It's official: The summer of 1987 was the highest grossing in the history of motion pictures, bringing in some $1.6 billion between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Paramount had the biggest share of that business, what with the summer's two top grossers, "Beverly Hills Cop II" ($151 million) and "The Untouchables" ($74 million). Warner Bros. was second with "The Witches of Eastwick" ($62 million) and "Full Metal Jacket" ($43 million).
Premiere's Plot Giveaway
One of the regular features of the new movie magazine Premiere -- which was recently given the green light after a test issue that came out in June -- is a "Shot by Shot" section that breaks down noteworthy scenes and discusses them in detail with the filmmakers. The first issue had Brian De Palma talking about the stairway shootout in "The Untouchables." But in the new issue, just out, Premiere gets more daring: The magazine details the final scene -- and in so doing, gives away the ending -- to "The House on Carroll Street," a Peter Yates thriller starring Mandy Patinkin and Kelly McGillis. Because they're spilling the beans, Premiere emblazons the first page of its story with a stamp: "Warning! Do not read this story until you've seen the movie!"
There's only one problem: After the magazine went to press, "The House on Carroll Street" had its opening date moved; though it was originally supposed to be out already, it now won't be in the theaters until January. Which means readers can either hang on to those issues until then, ignore the story, or ignore the warning.
Corman, Remembering 'Mama'
Maybe he was feeling nostalgic for the good old days of B-movies. Whatever the reason, one-time "King of the Bs" Roger Corman reverted to his old "make 'em fast, make 'em cheap" ways when he was on the set of "Big Bad Mama II," his sequel to the 1974 action movie remembered mostly for Angie Dickinson's nude scenes. It's not that he's making the movie in two weeks or anything -- but according to American Film magazine, Corman decided on a Friday that he wanted to use the brothel set built for "Big Bad Mama II" for another movie. Trouble was, the other movie wasn't written and the set was available in six days. Over the weekend, Corman's staff found a director (Joe Minion, the scriptwriter of "After Hours") and got to work on a story; on Monday Minion started casting, and the film was ready to go when the set became available on Thursday. Titled "Be My Mama," the resulting quickie is due out this fall.
The Oscar Roundup: One More to Go
In its quest to put a complete set of Academy Awards on display in Beverly Hills, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has now rounded up Oscars from every year but one. It still needs a statue from the 1929-1930 ceremony -- but it's tough, because at that awards ceremony only eight Oscars were handed out. "All Quiet on the Western Front" won for best picture and best director; George Arliss ("Disraeli") and Norma Shearer ("The Divorcee") won the acting awards; and the other four went to "The King of Jazz" (art direction), "With Byrd at the South Pole" (cinematography) and "The Big House" (writing and sound).
The 'Willow' Windfall
The movie won't be out until next summer, but Tonka Toys, Ballantine Books and Random House all want a part of the Ron Howard-directed "Willow." It's no surprise that the fantasy film has spawned merchandising deals for a line of toys, a novel and a series of children's books, or that about a dozen other merchandising deals are reportedly in the works -- after all, "Willow" is based on a story by master merchandiser George Lucas and will be released through MGM by Lucasfilm Ltd. They say the movie's about an epic struggle between good and evil ...