In the last 40 years, John Carpenter has seen many of his movies get sequels and remakes without his involvement, and a lot of them turned out badly. Not only are there all the unfortunate Halloween follow-ups, and the CGI-heavy The Thing prequel, but useless re-dos like Assault On Precinct 13 and The Fog also did nothing to build on the originals. As you might expect, this isn’t exactly a legacy that Carpenter loves, which goes a long way in explaining why he had this to say about the upcoming Big Trouble In Little China feature set to star Dwayne Johnson:
Paired with producer Jason Blum, John Carpenter participated in roundtable interviews last month in promotion of the new Halloween — and it was during one of these sit downs that I asked about the developing Big Trouble In Little China sequel. Specifically, I asked the filmmakers what they think about the current trend towards follow-ups over remakes, citing Johnson’s movie as an example, and the horror legend made it very clear that he doesn’t think much about the upcoming project at all.
It was back in 2015 that Dwayne Johnson was first attached to star in a new Big Trouble In Little China, though at the time it was said that the film was going to be a remake. It was a controversial story at the time that got quite a bit of fan backlash, but Johnson himself tried to calm people down by saying that moves were being made to involve John Carpenter. Based on what Carpenter told a small group of other reporters and me in September, it sounds like they were never able to connect.
The new Big Trouble In Little China is still kind of a backburner project right now, what with Dwayne Johnson doing a million-and-one other things, but producer Hiram Garcia confirmed in late August that the movie is both moving forward, and is no longer a remake. It’s going to be a story that returns audiences to the world of the original, and will “continue the story.” Exactly what that means given the conclusive ending of John Carpenter’s film isn’t entirely clear.
With this chosen avenue, one does have to wonder exactly how Dwayne Johnson and Co. will teach audiences about the original Big Trouble In Little China, because John Carpenter is 100% right: that movie wasn’t a success when it was first released in 1986. It has since taken on cult status, but it’s also a title that opened up at number 12 at the box office and only made $11 million domestically (roughly equal to $24 million in 2018 when you adjust for inflation). The approach didn’t work for Blade Runner 2049, so hopefully there is a strategy in play.
With Hobbs and Shaw, Jumanji 3, John Henry and the Statesmen, and more projects currently populating Dwayne Johnson’s slate, it’s not entirely clear when he will be getting around to Big Trouble In Little China, but we will be sure to keep you updated with the latest details. For now, with John Carpenter’s thoughts in mind, how do you feel about the developing project? Answer our poll, and leave your comments below.