Remaking a classic is always a dangerous game, especially when the original manages to find critical acclaim, commercial success and go on to infiltrate popular culture. A retread of something so well-known creates higher expectations and places the new version under more intense scrutiny, as Easy A director Will Gluck’s Annie discovered.
The first feature length adaptation of the musical arrived in 1982, and went on to earn $57 million at the box office, a solid number for the genre at the time. Directed by the legendary John Huston, who was admittedly a strange choice to take the reins of such a light and breezy project, Annie would also go on to earn multiple Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.
In 2014, the remake landed and boasted even more in the way of star power and pedigree. Will Smith and Jay-Z were listed among the producers, with Quvenzhané Wallis in the title role. The actress may have only been eleven years old when Annie was released, but she already had an Oscar nod for Best Actress under belt, while the stacked supporting cast also boasted Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and Rose Byrne, as well as cameos from the likes of Michael J. Fox, Rihanna, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher.
Annie did decent business at the box office after hauling in $133 million, but reviews were tepid at best. However, it’s now found a surprising new lease of life after reaching the number one spot on IMDb TV’s list of movies that are free to stream. Clearly, musical fans are checking it out in their droves regardless of its less than stellar reputation, even if it does come burnished with ads on the platform.