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The RoboCop 2 Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Timeline Man, Apr 8, 2021.

  1. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples Thread Starter

    Location:
    Naples
    ORION's failure:

    According to Reference for Business: "Of the first 18 movies the company had released as Orion Pictures Corporation, ten had been profitable, five had broken even, and three had losses of less than $2 million."[4] One such film, Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club, was mired in legal troubles and Orion lost $3 million of its investment.[4] "We've had some singles and doubles [but haven't] had any home runs," lamented Krim.[4] In September 1984, Orion distributed Amadeus, which garnered many accolades, winning eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture.[4]

    For Orion, 1985 was a dismal year. All but two films, Desperately Seeking Susan and Code of Silence, made less than $10 million in the United States box office, including an unsuccessful attempt at a James Bond–type franchise, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.[4] Orion's haphazard distribution channels and unsuccessful advertising campaigns made it impossible to achieve a hit. Another factor was that Orion was about to venture into the video business and stopped selling off home use rights to its films. Furthermore, production of the Rodney Dangerfield comedy Back to School was put on hold when a co-producer died, taking the film off of its Christmas 1985 release slate.[13]

    In 1989, Orion suffered from a disastrous slate of films, placing themselves dead last among the larger Hollywood studios in terms of box office revenue. Among its biggest flops that year were Great Balls of Fire!, the biography of Jerry Lee Lewis starring Dennis Quaid and Winona Ryder; She-Devil, a dark comedy starring Meryl Streep and Roseanne Barr; Speed Zone, an action comedy vehicle for SCTV alumni John Candy, Joe Flaherty, and Eugene Levy; and Miloš Forman's adaptation of Les Liaisons dangereuses, Valmont, which competed with Dangerous Liaisons, also based on the same source material. Test screenings of the "Weird Al" Yankovic comedy UHF were so strong that Orion had high expectations for it. It flopped at first,[4] but it has since attained a strong cult following.[17]

    In February 1990, Orion signed a deal with Columbia Pictures Entertainment in which the much larger studio would pay Orion $175 million to distribute Orion's movies and television programs overseas. Orion had previously licensed its films to individual distributors territory by territory.[4] That same month, Mike Medavoy left Orion and became head of Tri-Star Pictures.[18]

    The box-office returns for Orion's 1990 releases were just as dismal as the previous year, with such failures as The Hot Spot and State of Grace.

    After failing to sell Orion to businessman (and former 20th Century Fox owner) Marvin Davis (Sony, which had recently purchased Columbia Pictures was also interested),[20] Kluge took drastic steps. First, Orion shut down production. Second, Kluge ordered the sale of several projects, such as The Addams Family (which went to Paramount, though the international rights to the film were retained by Orion), in order to accumulate much-needed cash. Finally, in the spring of 1991, Kluge's people took over the company, leading to the departure of Arthur Krim.[21] Orion's financial problems were so severe, that at the 63rd Annual Academy Awards in March 1991, host Billy Crystal made reference to the studio's debt in his opening monologue, joking that "Reversal of Fortune [is] about a woman in a coma, Awakenings [is] about a man in a coma; and Dances with Wolves [was] released by Orion, a studio in a coma."[22]

    It was during this time that ABC stepped in to co-finance and assume production over many of Orion TV's shows it had in production, such as American Detective and Equal Justice.

    On November 25, 1991, Orion sold its Hollywood Squares format rights to King World Productions after Orion closed down its television division.[23] On December 11, 1991, Orion filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[4]

    In December 1991, Orion was in talks with New Line Cinema, a successful independent film company, to acquire the bankrupt studio. By the following April, Orion and New Line Cinema cancelled their plans on the issue of price. Republic Pictures and the then-new Savoy Pictures also attempted to buy Orion, but no deal materialized.[24][25]
     
  2. Juan Matus

    Juan Matus Reformed Audiophile

    I guess I probably wouldn't like it if RoboCop is barely in it!
     
    Maggie likes this.
  3. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples Thread Starter

    Location:
    Naples
    RoboCop 2 has a superior script to that.
     
  4. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I don't disagree that the produced version of RoboCop 2 is superior to the Corporate Wars draft script, although the latter has some very interesting ideas and disturbing set pieces. Much of the credit for the success of RoboCop 2 has to go to Walon Green, who was given the task of whipping Frank Miller's massive and unfocused original RoboCop 2 draft into shape, and making it more closely resemble the first movie. Virtually all of the elements Green cut out of Miller's draft were recycled into RoboCop 3.

    A completed Corporate Wars would have been much more ambitious than the produced version of Robocop 2, but not necessarily better.
     
    Timeline Man likes this.
  5. Juan Matus

    Juan Matus Reformed Audiophile

    I also read that they offered the job of writing the script to Alan Moore and Frank Miller. Moore said no.
     
    Chrome_Head and Timeline Man like this.
  6. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples Thread Starter

    Location:
    Naples
    Weird enough, RoboCop has some points in common with Swamp Thing, especially in regards to the concept of "identity".
     
    Chrome_Head and Juan Matus like this.
  7. Glaeken

    Glaeken Forum Resident

    Location:
    OH
    Despite good reactions at the time, a lot of the real warmth Robocop has received took decades to build. Probably because 30 years on, the film's satire is more on the nose now than it was back then.

    As someone who was in his teens, I can say that in 1987 the film was embraced surprisingly against yes, somewhat low expectations. Kids always thought it was cool from the get-go, because kids aren't afraid to love something that looks or sounds stupid!

