HIGH POINTS: The studio scored big with two of its star-driven pix, “The Firm” and “Indecent Proposal”– both breaking the domestic $ 100 million threshold — after just one such performer in ’92.
Par’s deal with Tom Cruise continues to yield results. Performances by studio talent staples Joe Pesci, Richard Gere, Eddie Murphy and Bridget Fonda gave the slate diversity. Pairings of old guard and comers with top directors sets Par apart from other lots.
LOW POINTS: With few exceptions, budgets often didn’t jibe with grosses, as in the case of”Coneheads.” The dismal domestic take on “Sliver” proved that everybody doesn’t like to watch (although a more explicit cut of the film was a hit overseas). Sequels seemingly fared poorly on the totals, with “Addams Family Values” putting a pin in the balloon of high expectations. “Wayne’s World 2” opened big but fell off quickly. “Beverly Hills Cop 3,” originally on the summer slate, was pushed back a full year. Despite fast-tracking the animated, live-action “Me and My Shadow,” a’94 slate entry appears improbable.
RISING STARS: Scripter Jeb Stuart’s “Drop Zone”– directed by John Badham — is the buzz film of the lot. On the heels of his rewrite of “The Fugitive,” Stuart recently pocketed seven figures for a seven-year-old script, “Going West in America.” Production veep Tom Levine is also getting high marks from creative types.
OUTLOOK FOR ’94: Sequels will continue to play a big part in Par’s release slate. “BH Cop 3,””Star Trek VII” and “Naked Gun 33- 1/3” are among returning properties. Films helmed by Barry Levinson and William Friedkin figure prominently in the release strategy. A 25-pic slate is almost double ’93’s 14. The in-housing of several operations — such as homevideo PR and media buying — and the creation of a consumer products division to augment its licensing and merchandising entity should give the studio more of an equal footing with rivals.
CORPORATE SPIN: “The (QVC deal) involves our parent,” said Barry London, Par’s president of motion picture group marketing and distribution. I’m not privy to the terms of the deal, but for us it’s business as usual despite (QVC) coming in. Our goal is to deliver a number of films, in a variety of genres to make us competitive in the marketplace.”