In recent years, female reboot movies have had a noticeable presence on the big screen. Films like What Men Want and Ocean’s 8 take a classic film and turn it on its head by changing the gender roles. Not only does this allow the audience to recontextualize the events of the movie, but directors are often able to tell wholly new and intriguing narratives by changing the gender of the main character.
Some of the best remakes with female stars take a tried and true classic and turn everything on its head, which is why so many of the upcoming movies being remade with females sound so cool. Before you go to the theater, re-introduce yourself to some of the best movies that have been remade with female stars, and no matter what genre you’re into there’s something on this list for you.
With so much time between the two versions of Last Holiday, it's hard to imagine that anyone even knew that this is based on a film from 1950 starring Sir Alex Guiness. In Latifah's version, she plays a department store worker who finds out that she has an inoperable brain tumor. This sends her on a trip to Europe where she lives life to the fullest before her time runs out. The biggest difference between the two films is that Latifah's Georgia Byrd lives happily ever after once she discovers that she's been misdiagnosed, while Guiness' George Bird is hit by a car and killed after he discovers that he's fine.
Critically, the film received mixed marks, but everyone noted how great Latifah is in the lead role. The film did okay, but it didn't blow anyone away. After all was said and done it more or less broke even.
Actors: Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Alicia Witt, Smokey Robinson, Gérard Depardieu, + more
Directed by: Wayne Wang
What Men Wants takes the basic premise from the 2000 film by Nancy Meyers, but rather than keep Taraji P. Henson's Ali Davis in the advertising industry, she's now a sports agent. Rather than trying to come up with the next great Nike ad, she's trying to sign the new basketball superstar.
The film hasn't been released yet, but critics and audiences alike are already excited about seeing this story told through the eyes of an African-American woman, which gives the story more stakes than the original incarnation. The film is so hotly anticipated that it's included in the 65 most anticipated films on Rotten Tomatoes.
Actors: Taraji P. Henson, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Max Greenfield, Aldis Hodge, Phoebe Robinson, + more
Directed by: Adam Shankman
2016's Ghostbusters truly gender swapped the original film. Not only did director Paul Feig make all of the titular Ghostbusters female, but he cast Chris Hemsworth in the role traditionally played by Annie Potts. The remake has some similarities to the original, specifically with Kristin Wiig's Erin being a down on her luck professor, and McCarthy's Abby being a failed author. This dynamic is about the only similarity to the 1984 original (aside from the ghost busting aspect).
In this film ghosts are being drawn to New York City by a warlock trying to jumpstart the apocalypse, however in the original film they were just showing up and being spooky. Critics were down the middle on this film, calling it fun but saying that it holds back at different points in the film. Audiences weren't wild about the film, but it still made close to $100 million more than its budget worldwide and that's nothing to sneeze at.
Actors: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth
Directed by: Paul Feig
Ocean's 8 goes down the sequel/remake path that many female fronted remakes are taking (for more examples look no further than The Next Karate Kid or Ghostbusters), which allows the films to ignore the original movie while using whatever pieces of it that it needs. The film follows basically the same plot as Ocean's 11, with Debbie Ocean getting out of prison just raring to commit some crimes. She puts together a crew and they rob the Met Gala instead of a casino.
Critics and audiences both were head over heels about Ocean's 8. Variety’s Owen Gleiberman said, "The first thing to say about ‘Ocean’s 8’ is that it takes the bad karma that clung — unfairly — to the ‘Ghostbusters’ remake and leaves it out in the trash. For here’s a gender-flipped sequel that not only works just fine, but renders the whole ‘novelty’ of the concept a borderline irrelevance." Not bad.
Actors: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, James Corden, Anne Hathaway, + more
Directed by: Gary Ross