mind you, but it was an interesting concept and it was an interesting relic of that kind of bizarro “how did that get greenlighted” filmmaking from the 1990s. The film does not hold up at all, and if there’s any kind of reference to it at this point, it’s possibly in reference to Julia Roberts’ romantic history – Flatliners was the movie where Julia and Kiefer Sutherland were going to get married and runaway-bride’d the sh-t out of him and ran off with Jason Patric (Kiefer’s good friend). Go back and read People Magazine’s original reporting on that and just feel the scandal. It’s amazing. Movie stars really were different back in the ‘90s.

Anyway, no one asked for a remake of Flatliners. No one cared. It wasn’t a case of the first one being perfect and untouchable, it’s just… why would anyone remake a film which wasn’t good in the first place? But they remade it. And apparently it SUCKS.

Flatliners is in dire need of resuscitation. As of Sunday evening, the film is sporting a three percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 38 reviews. For much of the weekend, it was at zero percent before the review aggregator added this 3/5 review from the Daily Telegraph. Flatliners, a remake of Joel Schumacher’s 1990 film of the same name, is directed by Niels Arden Oplev and stars Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton and Kiersey Clemons as medical students who stop their hearts in order to get a glimpse of the afterlife. Schumacher’s Flatliners, which starred Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland, was hardly a hit with critics, but holds a much higher score on Rotten Tomatoes: 49 percent. It also went on to be a financial success. The remake, which has a budget of $19 million, is expected to make somewhere between $5 million and $8 million this weekend.

Here’s a look at what the critics made of the movie.

The Hollywood Reporter’s John DeFore wasn’t all negative on the film, but begins his review this way: “How many Do Not Resuscitate jokes will be made about Flatliners, Hollywood’s latest attempt to bring a long-forgotten hit back from the dead for an audience raised on reheated cultural leftovers? A few, no doubt.”

IndieWire’s David Ehrlich notes that the film doesn’t explore the fact that the world is different than when Schumacher made his film: “If only its irony were the most painful thing about Flatliners, an artless and agonizingly boring remake of a semi-forgotten movie about the dangers of bringing things back from the dead,” he writes. “Lazily recycling the ’90s schlocky Joel Schumacher thriller of the same name (once a staple of video store shelves everywhere), this lifeless new version hits all the same beats as the original, but does so without a speck of the baroque style that made it such a fun thing to rent on a Friday night.”

The New York Times’ Glenn Kenny writes that Flatliners didn’t have the uphill battle that some remakes face, in that the original wasn’t all that beloved at the time to begin with (“The potential for accusations of sacrilege is minimal”). And Kenny highlights one area the film that is actually an improvement: “Mr. Schumacher’s movie is more a failed tone poem than a horror picture, and to its credit, this new version, with a trickier script by Ben Ripley and hyper-competent direction from the Swedish filmmaker Niels Arden Oplev improves on it — by making it behave like a horror movie every now and then.”

[From THR]

THR goes on to summarize and quote from like ten more awful reviews. I’m loving it. There’s something amazing about how bad movies bring out the best writing in film critics. One of the critics captured my feelings: while OG Flatliners was never a good movie, it was fun to watch because of the charisma of the actors. I mean, this was Julia Roberts at her most famous and infamous. This was Kiefer when he was rangy and hot. This was Kevin Bacon during his sexy 20s. While I know Hecate loves Diego Luna, it’s not the same thing!!

Anyway, Flatliners opened wide last Friday and it made $6.7 million. Which was actually on target for BO predictions, but still… I mean, that’s a really low figure. Or is it a high figure considering that every critic in America and Europe was like “this film is trash”?

Invictus Games Closing Ceremony

Photos courtesy of Sony/’Flatliners’.

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23 Responses to “The critics savaged the ‘Flatliners’ remake but it still made $6.7 million”

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  1. Dragonlady sakura says:

    Hollywood is out of original ideas. What’s next, garbage pal kids the movie?!

