Some of December’s biggest movies will have a nostalgic ring — at least for anyone who defines ”the good old days” as 1992. Here are three contenders hoping to prove the old Hollywood axiom that making money is easier the second time around.
Starring: Charles Grodin, Bonnie Hunt, Debi Mazar, Chris Penn.
Directed by: Rod Daniel.
First film’s gross: $57 million.
Like every sequel, this one tries to be bigger and better, which means more exotic locations (a lake resort in Montana), a more complicated plot (Beethoven mates, siring four very sought-after Saint Bernard puppies), and bigger egos all around. ”Imagine a dog barking with an English accent,” says Grodin. ”The success really went to his head. We’re dealing with a little bit of a prima donna thing. He was in a cage in the first one. Now he’s got a motor home.” (Dec. 17)
Buzz: Can’t lose, no matter how big a dog it is.
Sister Act 2
Starring: Whoopi Goldberg, Kathy Najimy, Maggie Smith, Barnard Hughes, Michael Jeter, James Coburn, Brad Sullivan.
Directed by: Bill Duke.
First film’s gross: $139 million.
Yes, there are second acts in American life — they just look exactly like Act I. In this still-filming sequel, Duke promises more of what the first Sister Act had — ”comedy with heart” — plus five or six rousing musical numbers by Marc Shaiman. ”Whoopi is happy,” says Duke, ”and when Whoopi’s happy, I’m happy.” Goldberg should be: She was paid a reported $7 million to get back into black. This time, Vegas lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier and her nun pals mount a musical competition, using streetwise school kids, while the villainous Coburn thwarts her attempts to keep St. Francis High open. (Dec. 10)
Buzz: A hot star and a creaky premise didn’t hurt the first film. Besides, old habits die hard.
Wayne’s World 2
Starring: Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Tia Carrere, Christopher Walken, Kim Basinger, Drew Barrymore, Harry Shearer, Charlton Heston.
Directed by: Stephen Surjik.
First film’s gross: $121 million.
Reports of disputes on the set of the first Wayne’s World and rumors of trouble on So I Married an Axe Murderer threatened to follow Myers to WW2. But word is that everyone, even Basinger, is behaving well. ”We did Wayne’s World 1 in 35 days under tough, rushed circumstances, writing as we went along,” says producer Lorne Michaels. ”It was very hard on everyone. The resulting success was a surprise. It’s disorienting to people — they come out of it and go through big changes.”
One very big change is the absence of director Penelope Spheeris, whose clashes with Myers during the first adventure were widely reported. Her replacement for the $15 million to $20 million sequel is Kids in the Hall director Surjik, making his feature debut. Under his tutelage, Cassandra (Carrere) records with smarmy A&R man Walken — Wayne’s rival — and Wayne and Garth stage a Waynestock concert. (Dec. 10)
Buzz: NOT…so hot.