The Flintstones (film)
Theatrical poster for The Flintstones, designed by Drew Struzan
|Directed by||Brian Levant|
|Produced by||Bruce Cohen|
|Written by||Tom S. Parker
Steven E. de Souza
|Based on||The Flintstones
by Hanna-Barbera Productions
|Music by||David Newman|
|Editing by||Kent Beyda|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||91 minutes|
The Flintstones is a 1994 American comedy film directed by Brian Levant and written by Tom S. Parker, Jim Jennewein and Steven E. de Souza. A live-action adaptation of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon television series The Flintstones, the film stars John Goodman as Fred Flintstone, Rick Moranis as Barney Rubble, Elizabeth Perkins as Wilma Flintstone, and Rosie O'Donnell as Betty Rubble, along with Kyle MacLachlan as an executive-vice president of Fred's company, Halle Berry as his seductive secretary and Elizabeth Taylor, in her final theatrical film, as Wilma's mother. The B-52's performed a different version of the theme song. The Flintstones was shot in California at an estimated budget of $46,000,000. The film was released on May 27, 1994 and was a box-office success, though it received generally negative reviews from film critics. Observers criticized the storyline and tone, which they deemed too adult for family audiences, but was praised with the setting and art direction.
The film opens with a montage of scenes reflecting work at Slate & Co., with dinosaurs using rocks for quarry mines.
Cliff Vandercave (Kyle MacLachlan), the executive vice president of industrial procurement of the company, explains to his co-worker Sharon Stone (Halle Berry) that he will swindle the company and flee with its fortune, and suggests Fred Flintstone (John Goodman) to help carry out his plans, which leads into a montage of the opening credits of The Flintstones.
While Fred leaves work for the day, Barney Rubble (Rick Moranis) is overjoyed that he is about to become a father because Fred loaned him money so he could adopt a child. After returning home, Fred is questioned by his wife, Wilma (Elizabeth Perkins) about missing money from the bank account and confesses that he loaned the money to Barney so he and his wife, Betty (Rosie O'Donnell) could adopt a child. After adopting a cave boy named Bamm-Bamm, Barney appreciates what Fred did for him and is determined to pay him back. While taking the exams, Fred fails it, and is dissatisfied and upset since he will be unable to give Wilma the wealthy life she used to have. To pay him back for giving him the money to adopt Bamm-Bamm, Barney (who did well on the exam) swaps his with Fred's and Fred is promoted to Vice President.
On Fred's first day as an executive, Cliff brings him to his new office. Cliff also has Stone appointed as his secretary knowing that Fred's attraction to her will lead him astray to the plot. Cliff has Fred fire Barney because of his exam score, Fred tries to refuse to fire Barney, but Cliff warns him if he doesn't fire Barney, not only will Cliff fire him, but Fred would be fired too, Fred told Barney about his exam score and promises that he will help him with money. Cliff proposes a new machine that will do all of the quarry work and increase the company's income. Fred is concerned about the operators losing their jobs. Cliff plans to have a fake version of the machine built then flee with the money gained from the machine, and frame Fred for it.
Fred nearly figures out about Cliff's plan, so Stone aggressively seduces him and Fred finally gives in to his desires, but is interrupted by Wilma. The Rubbles move into the Flintstones' house, causing tension between the Flintstones and the Rubbles, while the Flintstones' wealth increases. While out at a restaurant, Barney, now working as a busboy, sees on the news that Fred has dismissed all of the quarry operators. He confronts him about it, and their argument leads to Barney revealing that he switched their tests. The Rubbles move out of the house and Wilma leaves Fred.
Fred eventually discovers Cliff's plan and then runs away and is walking around Bedrock in a disguise, and the disguise is exposed by an angry mob of the unemployed quarry operators, they chase Fred all over Bedrock until they caught him and attempt to hang him and Barney (who showed up in a Sno Cone truck that played The Jetsons theme song) once they find out it was because of him that Fred was promoted to the job. Fred and Barney reconcile while Wilma, Betty and the office dictabird arrive at the scene, Fred and The Dictabird explains what happened, Then the mob decides to release Fred and Barney after finding out that Cliff was the one who really fired them, When the Flintstones and Rubbles return home, they find out that Cliff had broken into The Flintstones' home and kidnapped Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm and Cliff demanded that the Dictabird be brought back to the quarry in the morning and warns the Flintstones and Rubbles not to call the police.
