Blank Check (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rupert Wainwright|
|Produced by||Gary Adelson|
|Written by||Blake Snyder|
|Music by||Nicholas Pike|
|Edited by||Hubert de la Bouillerie|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|February 11, 1994|
|Box office||$30.5 million (domestic) |
Blank Check is a 1994 American comedy film directed by Rupert Wainwright and starring Brian Bonsall, Karen Duffy, Miguel Ferrer, James Rebhorn, Tone Lōc, Jayne Atkinson and Michael Lerner. It was released on February 11, 1994 by Walt Disney Pictures.
On a rainy night, convicted bank robber Carl Quigley escapes from prison and heads to a warehouse to recover a hidden safe box containing $1,000,000, which he hid there sometime before his arrest.
The film then cuts to eleven year old Preston Waters, whose father works as an investor for a living and is very frugal with money — so much so that when Preston is given a blank check from his grandmother for his birthday, his dad fills it out for only $11.00. When invited to classmate Butch's birthday party at an amusement park, Preston is not too excited because Butch acts more like a bully than a friend (unbeknownst to Preston's parents) and that Preston can only afford the cheap kiddie rides as his father only gave him a paltry bit of cash.
Quigley visits bank president Edward Biderman in his bank office to discuss his plan. As the stolen money was consecutive and traceable, Biderman is to exchange the marked bills for unmarked. Quigley explains that his assistant and right-hand man, Juice will be stopping by Biderman's office with a check to be cashed for $1,000,000 the next day at 1:00 P.M.
After the meeting, Quigley runs over Preston's bicycle in a Jaguar XJ while Preston was riding out of the bank's parking lot chasing after Butch who stole his birthday check. Pressed for time as he sees a police car patrolling the area, Quigley, posing as a realtor, gives Preston a signed blank check and tells him to give it to his dad so they can buy him a new bike. His father ends up grounding him because of the damaged bike and wanting his own room. That night, Preston fills out the check for $1,000,000 by printing it on his computer. He goes to the bank the next day and is directed to Biderman's office by a teller (as the teller thought Preston was joking and she could not cash a check that size herself). Mistaken that Juice has arrived, Biderman cashes his check with $1,000,000 from a safe behind a painting.
As Preston is leaving the bank, the real Juice enters Biderman's office with another check for $1,000,000. Realizing that Biderman mistook Preston for Juice, the trio begins a frantic search for Preston. Meanwhile, he embarks on an extreme shopping spree over the course of 6 days, buying a castle style house (by outbidding Quigley using the voice box on his computer over the phone) along with many other expensive items (limousine service, go kart track, water slide, etc.). He spends $999,667.83 of the original $1,000,000. Preston covers himself by saying he is making these purchases for a millionaire known as "Macintosh" (named after the brand of Preston's computer) who lives in the castle house. He also makes friends with his limo driver Henry. Preston also gets even with Butch and his brothers with his money.
The entire time, Preston was being investigated by FBI agent Shay Stanley (working undercover as a teller at Biderman's bank and Preston's crush) for money laundering, as the bills he was using to make his purchases were Biderman's watermarked ones.
Preston throws an elaborate birthday party for himself under the guise of Macintosh. His father wants Preston to come home; however, he does not know that Macintosh is his son. He asks Macintosh to send his son home. However, Preston cannot pay for it, as everything depleted his account save for $332.17. Preston is then forced into a showdown with Quigley, Juice and Biderman. After the trio manage to capture him and demand to know what happened with the money, he admits Macintosh is a false name, to which Biderman suggests that Quigley can use Preston's purchases and the Macintosh name to give himself a new identity.
When the trio is confronted by the FBI at Preston's castle house, Quigley claims to be Macintosh. However, with the FBI knowing that Mr. Macintosh had been using the watermarked bills, they arrest Quigley, Juice and Biderman. Shay kisses Preston before parting ways and Preston and Henry say their farewells. After Preston gets home, his family throws him a birthday party. His father apologizes for being so harsh with him when it came to money. Preston's family surprises him with a cake and ask him to make a wish. Preston thinks he already has everything he wished for, until he sees Shay's flyer at the bank and decides to make a wish about her.
- Brian Bonsall as Preston Waters
- Karen Duffy as Shay Stanley
- Miguel Ferrer as Carl Quigley aka Mr. Macintosh
- Tone Loc as Juice
- Michael Lerner as Edward Biderman
- James Rebhorn as Fred Waters
- Jayne Atkinson as Sandra Waters
- Michael Faustino as Ralph Waters
- Chris Demetral as Damien Waters
- Rick Ducommun as Henry
- Maxwell Strachan as Quincy Carmichael
- Alex Zuckerman as Butch
- Alex Morris as Riggs
- Debbie Allen as Yvonne
- Mary Chris Wall as Betty Jay
- Angee Hughes as Woman in Parking Lot
- Frank Williamson as Preston's computer (Macintosh)
The movie was filmed in Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas. The castle house that Preston buys was filmed at the Pemberton Castle (Fisher-Gideon House) at 1415 Wooldridge Drive in Austin, a Texas Historical Landmark, which is now owned by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. The theme park in the beginning of the movie was Six Flags Fiesta Texas; several of the park's attractions, including The Rattler and Power Surge, were filmed in this movie.
The bank featured in the movie is in the historic Alamo National Bank building. The bank lobby was featured and it has a 23 story office tower above it. The building opened in 1929, and today houses the Drury Plaza Hotel.
The film received poor reviews, with Peter Rainer of The Los Angeles Times stating that what was "missing from this film is any trace of the joy in simple pleasures. Preston isn't a very imaginative child; he's a goodies gatherer." Janet Maslin of The New York Times said that it "looks like the best bet for family audiences in a season short on kiddie oriented entertainment. And it's a movie that no parents in their right minds should let children see."
The Chicago Tribune stated that "[w]ith its contrived plot, its MTV inspired montages and its blatant shilling for products, it is film as hard sell, and it comes with a decidedly suspect warranty. Its mercantile instincts are so primary it looks like an infomercial." It currently holds a 9% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 11 reviews.
Blank Check debuted at No. 3 at the box office behind Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Getaway with $5.4 million in its opening weekend. In total, the film went on to gross $30.5 million domestically in North America. The film was released in the United Kingdom on August 5, 1994.
- "Blank Check (1994)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
- "Blank Check (1994) 5256197046". Box Office Mojo. 1994-06-14. Retrieved 2012-06-28.
- Rainer, Peter (1994-02-11). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Blank Check' Fantasy Buys Into Materialism". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "FILM VIEW; At the Polls, Ace Tops Schindler". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "`Check' Cashes In On Hollywood Greed". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "Weekend Box Office : 'Ace' Aces the Competition Again". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- "Weekend box office 5th August 1994 - 7th August 1994". www.25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 22 October 2017.