Mannequin (1987 film)

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Mannequin theatrical release poster
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Gottlieb
Produced by Art Levinson
Edward Rugoff
Joseph Farrell
Written by Michael Gottlieb
Edward Rugoff
Starring Andrew McCarthy
Kim Cattrall
Estelle Getty
James Spader
Meshach Taylor
Music by Sylvester Levay
Cinematography Tim Suhrstedt
Edited by Richard Halsey
Frank E. Jimenez
Distributed by 20th Century Fox (USA) (1987,original)
Cannon Films (International), MGM (2004, DVD)
Release dates
  • February 13, 1987 (1987-02-13)
Running time
90 minutes [1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6 million
Box office $42,721,196[2]

Mannequin is a 1987 romantic comedy fantasy film starring Andrew McCarthy, Kim Cattrall, Meshach Taylor, James Spader, G. W. Bailey, and Estelle Getty. Directed and written by Michael Gottlieb, the film was also co-written by Edward Rugoff. The original music score was composed by Sylvester Levay. The film tells about a chronically underemployed artist named Jonathan Switcher (played by Andrew McCarthy) who gets a job as a department-store window dresser and falls in love with a mannequin (played by Kim Cattrall)—the attraction being that she comes to life on occasion, but only for him.

Mannequin received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for its main title tune, "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" by Starship.[3] The song reached #1 in the Billboard Hot 100 on April 4, 1987, and #1 on the UK Singles Chart for four weeks the following month.

In 1991, a sequel to the film called Mannequin Two: On the Move was released.


In Ancient Egypt, Ema "Emmy" Heshire (Kim Cattrall) hides in a pyramid from her mother, who wants her daughter to marry against Emmy's will. Emmy prays for the gods to get her out of the mess and to find her true love. The gods answer her prayer by making her disappear.

Philadelphia, 1987; young would-be artist Jonathan Switcher (Andrew McCarthy), takes a number of odd jobs. The first job, where he assembles a beautiful, perfect mannequin, portends the rest of the movie and is representative of his efforts. In each of these jobs, Jonathan painstakingly expresses his artistic self; but each of these early employers dismisses him for taking too much time or deviating from a set pattern.

One night, Jonathan is driving in the rain when he passes the Prince & Company department store and recognizes his "perfect" mannequin in a display window. He declares that she is the first work he's ever done that made him feel like an artist. The next morning he manages to save the owner, Claire Timkin (Estelle Getty), from being hit by a falling sign. The grateful Claire hires Jonathan, much to the chagrin of Vice President Richards (James Spader), who assigns Jonathan to be a stock boy. In his spare time, Jonathan hits it off with flamboyant window dresser Hollywood Montrose (Meshach Taylor). That night, Hollywood and Jonathan construct a window display starring Jonathan's mannequin. They have a run-in with the store's night security chief, Captain Felix Maxwell (G. W. Bailey). When Jonathan is alone, the mannequin he is obsessed with comes to life as Emmy.

To the surprise of his detractors, Jonathan's window-dressing for Prince & Company attracts large audiences. Jonathan's arrogant ex-girlfriend Roxie (Carole Davis) and president B.J. Wert (Steve Vinovich), both of rival department store Illustra, learn about it as well. It is revealed that Richards is a corporate spy for Wert. At their board meeting, Richards wants to fire Jonathan, who is ostensibly showing off with the window displays. In contrast, the board members promote Jonathan to visual merchandising.

Emmy and Jonathan's relationship snowballs over the following week. Every night, she helps him to create window displays which dazzle everyone at Prince & Company. As a result, Claire promotes Jonathan to a vice presidency.

As the window designs are bringing a tremendous amount of customers and profit for Prince & Company, people from Illustra plan to steal Emmy—not knowing that she is alive—and put her on display at Illustra. The next day, Roxie offers Jonathan work at Illustra, but is refused as he and Emmy are in love.

Maxwell and Richards break into Prince & Company and search for Emmy. The next morning, Hollywood and Jonathan discover Emmy and other mannequins missing. Jonathan suspects Illustra and dashes there, where he confronts Wert, who is dismissive regarding the stolen property. Roxie storms out of the office, swearing that Jonathan will never see Emmy ever again. Jonathan chases Roxie while being pursued by a dozen security guards. Hollywood bombards the guards with water from a fire hose as Roxie loads Emmy along with the other mannequins into a trash incinerator. Jonathan charges up the trash incinerator's conveyor belt to rescue Emmy. She comes to life in his hands.

