Addams Family Values

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Addams Family Values
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBarry Sonnenfeld
Written byPaul Rudnick
Based onCharacters
by Charles Addams
Produced byScott Rudin
CinematographyDonald Peterman
Edited by
Music byMarc Shaiman
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • November 19, 1993 (1993-11-19) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$47 million[1]
Box office$111 million[2]

Addams Family Values is a 1993 American supernatural black comedy film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and written by Paul Rudnick, based on the characters created by Charles Addams. It is the sequel to The Addams Family (1991). The film features almost all the main cast members from the original film, including Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci, Carel Struycken, Jimmy Workman, and Christopher Hart. Joan Cusack, Carol Kane, and David Krumholtz joined the cast for this film.

Compared to its predecessor, which retained something of the madcap approach of the 1960s sitcom, Addams Family Values is played more for very dark and macabre laughs.[3] The film revolves around the family's adjustments to the birth of new baby Pubert. Subplots include Fester Addams marrying Pubert's nanny Debbie Jellinsky, who is a serial killer intending to murder him for his inheritance; and teenagers Wednesday and Pugsley Addams being sent to summer camp.

The film was released by Paramount Pictures on November 19, 1993. In contrast to its predecessor's mixed reception, the film was well received by critics; however, it was not as financially successful, with a box office gross of $111 million against a budget of $47 million. In the decades since its release, the film has become acclaimed for its humor and performances. This would be Julia's final theatrical film released during his lifetime; he would appear posthumously in one more film, Street Fighter (1994).


Gomez and Morticia Addams hire a nanny named Debbie Jellinsky to take care of their newborn son Pubert after a number of failed attempts by his siblings Wednesday and Pugsley to kill him, for which Gomez and Morticia gently rebuke them. Unbeknownst to them, Debbie is a serial killer who marries and then murders rich bachelors to collect their inheritances. After Debbie seduces Uncle Fester, Wednesday becomes suspicious of her intentions. In an effort to maintain her cover, Debbie tricks Gomez and Morticia into believing Wednesday and Pugsley want to go to summer camp.

Wednesday and Pugsley are sent to Camp Chippewa, managed by the always cheerful and lively Gary and Becky Granger, where they are singled out by the counselors and popular and snobbish girl Amanda Buckman for their macabre appearance and behavior. Joel Glicker, a nerdy bookworm and fellow outcast, becomes attracted to Wednesday. Debbie and Fester become engaged.

At her bachelorette party, Debbie is repulsed by the Addams family and their relatives. At their wedding, Fester passionately and with great emotion declares his everlasting devotion, while Debbie offers a lackluster response. On their honeymoon, she tries unsuccessfully to kill Fester by throwing a boombox into the bathtub. Frustrated, Debbie forces him to cut ties with his family; when they try to visit Fester and Debbie at their home, they are removed from the premises. The Addamses are alarmed to find that Pubert has transformed into a blue-eyed, rosy-cheeked and blond-haired baby. Grandmama diagnoses this as a result of his disrupted family life, and Gomez becomes horribly depressed.

Back at Camp Chippewa, the counselors cast Wednesday as Pocahontas in Gary's Thanksgiving play, "A Turkey Name Brotherhood". When she refuses to participate, she, Pugsley, and Joel are all sent to the camp's "Harmony Hut" and forced to watch hours of wholesome family entertainment movies and television shows. Afterwards, the three feign cheerfulness, and Wednesday agrees to take part. However, during the performance, she reveals her deception and returns to being her true self. With help from Joel, Pugsley, and the other outcast campers, they capture Amanda, Gary, and Becky by igniting the pilgrim set. Later, Wednesday and Joel share their first kiss before separating, with Joel staying behind to lead their friends to ensure the camp's permanent destruction. Pugsley and Wednesday return home in a stolen camp van.

Debbie tries to kill Fester by blowing up their mansion, but he survives its destruction. She then pulls a gun and reveals that she never loved him and was only interested in his money. Thing helps Fester escape by knocking Debbie aside with her own car. Fester apologizes to Gomez upon his return to the Addams mansion, and Wednesday and Pugsley return, successfully reuniting the family at last. Just then, Debbie arrives in another car, holds the family at gunpoint, and straps them into electric chairs with the intent of killing them all. As the Addams family members listen sympathetically, she admits that she killed her parents when she was young on her 10th birthday and then, when she grew up, her first two husbands for incredibly frivolous and materialistic reasons. Meanwhile, Pubert, now restored to his normal, pale and mustachioed self, escapes from his crib with a knife and reaches the rest of the family via a series of improbable events. As Debbie pushes the switch down to electrocute the Addamses, Pubert connects two loose wires that route the electrical current through her instead, burning her body to ashes and leaving only her shoes and credit cards intact by rescuing the rest of his family members from their ultimate death sentences planned by her.