    Yet three years later, in my same circle of teen friends who thought Robocop was great, none of them was excited about a sequel. Not one. Had zero to do with bad word of mouth, since the film hadn't been screened. Everyone was more into PREDATOR, LETHAL WEAPON/DIE HARD franchises, and the rebirth of martial arts action (Steven Seagal was at his height from 1988-1991).
     
  8. Greek Nacho

    Greek Nacho Responsible and Well-Adjusted Individual

    Location:
    United States
    In the commentary included on that Arrow Video release of the film with Paul Verhoeven he even says they were embarrassed by the title after a while. I remember saying it was a great film to somebody once, and they looked at me like I was nuts. I had to explain the whole thing was a huge satire, and a great action flick on top of that.
    Well these threads attract admirers of the film, especially when they have "appreciation thread" in the title. I don't think Oatsdad is flaming, he's just got a different perspective, and if I know anything about him, he's not afraid of arguing it!
     
    Chrome_Head and Glaeken like this.
  9. Glaeken

    Glaeken Forum Resident

    Location:
    OH
    Poor Orion. BACK TO SCHOOL, REMO, and CODE OF SILENCE were all great movies.
     
    Timeline Man likes this.
  10. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples Thread Starter

    Location:
    Naples
    As simple as that, both RoboCop and RoboCop 2 were critical "sleeper hits" which needed time to develop avid fans and ADULT admirers. Before that, they were just regarded as video hits loved by kids.
     
  11. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples Thread Starter

    Location:
    Naples
    REMO is a cult classic. In Italy, it was a hit.
     
  12. Greek Nacho

    Greek Nacho Responsible and Well-Adjusted Individual

    Location:
    United States
    I wouldn't go that far, I mean the two biggest critics of the day really enjoyed the first flick right away, particularly Siskel.

     
    NaturalD likes this.
  13. Greek Nacho

    Greek Nacho Responsible and Well-Adjusted Individual

    Location:
    United States
    Can't say the same of the sequel!

     
    NaturalD and SRC like this.
  14. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I think you overstate the point a little. The Criterion edition of RoboCop came out in the mid-'90s (LD first, then on DVD in '98), indicating it was already being taken seriously as a classic by then.

    But you're right. The main way that the reception of the first film has changed over time is that its satirical aims have become more apparent. Certainly when I was a kid (I saw it when I was 6 or 7, so in the very early '90s), the movie was not widely considered funny or satirical -- nor was Starship Troopers. In retrospect this seems like insanity, but satire has always been the hardest art to grasp.

    But when I was a kid, just speaking anecdotally, everyone I knew was into RoboCop.
     
    Chrome_Head and Timeline Man like this.
  15. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples Thread Starter

    Location:
    Naples
    Some of their reviews and stances are controversial, to say the least!

    RoboCop 2 was fastly addressed for its violence and depiction of kids, very ahead of its time.
     
  16. Glaeken

    Glaeken Forum Resident

    Location:
    OH
    Unfortunately, the new generation doesn't like or get RoboCop at all. You'd be hard pressed to find too many young people who enjoy it (and probably half of those were introduced to it by parents).
     
  17. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA.
    What are you basing that assumption on?
     
  18. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples Thread Starter

    Location:
    Naples
    No, it's not RoboCop's "fault". Young people have NOT YET discovered eighties classics. AFter all, I was born in 1977, and I discovered many sixties and seventies classics only when I turned 30 or so.
     
  19. Glaeken

    Glaeken Forum Resident

    Location:
    OH
    I wasn't going to bring this up, because most people hated PRIME DIRECTIVES but... technically I am in that movie.

    The screenwriter was an acquaintance and offered to get me a bit part or extra part during filming. I was in college and couldn't just pack up and go to Canada, so... he offered to put me in a different way.

    There's a parody news update with a tribute to fallen police officers, featuring a list of names that scrolls forever. I'm in there.

    My big Hollywood break... not!
     
    Timeline Man likes this.
  20. Glaeken

    Glaeken Forum Resident

    Location:
    OH
    Just anecdotally. Most younger people I've talked to know the name, but have either not seen the movie or think it's stupid.

    The poor box office return on the remake would seem to bear it out. I suspect most of the ticket buyers were curious fans of the original who saw it in 1987.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
    Chrome_Head likes this.
  21. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples Thread Starter

    Location:
    Naples
    LOL, this is great! Kudos.

    By the way, despite being a huge RoboCop fan, I never watched "Prime Directives". Hopefully it will be released on HD somewhere in time.
     
    Glaeken likes this.
  22. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples Thread Starter

    Location:
    Naples
    Too bad the remake did not feature RoboCop, but Alex Murphy encased in a robot body.
     
  23. Glaeken

    Glaeken Forum Resident

    Location:
    OH
    It's on Amazon Prime currently.

    To be fair to Joe, he got the essence of what made RoboCop tick, and was determined to make something that, while a TV movie, avoided the "kiddie" aspect while still being comic-bookish. Budget, format, and cast limitations aside, I think he did okay.

    Some ideas are inspired from deleted scenes or discarded screenplays. For example there is a scene where RoboCop visits his grave, gets angry and smashes his tombstone. That scene was filmed but never used for ROBOCOP 2.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
    Timeline Man likes this.
  24. Timeline Man

    Timeline Man Time Traveler from Naples Thread Starter

    Location:
    Naples
    On Amazon... on HD?

    The grave scene would be cool to see, but maybe a step a bit too far from the concept... just don't forget: RoboCop is not really Murphy. Even if he likes to believe so.
     
  25. Maggie

    Maggie funky but chic

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    It's...34 years old. How many 34-year-old movies were you into as a "young person"?
     
    Timeline Man likes this.

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