An exclusive from The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Paramount plans to remake Explorers, a 1985 film about three teenage boys traveling through outer space in their homemade spacecraft. The remake will be produced by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec, the writers of the American Life on Mars TV Series, and written by Geoff Moore and Dave Posamentier.
The original Explorers starred a young Ethan Hawke with River Phoenix, the late older brother of Joaquin Phoenix, and Jason Presson. It was directed by Joe Dante (The Howling) with effects by Industrial Light and Magic. Dante had and would continue to collaborate with Steven Spielberg on Gremlins and Innerspace. 1985’s Explorers flopped at the box office likely due to a rushed script in order to meet a summer release. The film later become a cult classic on home video.
Explorers is the kind of film that could really benefit from a remake given both the improvements in special effects and the assurance of established fans ready to see more. A common cry against remakes is that audiences can just see the original instead, and with the popularity of services like Netflix, that has become a much more practical option. On the other hand some films, especially effects-heavy science-fiction films, can benefit from new technology and a new creative team. In the case of Explorers, a remake could benefit immensely from a better screenplay than the rushed effort of the 1985 film. Paramount can look to the original’s popularity on home video to know that this story will find an audience. Hopefully the new team will give this remake the attention it needs.