Some time later, the Addamses and their relatives gather to celebrate Pubert's first birthday, with Joel also attending. Fester laments Debbie's loss, but soon becomes smitten with Dementia, a new nanny whom Cousin Itt and his wife Margaret Alford have hired to care for their child. Out in the family graveyard, Wednesday tells Joel that Debbie was a sloppy killer, and that Wednesday would have scared her victim to death and made sure not to be caught. As Joel lays flowers on Debbie's grave, a hand emerges from the earth and grabs him, prompting Wednesday to smile as he screams in the end.


Cameo roles[edit]


The "family values" in the film's title is a tongue-in-cheek reference by writer Paul Rudnick to a 1992 speech ("Reflections on Urban America") made by then-vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle. In the speech, Quayle controversially blamed the 1992 Los Angeles riots on a breakdown of "family values".[4]

Production of Addams Family Values began in Los Angeles on February 8, 1993.[5] According to Anjelica Huston, it became increasingly clear during filming that Raul Julia's health was deteriorating. He had trouble eating and was losing weight as a result.[4] He died in October 1994, less than a year after the film was released. Sequoia National Park, particularly Sequoia Lake, in the Sierra Nevada of California, was the site of the movie's "Camp Chippewa".[6]


Michael Jackson's involvement[edit]

Singer Michael Jackson was supposed to feature a song in the film called "Addams Groove/Family Thing".[7] The song is mostly rumored to have been removed due to the child sexual abuse allegations against Jackson; in reality, it was because of contractual differences with Paramount Pictures.[8] The song has since been leaked online.[9] Jackson is referenced in the film via a poster in the Harmony Hut advertising his 1992 single "Heal the World", which horrifies Joel.


Box office[edit]

Addams Family Values opened at number 1 at the US box office in its opening weekend with a reported gross of $14,117,545.[10] In its second week, the film dropped to number 2 behind Mrs. Doubtfire, and in its third week to number 3 behind Mrs. Doubtfire and A Perfect World.[11] Its final box office gross in the United States and Canada was $48,919,043, a significant decline from the previous film's domestic total of $113,502,426.[12] Internationally it grossed $62 million, for a worldwide total of $110.9 million.[2]

Critical response[edit]

I'm of the firm belief that the Addams Family are the most loving, caring and connected family that has ever graced the silver screen. They are wildly devoted to each other, show an interest in what the others are doing and spend tons of quality time together. In all honesty, there's quite a bit to be jealous [of] when watching them.

Jonathan Barkan, Bloody Disgusting, 2015[13]

Addams Family Values was well received, receiving significantly better reviews than the first film.[14] On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 75% based on 114 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "New, well-developed characters add dimension to this batty satire, creating a comedy much more substantial than the original".[15][16] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 61 out of 100 based on 21 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[17] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, a grade up from the "B" earned by the previous film.[18]

Janet Maslin of The New York Times wondered if "the making of this sequel was sheer drudgery for all concerned", then answered herself by writing: "There's simply too much glee on the screen, thanks to a cast and visual conception that were perfect in the first place and a screenplay by Paul Rudnick that specializes in delightfully arch, subversive humor".[19] Leonard Klady of Variety was slightly less enthusiastic than Maslin: "It remains perilously slim in the story department, but glides over the thin ice with technical razzle-dazzle and an exceptionally winning cast".[20] Richard Schickel, writing for Time, was even less enthusiastic than Klady, calling the film "an essentially lazy movie, too often settling for easy gags and special effects that don't come to any really funny point".[21] Both Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert had disliked the first film. Siskel gave Addams Family Values a mixed review and accused Sonnenfeld of caring more about how the film looks than how the jokes play. Ebert, however, gave the film three stars out of four and thought that, unusually for a sequel, it improved upon its predecessor. He enjoyed the various subplots and recommended the film.[22][23]


The film was nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Art Direction (Ken Adam, Marvin March), but lost to Schindler's List;[24] and Huston was nominated for the 1993 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her performance as Morticia, a reprise of her Golden Globe-nominated performance in the 1991 original. The film won also a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song for the Tag Team track "Addams Family (Whoomp!)".[citation needed] Addams Family Values was nominated for AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs.[25] In 2016, James Charisma of Playboy ranked the film #15 on a list of 15 Sequels That Are Way Better Than The Originals.[26]

Home media[edit]

The Addams Family Values video game was produced by Ocean Software.

The film was released on VHS and DVD in 2000 with only two theatrical trailers as special features. It was re-released in 2006 with the first film on a single disc, with no new features.

