The summer of 1992 was a disappointing season for movies. There were only a few money-makers, and a lot of rubbish. Here now is a rundown of all the hits, near misses, and bombs of the summer of 1992:
Alien 3 - David Fincher, who before directing "Alien 3," directed music videos for Madonna and various other artists, relied too much on the production designers and the visual effects, rather than the narrative. "Alien 3" only managed to pull down $50.5 million at the box office. It failed in comparison with Ridley Scott's "Alien" and James Cameron's "Aliens." "Alien 3" was a near miss.
Batman Returns - Special effects and the dark, gothic appearance of Tim Burton's much anticipated sequel just barely covered the thin and uninspiring screenplay by Daniel Waters ("Heathers"). "Batman Returns" made about $170 million at the box office this summer, which was less than half what the original "Batman" made in the summer of 1989.
Patriot Games - This techno-thriller was one of the true hits of the summer season. The movie was adapted from Tom Clancy's bestseller. Harrison Ford superbly plays the role of C.I.A. man Jack Ryan (formerly played by Alec Baldwin). Director Phillip Noyce ("Dead Calm") does a fine job of blending the action and suspense and making the characters believable. "Patriot Games" is definitely a sure-fire hit.
Lethal Weapon 3 - Mel Gibson and Danny Glover are reunited for a third time in Richard Donner's "Lethal Weapon 3." This film dido't deserve the attacks it received from the critics. "Lethal 3" is a well-acted, action-comedy adventure which emphasizes the problem with gangs in this country and the availability of guns on the streets. "Lethal Weapon 3" made nearly $200 million at the box office, making it a mega-hit.
Encino Man - To be plain and simple, "Encino Man" was a dud! It was targeted to the teen audience, hoping it would be a hit. Well, it seems Hollywood misinterpreted the intelligence of America's teenager.
Raising Cain -This film was another major disappointment from Brian DePalma, who made such great films as "Scarface," "Carrie," and "The Untouchables." Although the subject matter and the star quality were good, particularly the extreme diversity of John Lithgow as a psycho-killer/loving husband who was fun to watch, the story was moronic at best. "Raising Cain" was a failure for Brian DePalma and a bomb at the box office.
The rest of the hits at the box office this summer were Penny Marshall's "A League of Their Own," which told the story of the women's baseball league during World War II, also the surprise sleeper "Sister Act" and Clint Eastwood's revisionist Western "Unforgiven," which is still going strong. Another bomb was "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery," which was the most pathetic display of movie making I have seen since "Ishtar."
The fall and winter film seasons look more promising, including Francis Ford Coppola's "Dracula," Rob Reiner's "A Few Good Men," and Billy Crystal's "Mr. Saturday Night." (See review this page.) There is also the much-anticipated "Malcolm X," "Home Alone 2," and Danny DeVito's "Hoffa." Let's hope this summer of discontent won't cast a shadow over the impressive list of films yet to come. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.