The next morning Fred and Barney arrive and hand the Dictabird to Cliff and then they find Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm tied up near Cliff's machine, Fred tries to stop the machine while Barney tries to save the kids. Meanwhile Cliff attempts to kill the dictabird, but is knocked out by Stone, who had realized Cliff's eventual betrayal.
While Barney rescues the kids, Fred uses the catapult to destroy Cliff's machine, causing Cliff to be killed in a mixture of water and crushed rocks, just as he was about to escape from the police. Stone is arrested, but Fred promises to vouch for her after the way she helped them. Mr. Slate (Dann Florek) proclaims his love of the substance that Cliff was trapped in, deciding to name it after his daughter Concretia, and declares the Stone Age over with its creation. Slate offers Fred the presidency of a new division in the company, but Fred turns it down in exchange for his old job back, Slate rehiring all the workers, and adding a few other improvements to the workplace he had originally desired as an executive.
The film then closes with a montage of the end credits of the original series.
- John Goodman as Fred Flintstone
- Elizabeth Perkins as Wilma Flintstone
- Rick Moranis as Barney Rubble
- Rosie O'Donnell as Betty Rubble
- Kyle MacLachlan as Cliff Vandercave
- Halle Berry as Miss Sharon Stone
- Elizabeth Taylor as Pearl Slaghoople
- Richard Moll as Hoagie
- Irwin Keyes as Joe Rockhead
- Harvey Korman as the voice of the Dictabird
- Dann Florek as Mr. Slate
- Jonathan Winters as Grizzled Man, A co-worker of Fred and Barney's.
- Mel Blanc as the voice of Dino. Brian Levant used Blanc's previously recorded works to provide Dino's voice.
- Elaine & Melanie Silver as Pebbles Flintstone
- Hlynur & Marinó Sigurðsson as Bamm-Bamm Rubble.
- The B-52's as themselves but performing as the BC-52's.
Jean Vander Pyl, Wilma's voice actress, appears in a cameo as Mrs. Feldspar in the Conga line behind Dino. Kate Pierson, Fred Schneider, and Keith Strickland of The B-52's cameo as The BC-52's, who perform "The Bedrock Twist" and "(Meet) The Flintstones" in the film. Jay Leno appears as a talk show host. Creators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera also make appearances where Hanna played a boardroom executive and Barbera played a man driving a Mersandes. Sam Raimi appears as a Fred Flintsone look-alike. Michael Richards appears as a paper man. Chris Rock appears as a co-worker at the quarry.
According to pre-release publicity for The Flintstones, Sharon Stone was to play Miss Sharon Stone, but turned it down as she was already working on The Specialist. Nicole Kidman was the second choice for the role, but Halle Berry won the part after a screen test. Steven Spielberg said Danny DeVito was the original first choice for Barney. DeVito eventually turned down the role as he felt he was too gruff to do the character properly and reportedly suggested Rick Moranis for the role. Premiere magazine showed Elizabeth Montgomery as being considered for the role of Pearl Slaghoople.
In 1985, producers Keith Barish and Joel Silver bought the rights for a live-action feature film version of The Flintstones and commissioned Steven E. de Souza to write a script with Richard Donner hired to direct. Silver was said to be interested in casting James Belushi in the role of Fred. Steven E. de Souza's script was eventually rejected and Mitch Markowitz was hired to write a script. Said to be a cross of "The Grapes of Wrath", Markowitz commented that "I don't even remember it that well, but Fred and Barney leave their town during a terrible depression and go across the country, or whatever that damn prehistoric thing is, looking for jobs. They wind up in trailer parks trying to keep their families together. They exhibit moments of heroism and poignancy." Markowitz's version was apparently too sentimental for director Donner, who disliked it.
Eventually, the rights were bought by Amblin Entertainment and Steven Spielberg who, after working with John Goodman on Always, was determined to cast him in the lead as Fred. Brian Levant was hired as director, they knew he was the right person because they were impressed that he was an avid fan with amount of Flintstones items collection and the knowledge he had from the series, and all previous scripts were thrown out. Levant then recruited, what he called, an "all-star writing team" which consisted of his writer friends from television shows such as Family Ties, Night Court and Happy Days. "This is a sitcom on steroids," said Levant. "We were just trying to improve it." Dubbed the Flintstone Eight, the group wrote a new draft but four more round table sessions ensued, each of which was attended by new talent. Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel took home a reported $100,000 for just two days work.
