After Paramount’s $12 million “The Brady Bunch Movie” almost recouped its costs in its first week and went on to a domestic gross of about $45 million, you had to know that some studio executive would be dusting off those old Partridge Family albums.
Sure enough, Warner Bros. has made a deal with show creator Bernard Slade and producers Paul Witt and Tony Thomas’ Witt-Thomas banner to develop a feature version of “The Partridge Family.” The ABC sitcom ran from 1970-’74 and starred Shirley Jones as the single mother of a singing group that included David Cassidy, Susan Dey and Danny Bonaduce.
Slade wrote the pilot and nine “Partridge” episodes, as well as the pilots of such sitcoms as “Bewitched” and “The Flying Nun” before becoming best known as a playwright behind “Same Time, Next Year” and others. He confirmed the deal and said he wouldn’t be writing the script, but would serve as executive producer. “I expected that when the ‘Brady Bunch’ hit, we’d have conversations,” said Slade. “It’s the Nick at Nite thing, where they’ve rerun these shows so often, it’s created a nostalgic feeling.”
Meanwhile, Paramount and producer Alan Ladd Jr. are now trying to decide whether the Bradys merit a bunch of films or just one. They’re on the bubble, though there’s cause for optimism due to strong early returns in Australia, where the film did $700,000 its opening weekend – beating “Outbreak” – and opened stronger than Par’s “Addams Family.”
One problem is that Bonnie and Terry Turner, who wrote the script with Laurice Elehwany and Rick Copp, are off creating a sitcom for Carsey-Werner and won’t be scripting the next “Bunch.” Everyone else is readily available, with director Betty Thomas still in talks to do MGM’s “Sacred Cows,” which is more in the “Green Acres” than the “Brady Bunch” vein: It’s about a U.S. president who has a one-night stand with a cow.