From the Archive: “And we begin, as always, with the latest in movie news….”


For this dip into the archive, I need to credit a different writer. Every episode of our radio show kicked off with a rundown of movie news, which was far more impressive back then, a time when only Entertainment Tonight and CNN’s Showbiz Today were providing that sort of information outside of the Hollywood trade publications. While we pulled an item or two from the radio station’s Associated Press wire, most of it was pulled together and written for air by my esteemed colleague on the program. He culled the material from all over the place, including, at least for a time, The Hollywood Reporter. He was presumably the sole resident of Plover, Wisconsin with an active subscription. Call him the first aggregator. If only he’d thought to monetize it. The box office results help me pinpoint this particular newscast to Monday, November 19th, so almost precisely twenty-five years ago as this goes up to the web. To illustrate the dramatic changes in box office dynamics since, this was the first of an amazing twelve straight weeks as the #1 film in the country for Home Alone (it was unseated by Sleeping with the Enemy in early February of the following year), and of course Ghost is conspicuously still in the Top 5 some four months after its mid-July release. 

These particular script pages were typed up on the back of some Orion Pictures press releases, hence the image above that shares the marketing department’s spectacularly groan-worthy headline announcing the release of the Mermaids, home of a very strong Winona Ryder starring performance. It’s so very tempting to aggressively annotate the news items, but I’ll leave the old words to stand for themselves, except for one freshly added hyperlink that I simply couldn’t resist. I also note that my cohort’s rumor-slinging about films in trouble was spot-on accurate. Every one of those four films was a dud, in one way or another. Valkenvania was renamed Nothing But Trouble, one of the most damningly accurate titles in film history.          

A proposed ordinance in the city of Kissimmee, Florida would make it illegal to sell tickets to minors for NC-17 movies and would carry a fine of $500 for convicted theatre owners. City commissioner voted 3-2 to consider the proposal further at a hearing this week. The rating was created in September by the Motion Picture Association of America to replace the X rating for films with adult themes.

The only cinematic victim of the Universal Studios fire, the Sylvester Stallone picture “Oscar,” will be completed in Orlando at Universal Studios Florida and Disney/MGM Studios. The movie, which stars Stallone as a gangster, was in the final days of filming when the fire hit and destroyed its sets. The film is directed by John Landis.

Jessica Hahn will be making her acting debut in the film “Stiletto,” to begin filming in January, with actor Ray Sharkey; she’ll play an agent. Word is that it’s loosely based on the Billy Joel song of the same name.

A number of upcoming motion pictures in various degrees of trouble tonight…

  1. Seems like “The Godfather Part III” isn’t the only picture racing against the clock to meet a Christmas Day premiere; word is that a major “casting” change has taken place in the production of “Look Who’s Talking Too.” Due to negative testing, Richard Pryor’s voice will be dropped from one of the film’s infants and be replaced with the voice of Damon Wayans of “In Living Color.” Early promotional artwork had featured Pryor’s face and will now have to be changed.
  2. “Valkenvania,” the directorial debut of Dan Aykroyd, is reported to be a dog, and has been pushed back to a February release at the earliest. The comedy, starring Chevy Chase and Demi Moore, was originally slated for a Christmas debut.
  3. Another holiday release that has its studio worried is the Sydney Pollack/Robert Redford film “Havana,” a romantic drama set in 1958 during the Cuban revolution and opening on December 14th. One Universal Studios source describes the project as “stillborn,” industry terminology for an early box-office death. There have been no test screenings for the film, once touted as having OScar potential for Redford.
  4. And, event thought the summer of 1991 is a ways off, that season’s first budget-buster is already shaping up. The new Bruce Willis flick “Hudson Hawk” is already reported to be $15 million over its original $40 million budget and has gone five weeks behind schedule. The special-effects laden feature is the big-budget debut of “Heathers” director Michael Lehmann.

A concept (though not a title) has been chosen for the sequel to the 1989 sleeper hit “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” In it, Rick Moranis inadvertently zaps his new baby boy with an enlarging contraption, and the gargantuan toddler sets off on the loose. The original title of “Honey, I Blew Up the Baby” has been rejected as “too violent.”

A few of the future features that began filming last week…

  1. “Dying Young,” in which Julia Roberts falls in love with a cancer patient — directed by Joel Schumacher (“Flatliners,” “Cousins,” “The Lost Boys”).
  2. “Doc Hollywood,” a romantic comedy starring Michael J. Fox and directed by Michael Caton-Jones (“Memphis Belle,” “Scandal”).
  3. “The Doctor” — in a project originally designed for Warren Beatty, William Hurt now stars as a heart surgeon forced to cope with his own fatal heart condition.
  4. “Nudist Colony of the Dead.” ‘Nuff said.

NC-17 Watch The reissue of Bernardo Bertolucci’s “1900,” and of course “Midnight Woman” and “Peepshow”

The top five films at the box office:

5) Ghost, with $3 million

4) The Rescuers Down Under, with $3.4 million

3) Child’s Play 2, with $5 million

2) Rocky V, with $14 million

1) Home Alone, with $17 million



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s