Flashback: Assessing Premiere Magazine’s 1993 Summer Movie Predictions (Part Three)

Premiere’s Pick:  Sliver
Sharon Stone was the hottest thing on two legs after the release of Basic Instinct in the spring of 1992.  Instead of steering clear of erotic thrillers, however, she plunged right into another one the following summer.  Based on the novel by Ira Levin (who also wrote A Kiss Before Dying), she plays a short-haired cutie named Carly whose new apartment has been the scene of many murders.  Not only that, someone is secretly watching the comings and goings of every tenant in a secret surveillance room, easily the most interesting aspect of the film.  William Baldwin and Tom Berenger also starred in this disappointment, yet another movie with a ridiculous ending.
Premiere Magazine had high hopes for it when they counted down their picks for the Top 20 summer grossers of 1993 in their June issue.  Despite being produced by Robert Evans (The Godfather, Chinatown), Sliver only sold 36 million worth of tickets.  Stone would redeem herself with a very good performance in Martin Scorsese’s Casino two years later.
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Nineteenth
The Real #10:  Rookie Of The Year
Daniel Stern made his directorial debut with this surprise hit about a kid who accidentally develops a killer fastball after a fateful fall which leads to an unlikely gig pitching for The Chicago Cubs.  I thought little of this unfunny misfire the two occasions I screened it but audiences strongly disagreed.  The film, which featured real life ball players like Barry Bonds and John Candy as a play-by-play announcer, ultimately made 54 million.  Premiere mentioned it in its “Underdogs and Overachievers” section.
Premiere’s Pick & The Real #9:  Rising Sun
After eleven misses, they finally got one right.  One of two summer hits based on Michael Crichton bestsellers, Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes are police officers called in to investigate a sexually based murder in a Japanese corporation’s boardroom.  Wayne Campbell’s girlfriend, Tia Carrere, also stars.
Critics were mixed but that didn’t deter audiences.  The film did reasonably well earning roughly 63 million during its entire theatrical run.
Premiere’s Pick:  In The Line Of Fire
Clint Eastwood had a very strong 1993.  Between collecting two Oscars for producing and directing the great Unforgiven and overseeing the release of the underrated A Perfect World (which featured Kevin Costner in one of his best performances), there was this first-rate thriller directed by Wolfgang Petersen (who would go on to make The Perfect Storm).  Eastwood plays a guilt-ridden Secret Service agent still smarting over not being able to protect President Kennedy that awful day in Texas.  Thirty years later, former CIA employee John Malkovich is following in the footsteps of Lee Harvey Oswald by plotting to kill the current American leader.
Alternately gripping and funny, it was easily one of 1993’s best offerings.  After they failed to foresee the blockbuster qualities inherent in Unforgiven, Premiere was not about to let this one escape their notice.  In the end, In The Line Of Fire did about the same business as Eastwood’s western sleeper.  It made a very robust 102 million.  As usual, Premiere got the placement wrong.
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Fifth
The Real #8:  Dave
Premiere’s Pick & The Real #7:  Free Willy
Even though that damn trailer gave away the whole movie, the family audience still came out for it.  Jason James Richter, in a nice, unaffected performance, plays a kid whose life changes for the better when he gradually bonds with a killer whale in captivity.  Michael Madsen of all people plays his foster dad.  Normally the heel in movie after movie, he shows his range in this rare good guy role.  Lori Petty (A League Of Their Own) and August Schellenberg are fine here, as well.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed the film.  After disliking Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, I was even more surprised that I liked Free Willy 3, as well.  Premiere nailed this one right on the head.
Premiere’s Pick:  The Firm
John Grisham’s second novel about a naive law graduate who unwittingly ends up working for a firm corrupted by the mob became his first bestseller and the first to be adapted for the big screen.  Tom Cruise nearly directed this two and a half hour thriller which also starred Gene Hackman, Jeanne Tripplehorn, David Strathairn and Wilford Brimley in an unexpectedly villainous turn.  Despite its length, it became a major blockbuster.  Holly Hunter received a controversial Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.
I preferred the ending in the novel.  Nevertheless, despite paling in comparison to other summer offerings like In The Line Of Fire and What’s Love Got To Do With It, it’s still a good popcorn movie.  It was the biggest success of July 1993 earning a solid 158 million.
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Third
The Real #6:  Cliffhanger
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
10:04 p.m.
Published in: on August 5, 2008 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

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