The effects for Dino, Dictabird, and the other prehistoric creatures were provided by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
The Flintstones received generally unfavorable reviews by film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 22% "Rotten" rating based on 41 reviews with an average rating of 3.8/10. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 38 out of 100, which indicates "generally unfavorable reviews", based on 38 reviews.
On the television show At the Movies with Siskel and Ebert, Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two thumbs down. They both mentioned that its main story lines (embezzlement, mother-in-law problems, office politics and extra-marital affairs) were storylines for adult films, and ones that children wouldn't be able to understand. However, many critics praised the film's look, costume design, which was made by Rosanna Norton and John Goodman's performance.
Rosie O'Donnell won the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress for her performance in this film. The film also won Worst Screenplay and was nominated for two others: Elizabeth Taylor as Worst Supporting Actress (the second performance in the film nominated for this award) and for the film as Worst Remake or Sequel. However, the film also received four Saturn Award nominations, including Best Fantasy Film, Best Costume Design and Best Supporting Actress for Rosie O'Donnell's and Halle Berry's performance.
Box office performance
Despite the negative reviews, The Flintstones was a box office success, grossing $130,531,208 domestically, including the $37,182,745 it made during its 4-day Memorial Day opening weekend in 1994. It fared even better overseas, making another $211,100,000, for a total of $341,631,208 worldwide, against a $46 million budget.
The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas was released in 2000 (six years after the first film). The original cast did not reprise their roles as the main characters, though Rosie O'Donnell provided the voice of an octopus who gave massages to the younger versions of Betty & Wilma. And Irwin Keyes returned as Joe Rockhead, the only cast member to reprise his original role from the first film. Unlike its predecessor, it failed at the box office.
McDonald's marketed a number of Flintstones promotions for the movie, including the return of the McRib sandwich and the "Grand Poobah Meal" combo with it, a line of premium glass mugs, and toys based on characters & locations from the movie. In the commercials and released items for the Flintstones promotion, McDonalds was renamed "RocDonalds" with stone age imagery, similarly to other businesses and proper names in the Flintstones franchise.
- Page, Janice (1994-03-24). "ROSIE: She Cuts Through the Rubble and Tells It Straight Up : The Comic-Turned-Actress Is a Real-Life Rizzo Who Says What's on Her Mind". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
- Page, Janice (1994-03-29). "A New Stage in Her Career : O'Donnell's Made It in Movies, but Broadway Was Her Dream". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
- Murphy, Ryan (1993-01-17). "A look inside Hollywood and the movies : 'YABBA DABBA WHO?' : Hey! Raquel Welch Was Good in 'One Million Years B.C.'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
- Gordinier, Jeff; Ascher-Walsh, Rebecca (1994-06-03). "Bringing "The Flintstones" to the Big Screen". Entertainment Weekly.
- Turan, Kenneth (1994-05-27). "Movie review: 'The Flintstones' succeeds at being cartoonish. But do three dozen writers make for a good script? Don't take it for granite.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- James, Caryn (1994-05-27). "Review/Film: The Flintstones; Lovable And Loud, With Wits Of Stone". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
- McCarthy, Todd (1994-05-17). "The Flintstones". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved 2010-08-25.
- Wilmington, Michael (1994-05-27). "Yabba-dabba Dud". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- Maltin, Leonard (February 26, 1997). "'Joseph Barbera Interview'". Archive of American Television. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- Fox, David J. (1994-05-31). "`Flintstones' Leaves the Rest in Its Dust Movies: The live-action film takes in $37.5 million over the weekend. Ticket-price inflation notwithstanding, it establishes a record for a Memorial Day opening, based on preliminary estimates.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- Natale, Richard (1994-06-13). "Speed Drives to a Fast Start : Movies: The thriller passes 'The Flintstones,' while 'City Slickers II' gallops to third at the box office.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
- The Flintstones at the Internet Movie Database
- The Flintstones at the TCM Movie Database
- The Flintstones at Box Office Mojo
- The Flintstones at AllMovie
- The Flintstones at Rotten Tomatoes