Footloose (1984) had tension because it was of the moment.
The Moral Majority was just entering its apex and small town America was a pop cultural phenomenon (months after Footloose was released, Farm Aid hit the air and Small Town reached #6). There was also, generally, lots of dancing in the streets.
Fast forward to 2011 and covens of sexy but celibate vampires play a bigger role in the popular imagining of white adolescence than uptight congregations. So while Footloose (2011) had no problems putting butts in seats, I don’t think anyone – not even its makers – believes it put its fingers on the pulse of young Americans.
And, yet, if the 2011 retelling had been set in a city like a Salinas, CA (pop. 150,000, 75% Latino, 40% under 18) it could have represented a community at the crossroads: teeming with young kids rebelling against their hick parents, caught up in a mess of gangs, a shitty economy, starved government, fire and brimstone preachers, and a dance trend that combines (Mexican) country with techno.