Maxwell and his fellow guards rush in, followed by Wert, who attempts to have Jonathan arrested for trespassing. Then Claire walks in and accuses Richards and Maxwell of breaking and entering, conspiracy, kidnapping Emmy, and grand theft. Roxie is fired. Claire, who now owns Illustra as well as Prince & Company, promotes Hollywood to manage the former.

Emmy and Jonathan are married in the shop window of Prince & Company, with Claire as a bridesmaid, and with Hollywood as best man.



In a press release, Michael Gottlieb, the film's director, got the idea for the feature when he was walking down Fifth Avenue and thought he saw a mannequin move in the window of Bergdorf Goodman.[4] Others observe the similarities to the plot of the 1948 film One Touch of Venus.[5]

The film was made based on the marketing principles of noted Hollywood market researcher Joseph Farrell, who served as an executive producer. The film was specifically designed to appeal to target demographics. McCarthy, though not a star, was cast after tests of his films showed that he strongly appealed to girls, the target audience.[6]


Scenes taking place at the fictitious department store Prince & Company were filmed at Wanamaker's flagship store (now Macy's Center City) in Philadelphia. Additional scenes were filmed in the formal gardens behind The Hotel Hershey. Scenes taking place at the fictitious department store Illustra were filmed at the Boscov's department store (previously an E. J. Korvette that was taken over by Boscov's in 1985 after the Korvette's chain went out of business) in the former Camp Hill Mall (now Camp Hill Shopping Center) near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.


Box office[edit]

The film was successful at the box office, grossing over $42 million[2] on a $6 million budget. The film debuted at No. 1 surpassing Over the Top.[7]

Critical response[edit]

Despite its success in box office, the film received mostly negative reviews on its release. It currently holds a 22% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[8] It has since become a cult classic.[9] It was savaged by Leonard Maltin, who called it "[...]absolute rock-bottom fare, dispiriting for anyone who remembers what movie comedy should be." Moreover, the film received "Two Thumbs Down" on Siskel & Ebert and The Movies. In his print review, Roger Ebert awarded it a half star, deeming it "dead" and full of clichés.[4]

Rita Kempley of The Washington Post called the film "made by, for, and about dummies."[10] Janet Maslin of The New York Times puts the blame on the writer/director; "as co-written and directed by Michael Gottlieb, Mannequin is a state-of-the-art showcase of perfunctory technique."[11]


In 1991, a partial sequel called Mannequin Two: On the Move was released and was directed by Stewart Raffill. The film was dubbed as "one of the worst follow-ups ever made."[12]


In 2010, Gladden Entertainment executives were said to be in the "early development" stage of the remake, but they envisioned a plot of the man's having a crush on a "laser display hologram" as opposed to a mannequin.[13][14][15] However, no further details were made public about its development.[16]


Mannequin was released to DVD by MGM Home Video on October 7th, 2004 in a widescreen Region 1 DVD, and was later re-released to DVD on Jan. 11, 2011 in a new double bill edition with Mannequin Two: On the Move as the second disc.


  1. ^ "Mannequin (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 7 April 1987. Retrieved 18 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Mannequin (1987)". Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "60th Academy Awards for Best Original Song". The Academy Awards of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (13 February 1987). "Mannequin Movie Review & Film Summary (1987)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  5. ^ One Touch of Venus review, Vicpine
    One Touch of Venus review, Steven Stanley, StageSceneLA, 7 February 2011
  6. ^ Weber, Bruce (25 December 2011). "Joseph Farrell, Who Used Market Research to Shape Films, Dies at 76". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Mathews, Jack (19 February 1987). "Stallone Loses A Box-office Arm-wrestle". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  8. ^ "Mannequin (1987)". Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "'Mannequin' 25th Anniversary: See A Young James Spader From 1987". Moviefone. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  10. ^ Kempley, Rita (13 February 1987). "'Mannequin' (PG)". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  11. ^ Maslin, Janet (13 February 1987). "Film: A Comedy, 'Mannequin'". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  12. ^ "Kim Cattrall, Andrew McCarthy’s ‘Mannequin’ set for remake". Zee News. 11 January 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  13. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (8 January 2010). "A 'Mannequin' Movie Remake Is In The Works And We Think Zac Efron Should Star!". MTV. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  14. ^ "Mannequin Getting Remade And Why You Should Love It". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Exclusive: Mannequin Redressed!". Moviehole. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  16. ^ Rollo, Sarah (9 January 2010). "'Mannequin' remake in 'early development'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 

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