Flashback: Assessing Premiere Magazine’s 1992 Summer Movie Predictions (Part Three)

Premiere’s Pick:  Alien 3
It had been six years since the previous chapter in this lucrative franchise was released.  That would be Aliens, James Cameron’s entertaining sequel to Ridley Scott’s scary 1979 original, both commercial hits.  Neither director was involved with number three and it showed.  It was up to former music video director David Fincher to deliver the goods for his first movie.  For some, he did.  For the rest of us, we’ll stick with the first two.
Premiere Magazine revealed that it was a difficult shoot (“…fourteen-hour days, six-day [work] weeks…”) and Fincher felt the pressure from 20th Century Fox who had a lot of money riding on the movie.  Premiere called it right when it predicted “[a] big opening…and a big drop-off.”  The film made over 20 million in its first weekend but ultimately grossed 55 million overall.  But once again, it picked the wrong placement.
Fincher would put the experience behind him and develop a good reputation as a burgeoning talent with hit and miss commercial appeal.  He followed up Alien 3 with the much more effective Seven, which remains his biggest hit, in the fall of 1995.  Then came The Game with Michael Douglas in 1997, Fight Club (his second collaboration with Brad Pitt) in 1999, Panic Room with Jodie Foster in 2002 and this year’s Zodiac with Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal.
There would be one more sequel in the series:  Alien: Resurrection which is easily the worst entry thus far.  Tribute Magazine reported in 2001 that a fifth movie was on the way but that never materialized.  Instead, Ridley Scott released his director’s cut of Alien which was just as good as the earlier version.  Alien 3 just doesn’t measure up to either of them.
Where The Movie Actually Placed:  Thirteenth
The Real #10:  Housesitter
Premiere’s Pick:  Death Becomes Her
This is one of Robert Zemeckis’ least effective summer movies.  (What Lies Beneath is even worse, actually.)  Two women (Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn) fight over a plastic surgeon (Bruce Willis) who continually performs unnecessary enhancements on their bodies which result in unforeseen complications.  Isabella Rossellini, in one of her most elegant roles, also appears in the film.
Premiere thought it was an “either/or” proposition.  (“Either it tanks or it kills.”)  In the end, it did just ok.  58 million in ticket sales altogether.  The biggest triumph for the movie was its special effects which would go on to win the 1993 Best Visual Effects Oscar.  Too bad the movie wasn’t all that funny.
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Eleventh
The Real #9:  Honey, I Blew Up The Kid
Premiere’s Pick:  Trespass (AKA The Looters)
The overreaction to the 1992 Los Angeles Riots over that whole Rodney King business pretty much killed this movie’s chances for box office glory.  Originally entitled The Looters and scheduled for a July release, the very squeamish Universal Pictures pushed it back to Christmas Day (!) and had it renamed Trespass.  Unsurprisingly, it got trampled to death in a stampede of holiday blockbusters (Home Alone 2 and Aladdin, to name a couple.).  Its overall take:  14 million.  Not good.
It’s a shame because the movie is good.  Ice T, Ice Cube, Bill Paxton and William Sadler all give believable performances in a story that worked for me when I saw it in my local cinema.  Premiere Magazine summed up the plot thusly:
“Two white firemen looking for loot fight it out with two black crime lords in an abandoned building in East St. Louis.”
Robert Zemeckis co-wrote the screenplay.
The Real #8:  Far And Away
Premiere’s Pick:  The Last Of The Mohicans
Another movie that was supposed to be out in July, this most recent cinematic update of James Fenimore Cooper’s novel was wisely moved to late September where it destroyed Billy Crystal’s directorial debut, the hilarious and criminally scorned Mr. Saturday Night.  A decent-sized hit, the Michael Mann-helmed epic made 76 million in the fall of 1992.  (He would go on to make another great picture:  Heat, with Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro.)  Curiously, if it had performed as well during its originally scheduled summer release, Premiere would’ve actually gotten one of its predictions absolutely right.  It would’ve indeed finished seventh overall.
The Real #7:  Boomerang
Premiere’s Pick:  Boomerang
Much like Tom Hanks, Eddie Murphy fell into a bit of a slump between 1989 and 1991.   There was his first film as a director, Harlem Nights, which disappointed many and Another 48 Hours which fell below expectations (it’s a guilty pleasure for me).  Nevertheless, this comedy about a womanizing advertising executive (who’s very particular about feet) who meets his match in Robin Givens ended his brief dry spell.  It ended up earning 70 million during its summer run in 1992.
Premiere called it right but just missed the correct placement by one position.
The Real #6:  Patriot Games
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, September 9, 2007
9:05 p.m.
Published in: on September 9, 2007 at 9:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

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