In October 2019, the film debuted on the Blu-ray format when Paramount Pictures[27] released double feature of Addams Family and Addams Family Values on Blu-ray in the United States, along with standalone releases.[28] In Australia, the film was released on VHS by Paramount Home Entertainment (Australasia) in 1994. In 2002, the film was released on DVD with theatrical trailers in the extra features.


In retrospect, Barry Sonnenfeld recalled: "I was disappointed in the box office for the second film. I think the first film is more romantic and the second film is funnier. Part of the reason it didn't do as well is that the marketing of the movie was so similar to the first one that people didn't think it was going to be any value-added and I really wanted to push the Pubert of it all and the Fester of it all. Instead, the whole campaign was back with the original Addams Family, so it wasn't really promising anything new. I think that's in part why it didn't do as well. Many people love it as much or more as the first one".[29]

In the decades since its release, the film has been reassessed with retrospective acclaim. Once a source of mixed reception, the film's dark humor and satire has become lauded.[30][31][32] Ricci and Cusack's performances have also received praise, with Cusack's role in particular becoming the source of several memes and tribute videos on YouTube dedicated to her performance.[30][32]


  1. ^ Cheryl Chase provided vocal effects for Pubert Addams.


  1. ^ "AFI Catalog - Addams Family Values". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Top 100 grossers worldwide, '93-94". Variety. October 17, 1994. p. M-56.
  3. ^ Levy, David (December 20, 1993). "Charles Addams Might Grimace at This 'Family'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  4. ^ a b Huston, Anjelica (2014). Watch Me. Scribner's. pp. 262–263. ISBN 9781476760346.
  5. ^ "ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES (1993)". American Film Institute. Retrieved December 27, 2023.
  6. ^ "Addams Family Values Filming Locations". Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  7. ^ Halstead & Cadman 2003, p. 8.
  8. ^ Halstead & Cadman 2003.
  9. ^ "Michael Jackson - Family Thing [Full Song HQ available]". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-11-07. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  10. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for November 19–21, 1993". Box Office Mojo.
  11. ^ "Addams Family Values (1993) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo.
  12. ^ "The Addams Family box office totals". Box Office Mojo.
  13. ^ Barkan, Jonathan (April 14, 2015). "Which Addams Family Member Are You?". Bloody Disgusting. The Collective. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  14. ^ Brew, Simon (November 22, 2019). "How 1991's The Addams Family Nearly Got Derailed". Den of Geek.
  15. ^ "Addams Family Values (1993)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
  16. ^ Rainer, Peter (November 19, 1993). "Let's Have a Hand for 'Addams Family Values'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  17. ^ "Addams Family Values Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  18. ^ "Cinemascore :: Movie Title Search". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  19. ^ Maslin, Janet (November 19, 1993). "Review/Film; The Addams Family's New Addition". The New York Times.
  20. ^ Klady, Leonard (November 13, 1993). "Addams Family Values". Variety. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  21. ^ Schickel, Richard (November 29, 1993). "Looking for Mr. Goodfather". Time. Archived from the original on 4 November 2009. Retrieved November 24, 2009.
  22. ^ "Addams Family Values". Siskel & Ebert. Season 8. Episode 11. 20 November 1993. Retrieved May 18, 2023.
  23. ^ Ebert, Roger (November 19, 1993). "Addams Family Values". It's the rare sequel that is better than its original
  24. ^ "The 66th Academy Awards (1994) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-04.
  25. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-12-20. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  26. ^ Charisma, James (March 15, 2016). "Revenge of the Movie: 15 Sequels That Are Way Better Than The Originals". Playboy. Archived from the original on 2016-07-26. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  27. ^ "Addams Family & Addams Family Values Double Feature".
  28. ^ Larson, Dr. Stephen (2019-10-01). "Addams Family Values Blu-ray Release Date October 1, 2019". Retrieved 2021-03-30.
  29. ^ "THE ADDAMS FAMILY Interview: Barry Sonnenfeld Talks the Film's Legacy on Its 30th Anniversary (Exclusive)". 28 October 2021.
  30. ^ a b Abrams, Simon (November 21, 2018). "The Hidden Message of 'Addams Family Values'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 27, 2023.
  31. ^ Sims, David (November 20, 2018). "Addams Family Values Is a Darkly Funny Thanksgiving Classic". The Atlantic. Retrieved December 27, 2023.
  32. ^ a b Terasaki, Kimberly (November 17, 2023). "30 Years Later, 'Addams Family Values' Is Still the Best Addams Family Adaptation". The Mary Sue. Retrieved December 27, 2023.


  • Halstead, Craig; Cadman, Chris (2003). Michael Jackson: The Solo Years. Hertford: Authors Online. ISBN 0755200918. OCLC 52975896.

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