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

Premiere’s Pick:  For Love Or Money
Originally entitled The Concierge, Michael J. Fox plays what would’ve been the title character, a hotel employee desperate to start his own business.  He makes a deal with a potential investor but there’s a catch.  Before he gets the money, he has to spend some time with Gabrielle Anwar (Al Pacino’s tango partner in Scent Of A Woman), a beautiful young woman who the investor is having an affair with.  As Premiere Magazine aptly put it in its June 1993 issue, “Guess what happens.”
However, the film did not get released in July, as expected.  It got bumped to October where it only managed to earn a paltry 11 million, far from the “solid hit” Premiere was expecting.  Not good considering it cost 30 million to make.  The movie was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld who at that point was best known for making The Addams Family.  (The sequel, Addams Family Values, arrived in theatres a month and a half after For Love Or Money.)  Today, he’s best known for those hugely successful Men In Black movies.  Having seen For Love Or Money at the time of its short run, I can understand why it flopped.  It’s not very good (the premise is weak and there aren’t many laughs) despite the appealing leads.
The Real #15:  Hocus Pocus
Premiere’s Pick:  Dave
Producer Ivan Reitman’s Dave is a charmer about two very different men played by Kevin Kline.  Using The Prince & The Pauper as its inspiration, Dave Kovic, the kindly owner of a temp agency, is called into duty by the US government because he just happens to look exactly like President Bill Mitchell who is incapacitated by a stroke while in the middle of extramarital sex.  It’s a contrived set-up, naturally, but it works wonderfully well, thanks to the funny script and terrific performances across the board.  Sigourney Weaver does a nice turn as The First Lady.  Frank Langella is in his element playing the scheming Chief Of Staff.
The film actually opened in early May, which, for some weird reason is considered the beginning of the summer movie season.  (The first Spider-Man opened in the same month nine years later.)  Nevertheless, it faced stiff competition in the form of Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story which I loathed when I screened it during a special sneak preview.  (It’s not the film biography the kung fu legend deserved.)  While Dragon came on strong out of the gate, Dave garnered momentum over time as word of mouth spread about its quality.  In the end, the film did much better than Premiere expected it to.  It earned a healthy 63 million.  Dragon only made 35 million.
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Eighth
The Real #14:  Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs
Premiere’s Pick:  Super Mario Bros.
Generally, movies based on video games are shit.  I offer you Super Mario Bros. as a clearcut example.  Based on the Nintendo phenomenon (itself a sequel to the original arcade game, Mario Bros.), the film version is about two plumbers.  John Leguizamo plays Luigi, the thin one, and Bob Hoskins plays Mario, the fat one.  (What?  Captain Lou Albano wasn’t available?)  They’re on a mission to save a beautiful princess (the always lovely Samantha Mathis from Pump Up The Volume) who’s being held prisoner by King Koopa (Dennis Hopper).  It’s extremely sad that the only thing I liked about this disaster was Hopper’s tongue.  It had almost nothing going for it and yet, Premiere in its infinite wisdom, thought it would be a commercial success.
Wrong!  The film was only able to recover 21 milllion of its original 48 million budget.  I’m amazed it made even that amount.  Such a useless piece of junk that is rightfully forgotten.
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Out Of The Top 20
The Real #13:  Made In America
Premiere’s Pick:  Made In America
It was one of the least likely celebrity romances ever.  Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson?  Who could’ve predicted it?  In Made In America, Danson plays a used car salesman whose sperm was used to create Goldberg’s daughter, the fetching Nia Long, who is shocked by this revelation.  I never bought their chemistry onscreen.  In fact, the more charming and convincing couple are Long and Will Smith who would again play a romantic pair on the latter’s NBC sitcom, The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air.  When the movie focuses on the younger couple, it’s entertaining.  The rest of the time it just doesn’t work.
Premiere came very close to getting this one exactly right.  They were off by one number.  The film made 45 milion during its cinematic jaunt.  The constant publicity about Ted & Whoopi couldn’t translate into superb reviews or huge returns.
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Thirteen
The Real #12:  Last Action Hero
Premiere’s Pick:  Cliffhanger
The audience didn’t want to see Sylvester Stallone in a comedy.  Both Oscar (a funny farce worth a rental) and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (not worth renting) were soundly rejected.  So, what’s an aging adonis to do?  Make an action pic.  Pronto!
The result was this so-so Renny Harlin flick filmed in The Italian Alps.  It was the last R-rated movie I snuck in to see before turning 18.  Rounding out the cast are John Lithgow as the heel and Janine Turner (before her botched facelift) as Sly’s love interest.  It has its moments and the cinematography is spectacular but it just doesn’t come together for me overall.
The film ended up performing better that Premiere anticipated.  It made a healthy 84 million in theatres.
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Sixth
The Real #11:  Dennis The Menace
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
2:16 p.m.
Published in: on August 5, 2008 at 2:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

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