Paul Verhoeven established himself with studio films which also contained subversive, dark humor, like RoboCop (1987), Total Recall, Starship Troopers, and Showgirls. (What do you mean, Showgirls wasn’t supposed to be hilarious?) RoboCop earned over $50 million in theaters on a $13 million budget and became an even bigger hit on home video. Sony tried to repeat that success with 2014’s RoboCop, which barely earned back its $100 million budget.
There’s been plenty of speculation about why it wasn’t more successful, like its PG-13 rating. Joel Kinnaman — who played the titular robotic cop in the remake — told Uproxx’s Mike Ryan that, “What we did wrong on RoboCop, we just did something new and didn’t really take into account what the fans really loved about the original. I think that we should have gone and found more humor and more charm in it. And it’s tricky doing a movie like RoboCop at PG-13.”
Now Paul Verhoeven has also weighed in on what went wrong, and it boils down to leaving out the humor. When Collider asked Verhoeven if he’s seen the remakes of his movies, he replied: