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

Premiere’s Pick:  Honey, I Blew Up The Kid
This underwhelming sequel to the charming 1989 blockbuster, Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (which made 131 million theatrically) effectively ended the idea of future sequels.  Despite terrific special effects, it wasn’t nearly as funny and sweet as the original.  Premiere Magazine correctly predicted that “it won’t really work for either kids or adults–but enough of them will come.”.  It just got the placement wrong.  The film made close to 60 million in the summer of 1992.
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Ninth
The Real #15:  Encino Man
Premiere’s Pick:  A League Of Their Own
There really were professional female ballplayers.  From 1943 to 1954, The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (it had three other official names, according to Wikipedia) filled the vacuum that World War II created.  It was a period where women were expected to do “men’s work” while their male counterparts fought Hitler and his allies, and this extended to the sports world.  The roots of the feminist movement and America’s Title IX policy can be traced back to this time in history.
Director Penny Marshall saw a 1987 documentary about the league, attended a 1989 players’ reunion and later swiped the title for her fictional version, written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (who frequently collaborate with Billy Crystal).  Despite the fact that she was riding high on the success of her excellent Awakenings and had a first-rate cast along with a moving and very funny script, Premiere Magazine was decidedly unconvinced of its box office potential:
“They chew, they spit, they scratch their crotches…but it’s not a packed house.”
Wrong.  The film was a monster finishing with close to 110 million in overall revenue.  (Only 3 other films that summer hit nine digits.)  Geena Davis had her second big hit in a row following the even better Thelma & Louise.  Future Monk co-star Bitty Schram had a memorable supporting role.  (“There’s no crying in baseball!”)  Jon Lovitz taught us the joy of “a pickle tickle”.  And most importantly, Tom Hanks began an extraordinary, ongoing run of critically acclaimed commercial juggernauts after a few, bitter disappointments.  It remains one of the most remarkable comebacks by any actor in film history.  2 Best Actor Oscars (won back-to-back; a rare feat) and 2 other nominations later, he continues to add to his treasure trove of hits.  He is still one of the most bankable stars in the business.  Pretty impressive for a guy who starred in The Bonfire Of The Vanities.
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Fourth
The Real #14:  Single White Female
Premiere’s Pick:  Pinocchio
For its seventh theatrical run in America, Premiere Magazine expected this beloved 1940 Disney cartoon to outperform Honey, I Blew Up The Kid in a year where there were few family films.  What they didn’t mention is that the film was widely available on videotape and laserdisc, a significant “Stumbling Block” that should not have been omitted.
That being said, the film did squeeze another 20 million dollars out of eager young audiences wanting to see the film the way it was meant to be seen:  on a giant screen.
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Out Of The Top 20
The Real #13:  Alien 3
Premiere’s Pick:  Honeymoon In Vegas
Nicolas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker play a couple who impulsively marry in Las Vegas but their relationship is tested when Cage offers her to gambler James Caan for a weekend to settle an outstanding poker debt in this terribly unfunny Andrew Bergman comedy.  The deceased Pat Morita has a funny cameo as a cab driver, though.  And we shouldn’t forget The Flying Elvises, the skydiving team that plays a pivotal role in the film’s third act.  (Cage would later be briefly married to Elvis’ daughter, Lisa Marie.  His Elvis rumination remains strong despite the failed relationship.)
Premiere expected it to be a big date movie but alas, it only performed marginally.  Its total take:  35 million.
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Eighteenth
The Real #12:  Unlawful Entry
Jonathan Kaplan’s formulaic thriller about a creepy, corrupt cop (brilliantly played by Ray Liotta) who spends way too much time obsessing about Kurt Russell’s hot wife, Madeline Stowe, after their traumatic experience dealing with a home invader failed to get a single mention in Premiere’s summer movie preview.  Despite the complete snub, the film took in a healthy 57 million.
Premiere’s Pick:  Single White Female
You know you have a hit movie on your hands when Saturday Night Live does a decent parody of it.  Remember Pat, the androgynous character played by Julia Sweeney?  In a skit that aired in the fall of 1992, Pat has a roommate that cops her look and tries to steal her lover played by Dana Carvey.  (“In the dark, you look like kd lang!”)  In the movie version, Jennifer Jason Leigh (in a great performance) moves in with Bridget Fonda (also in fine form) after the latter places a personal ad requesting a roommate.  Unfortunately, Leigh is a bit of a psycho and becomes so obsessed with Fonda (and her boyfriend, Steven Weber) that she not only steals her appearance (including her famous short haircut) she does creepy things for her approval.
Directed by Barbet Shroeder, who made the sensational Reversal Of Fortune, Premiere correctly expected it to be a hit.  Again, they just got the placement wrong.  The August film ultimately made 48 million.
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Fourteenth
The Real #11:  Death Becomes Her
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, September 9, 2007
5:03 p.m.
Published in: on September 9, 2007 at 5:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

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