    • PlaidSheets says:

      I would watch that (on tv for free, but still). *hangs head in shame*

    • Adele Dazeem says:

      Agreed. Meanwhile television and authors keep churning out new, amazing stuff. Enough with the retreads and super heroes. Sheesh.

  2. Mia4s says:

    On a $19 million budget with those reviews and international yet to come? Damn, they will probably make their money back. Good lord will wonders never cease.

    It’s kind of a non-event. The reviews were “meh” not “terrible”, the cast moved on 10 minutes after it opened. Just wasn’t needed as a concept. Hollywood business as usual. *shrug*

  3. third ginger says:

    The only way this needless remake would have had any hope would have been to exceed its rock bottom BO predictions. Too bad for its talented cast.

    • seesittellsit says:

      @third ginger – +1 on that cast, which includes the divine James Norton – will he ever make it into something decent on big screen?!

      • Zan says:

        I came here just to find a comment by another person who adores James Norton.
        When we saw the trailer for this movie, my husband turned to me and said, “Hey, it’s your tipsy vicar!”

  4. minx says:

    I’m sure they hoped for more $.

  5. i don't know her says:

    Young Julia Roberts is giving me JLaw vibes from this People Mag article

    “She lived with Satisfaction costar Liam Neeson, 38, when she was 19, and broke off an engagement to her Steel Magnolias screen hubby, Dylan McDermott, 29, after meeting Kiefer on the set of Flatliners”!?


    • Esmom says:

      I don’t remember the Liam Neeson thing at all. But yeah, she got around, fell fast and hard. She married Lyle Lovett spontaneously! And broke up with him not long after. So flighty that I don’t know how any guy could trust her.

  6. marnie says:

    Can’t get over Ellen Page’s face. Serious nip/tuckage going on…

    • Shijel says:

      Really? Why? She’s young as hell, why would she need the nip and tuck, and where do you see it? Genuine question, because if it’s true then damn, how sad :/

    • Bread and Circuses says:

      I’m not seeing it. She’s always looked like that.

  7. JA says:

    Julia Roberts has always been a messy person as far as her love life and that’s just the stuff we know about. Never liked her as an actress and always thought she was over hyped but dayuuum she brought the drama!

  8. Swordspoint says:

    I actually love the original. Just for Kevin Bacon.

    • Esmom says:

      I haven’t seen it since it first came out but I remember loving it, definitely more for its style than for its substance.

  9. Embers C says:

    The studio probably won’t lose much money on this – despite its awfulness. And, in an environment where a decent crowd-pleaser like Battle of Sexes starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell is really struggling to pull in any sort of audience – only $3.4 million from 1200 cinemas – that’s not a bad return.

  10. Mrs Cova says:

    Long time lurker/First time poster. And I’m sorry but I just saw the original last night and also checked IMDB (maybe not reliable) and I don’t believe Jason Patric is their co-star in Flatliners. If I’m wrong…what character did he play?!?!

    • Ducky la Rue says:

      @Mrs Cova – you are correct: Jason Patric is not in Flatliners – he was, however, in The Lost Boys with Kiefer Sutherland. I think the article is simply referencing him as Kiefer’s friend, not a co-star in Flatliners.

  11. Nikki says:

    I don’t recall seeing Jason in the original at all as a star. Maybe another smaller character. Also I loved that movie. It was a favorite growing up. Never thought of it as a horror, but it was emotional. Like a really dark hallmark commercial

  12. dumbledork says:

    Flat liners was where Julia and Keifer hooked up. I think she was with Dylan McDermott at the time, and left him for Keifer. But Jason Patrick wasn’t in flatliners.

  13. Anon33 says:

    Jason Patric was in LOST BOYS, Also starring Kiefer. I think that’s where the writer is getting confused. He is def not in FLATLINERS.

  14. Mango says:

    The trailer looks so lame. I remember when Julia Roberts and Keifer and Kevin Bacon and one of the Baldwin bros were in this. Can’t remember if it was a hit but the original ’90s ratpack in one film!