The A-Team: On Leaving Well Enough Alone...





Opening Weekend (Box Office Mojo):

Karate Kid: $56 million Total Gross / Budget: $40 million
Ka CHING!

The A-Team: $26 million Total Gross / Budget: $110 million
Oopsie!


Once upon a time TV's The A-Team was a fairly popular, very formulaic show. Picture a modern day Robin Hood by way of MacGyver.

The band of Merry Men included a strongman, a ladies man and a crazy dude for comedy relief. The Sir Robin of the team was the cool, stogie chomping Hannibal who just loved it when a plan comes together.





As apparently only a handful of cinema goers know, the A-Team movie opened June11.

It was the latest of a long Hollywood tradition of churning mediocre TV shows into multiplex bombs.





Sometimes it works -- Mission Impossible scored two sequels -- but most times, it doesn't.

The twisted remains of big-screen versions of Starsky and Hutch, I Spy, Bewitched, Leave it to Beaver, the Beverly Hillbillies, Miami Vice and others lay scattered in the tinseltown boneyard.

They rot there in silent testimony to what? Writers and producers too lazy or too inept to put faith into an original idea?



Perhaps brand extension works well enough for toothpaste and laundry detergent but it just doesn't cut it when it comes to entertainment.

One of the most successful TV-to-Cinema conversions was Star Trek: The Original Series. Of course, unlike most reboots, the movie franchise carried over the familiar and popular TV cast and perhaps something else just as important...




What the big-screen versions often lack is the very DNA that made the TV series a success.

The very genetic code of the TV version of The A-Team was that with all the explosions, shootings and mayhem, in the entire run of the series, no one ever got killed.

Hey, no one even got seriously hurt for that matter.

After every spiraling temporarily airborne vehicle crashed to the ground, we saw the dazed bad guys climbing out.

Bullets never found their targets. The most violence viewers saw was the mandatory fistfight.

Apparently the movie version decided to disregard that prime directive. That's reportedly why Mr. T (who played the character BA in the series) decided against a cameo appearance:

People die in the film and there's plenty of sex. But when we did it no one got hurt and it was all played for fun and family entertainment. These seem to be elements nobody is interested in anymore.



Dirk Benedict (Faceman in the series) does do a cameo in the film but he expressed regret about the project before the film opened, suggesting that the producers would:

...screw it up. Just like they did with Battlestar Galactica.



Of course, it's quite interesting that the A-Team redux was beaten at the box office its opening weekend by the Wil Smith powered Karate Kid, another remake, albeit a movie redo.





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