Kevthewriter wonders why Warren Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply bombed.
Pretend you are a high powered Hollywood producer. The year is 1992 – a time when movie stars mattered. If you wanted to open a hit movie, you needed an A-list leading man. In order to attract top-tier talent, deals were being struck that included ever-increasing pay days for a select group of movie stars. In the July 1992 issue of Movieline magazine, they looked at who was earning six million dollars or more per picture and asked, are they worth it? Some of these guys may have been. Some, in retrospect, definitely weren’t . With the benefit of a quarter century of hindsight, let’s sort out who belongs in which group.
There is no such thing as bad publicity. Or so they say. Some publicists clearly disagree. In the April 1992 issue of Movieline magazine, Jeffrey Wells detailed ten celebrity profiles that struck a sour note with the subject of the interview. When possible, he checked in with the authors to see what impact the notorious article had on their career. Through the wonders of the internet, I have included links to the original articles that aren’t hidden behind a paywall.
Warren Beatty, who is a fourteen-time Oscar nominee, is turning 80 today. Inspired by the success of his older sister, Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine, he dropped out of Northwestern University to study acting with Stella Adler. In 1960 he was a Tony nominee for William Inge’s A Loss of Roses, and a year later he made his film debut in Splendor in the Grass, winning a Golden Globe for Best Newcomer and receiving a second Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor (they were the first of eighteen Golden Globe nominations and six wins.
His first Oscar nominations came in 1967, when he produced and starred in a film about a 1930s outlaw couple. Beatty was nominated for Best Picture as the producer of Bonnie and Clyde and Best Actor for playing Clyde Barrow.
Poor Warren Beatty. The man hasn’t made a movie since Town & Country all the way back in 2001 and now he’s come back 15 years later for a passion project he’s wanted to do ever since the 70’s and…no one saw it. When I went to see it in the theater, I was literally the only person there and it was the pre-show. I also work at a movie theater and, when I took tickets one time, only three people went to see it. It seems that, unfortunately, the world has forgotten about Warren.
That being said, I wish I could say this is an underrated movie, an instant classic, and it’s a shame more people aren’t going to see it. I want to see the guy, after having hid out for all these years, come back with a great movie, maybe even a masterpiece. Unfortunately, however, his new movie isn’t that great. To be fair, though, it’s not awful, it’s just…uneven.
James Toback had a bad reputation. The controversial writer-director was better known for his carousing than his filmography. An expose in Spy Magazine portrayed Toback as a predatory pick-up artist more interested in sex than making movies. In the October 1991 issue of Movieline magazine, Stephen Rebello asked Toback about his reputation as a drug addict and a womanizer. They also discussed his friendship with Warren Beatty for whom Toback wrote the then up-coming feature, Bugsy.
In 1990, every Hollywood Studio was looking for the next Batman – a tentpole movie that wouldn’t just sell a lot of tickets but could also be marketed out the wazoo. Disney was pretty sure they had exactly that with their big summer release, Dick Tracy. They had a big star/director in Warren Beatty, a pop culture sensation in Madonna and a character who had stood the test of time like the Dark Knight. Not to mention a cast that included all of Beatty’s famous Hollywood friends.
The road to the big screen was a long one. The June issue of Movieline documented all of the project’s false starts, delays, struggles and law suits.
In 1989, Tim Burton’s Batman was a phenomenon. So it seemed like a given that the summer of 1990 would belong to Warren Beatty’s comic-strip adventure, Dick Tracy. The movie boasted big stars like Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Madonna and of course Beatty himself. Also like Batman, Dick Tracy had an eye-popping visual style. Throw in original songs written by Stephen Sondheim and a promotional tour by the Material Girl and Dick Tracy seemed like a can’t miss blockbuster. Disney revved up the merchandise machine and prepared to count the money as it rolled in. But despite a massive marketing push, Dick Tracy didn’t become the phenomenon it seemed destined to be.