Remaking the 1995 box office dud Waterworld doesn't seem like a project many would jump at. The financially disastrous original cost $235 million to make—it was the most expensive film ever made until James Cameron's Titanic swept that record aside a few years later. Poor planning and preparation (no one had factored in hurricanes on a tropical-ocean shoot?) pushed the production far beyond its original budget. Nearly a quarter of a million dollars was spent just to house and feed producer/star Kevin Costner. (While the rest of the crew stayed in sub-standard housing—contributing to an on-set vibe that has been described as "hostile.") And yet, with remakes—presumably any remake—now the last resort go-to for Hollywood blockbusting, the SyFy Channel (owned by Universal, the studio behind Waterworld Mk. 1) is talking about the possibility of a do-over, or a television series based on the movie.
Forbes reports that Waterworld's home video sales and subsequent status as something of a cult classic saved it from being a total financial loss. The film still gets screen time on SyFy's network—in fact, it draws a surprisingly large audience: according to Forbes, 400,000 people tuned in the last time it was aired. It was numbers like these that lead SyFy to believe that a remake or a series would be lucrative. Network president Dave Howe says that a Waterworld reboot is "talked about endlessly."
But that doesn't mean that the studio will pony up another $235 million for the remake. NME reports that SyFy "wants to break into the movie market by exploiting a gap for cheaper sci-fi films—ones that focus on storytelling rather than special effects and star names." They might want to reconsider their special-effects budget though. In the long run, a CGI ocean is cheaper, less unpredictable, and far, far less likely to drown your actors than the real thing.