Flashback: Assessing Premiere Magazine’s 1994 Summer Movie Predictions (Part Three)

 
#10
 
Premiere’s Pick:  The Mask
 
Stanley Ipkiss is an ordinary bank employee who completely transforms his meek personality into something far more cartoonish and powerful after he starts wearing an ancient, wooden mask.  That’s the premise of this Jim Carrey smash, one of three hit pictures he starred in in 1994.  Cameron Diaz, in her film debut, plays his dream girl and the late stand-up comic Richard Jeni plays his buddy at the bank.  State-of-the-art special effects by George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic played a major role in convincing moviegoers to see this overrated comedy on the big screen instead of waiting months later for its full screen home video release.
 
At the end of its summer run, The Mask earned 120 million for its troubles.  Premiere Magazine in its June 1994 issue expected it to do well but not that well.  Carrey wisely avoided making the sequel, Son Of The Mask, which vanished quickly from cinemas in early 2005.  (The less charismatic Jamie Kennedy took over for the rubber-faced Canadian.)  In the years since, Carrey remains a major draw for audiences.  If only he would make a movie I can recommend.
 
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Seventh
 
The Real #10:  Wolf
 
 
#9
 
Premiere’s Pick:  Wyatt Earp
 
It happens every now and again.  Two major studios make two movies about the same subject within a short period.  In 1992, we got 1492: Conquest Of Paradise and Christopher Columbus: The Discovery.  In 1998, there was Deep Impact and Armageddon.  1997 offered both Dante’s Peak and Volcano.  On Christmas Day 1993, Hollywood Pictures released Tombstone and half a year later, we got Wyatt Earp.  The former was a surprise hit despite a problematic shoot while the latter proved to be a major disappointment both critically and commercially.
 
Kevin Costner plays the title character, the famed gunslinger best known for the legendary gunfight at the O.K. Corral.  This wasn’t the first time Wyatt Earp was the subject of a movie and, chances are, it won’t be the last.  Expectations were high for this ambitious, three-hour epic.  According to Premiere, Dennis Quaid lost 43 pounds to play the sickly Doc Holliday.  Gene Hackman was cast to play Costner’s father.  Oscar winners like Dances With Wolves and Unforgiven proved that audiences were still very receptive to the western genre.  So, what went wrong?  It’s simple.  Wyatt Earp is a bad movie.  It’s too slow, it’s forgettable and it had to follow Tombstone (which, it must be noted, wasn’t any good, either).  Made for a little over 60 million, it only made back 25 million.
 
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Out Of The Top 20
 
The Real #9:  The Client
 
 
#8
 
Premiere’s Pick:  Clear And Present Danger
 
The third Jack Ryan adventure was the last to feature Harrison Ford who took over the role in Patriot Games when Alec Baldwin, the actor who played the character first in The Hunt For Red October, backed out to do A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway.  Games performed well in the summer of 1992 but made less than its more respected predecessor.  Without question, the pressure was on Ford and company to outperform both films.
 
Premiere stated its box office prospects plainly:  “Money in the bank.”  In the end, Clear And Present Danger became the highest grossing Jack Ryan film thus far, taking in 122 million (Red October earned 121 million).  Eight years later, Ben Affleck replaced Ford in The Sum Of All Fears which made 118 million. 
 
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Fifth
 
The Real #8:  Maverick
 
 
#7
 
Premiere’s Pick:  City Slickers II: The Legend Of Curly’s Gold
 
The original is not nearly as funny as its proponents have long proclaimed but it’s certainly better than this unnecessary sequel.  The late Bruno Kirby wisely declined to participate a second time so Jon Lovitz takes his place along with the returning Billy Crystal and Daniel Stern.  Lovitz is a very funny comic actor but even he can’t rescue this lame treasure hunt movie.   Jack Palance, who won an Oscar playing the intimidating Curly in the first film, returns as that character’s twin brother.
 
The much loved City Slickers was a major hit in 1991, raking in 124 million.  Number two made a less-than-stellar 44 million.
 
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Fifteenth
 
The Real #7:  The Mask
 
 
#6
 
Premiere’s Pick:  Renaissance Man
 
Hard to believe Penny Marshall (Awakenings, A League Of Their Own) directed this misfire.  Even more baffling is the fact that Premiere believed it would be popular (“…it should do fine in the local multiplex.”).  Despite the presence of the great Danny DeVito and Mark Walhberg (who wisely phased out his silly “Marky Mark” rap persona in favour of a promising movie career), the film offers few laughs or characters to care about.  Premiere’s confidence was misplaced.  The film bottomed out at 24 million.
 
Where The Movie Actually Finished:  Out Of The Top 20
 
The Real #6:  Speed
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, August 16, 2008
3:42 p.m.
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Published in: on August 16, 2008 at 3:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

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