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Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

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Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoe Johnston
Screenplay byEd Naha
Tom Schulman
Story byStuart Gordon
Brian Yuzna
Ed Naha
Produced byPenney Finkelman Cox
CinematographyHiro Narita
Edited byMichael A. Stevenson
Music byJames Horner
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release date
  • June 23, 1989 (1989-06-23)
Running time
93 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$18 million[citation needed]
Box office$222.7 million[1]

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is a 1989 American science fiction comedy film. It is the first installment of a film franchise and served as the directorial debut of Joe Johnston. The film stars Rick Moranis, Matt Frewer, Marcia Strassman, and Kristine Sutherland. In the film, a struggling inventor accidentally shrinks his kids, along with the neighbors' kids, down to the size of a quarter-inch. After being accidentally thrown out with the trash, they must work together and venture their way back through a backyard wilderness filled with dangerous insects and man-made hazards.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was released theatrically in the United States on June 23, 1989, and distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution. It was an unexpected box office success, grossing $222 million worldwide (equivalent to $545.67 million in 2023) becoming the highest-grossing live-action Disney film of all time, a record it held for five years, and the seventh-highest grossing film of 1989 worldwide.[2] Its success led to two sequels, beginning with Honey, I Blew Up the Kid in 1992, as well as a television series and several theme-park attractions. An animated short film, Tummy Trouble starring Roger Rabbit, was shown in theatres with the film during its box office run.


Quirky scientist and inventor Wayne Szalinski has been designing a ray gun machine capable of shrinking and growing objects, but cannot get it to work properly. His obsession with the machine worries his hardworking wife Diane, teenage daughter Amy, and aspiring inventor son Nick. Next door, Big Russ Thompson, his wife Mae, and their younger son Ron are preparing for a fishing trip. Their elder son, Little Russ, is less than enthusiastic, as his interests often clash with his father's.

Shortly after Wayne leaves for a conference, Ron accidentally hits a baseball through the Szalinskis' attic window and into the machine, turning it on and blocking its targeting laser. Caught by his brother, Ron is forced to confess to Amy and Nick. Ron is going to pay the damage of the window out of his allowance. Ron and Nick enter the attic to retrieve the ball and clean up the mess, and the activated machine shrinks them. Amy and Little Russ suffer the same fate when they go searching for their siblings.

At his conference, Wayne is laughed off the stage for failing to provide proof that his machine works. He enters the attic upon returning home; the shrunken children try to get his attention, but their voices are only loud enough to be heard by the family dog, Quark. Already frustrated, Wayne discovers the broken window and snaps, repeatedly striking the machine. He sweeps the debris, along with the kids, into a dust pan and trash bag. The four manage to escape, only to discover that the trash bag is now at the curb; they make their way back home through the Szalinskis' overgrown yard.

Meanwhile, the Thompson and Szalinski parents become uneasy at their children's absence. Mae and Big Russ cancel their fishing trip and file a missing persons report with the police. Wayne eventually pieces together what happened, but accidentally activates some sprinklers while inspecting the yard. As a result, Amy nearly drowns in a mud puddle, but Little Russ dives in to pull her out and revive her with rescue breaths. Wayne eventually reveals the truth to Diane, and she joins in the search. Later, she convinces Wayne to share the information with the Thompsons, but they remain skeptical.

The kids feast on one of Nick's discarded Oatmeal Creme Pie cookies, and use a crumb to capture a friendly forager ant, naming it "Antie" and riding it toward the house. As night falls, the group takes shelter in a Lego piece. Amy and Little Russ begin to express feelings for one another, and share a kiss. The kids are later attacked by a scorpion, but Antie, at the cost of its own life, helps them to drive the scorpion away.

The next morning, Nick's friend Tommy arrives to mow the lawn. The kids are forced to seek shelter in an earthworm tunnel, barely escaping the vortex caused by the mower, which Wayne and Diane shut off just in time. The kids hitch a ride on Quark, and enter the house, but Nick falls into a bowl of Cheerios and is nearly eaten by his own father. Quark bites Wayne's ankle to get his attention; Wayne discovers the kids' presence, and works to repair the machine.

Both families meet in the attic, and the kids use charades to inform Wayne that the baseball blocked the laser, which previously overheated targets and caused them to explode. Wayne corrects the problem, and Big Russ volunteers as a test subject; the test is successful, and he and the kids are later restored to their original sizes.

Months later at Thanksgiving, the Szalinskis and Thompsons have become good friends and are toasting over an enlarged turkey, while Quark feasts on a giant dog biscuit.



The project was originally brought to Disney Studios by Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna. Gordon was hired to direct the film and Yuzna to produce. The film was written as Teeny Weenies by Gordon, Ed Naha, and Yuzna. Tom Schulman was later added as a screenwriter. Gordon originally prepped the film but had to drop out as director shortly before filming began due to illness. Joe Johnston was brought in to replace him while Penny Finkleman Cox replaced Yuzna as producer.

As the title Teeny Weenies seemed to appeal more to a child demographic, the name was changed to Grounded to appeal to a more mature audience. That name was later rejected in favor of The Big Backyard. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, based on a line of dialogue from the film, ultimately became its title. (The title was later criticized for its grammar, as the past tense of "shrink" is normally "shrank".)[3][4]

The film was heavily influenced by 1950s fare, such as The Incredible Shrinking Man.[5]


Judy Taylor, Mike Fenton, and Lynda Gordon were the casting directors. Before Rick Moranis was cast as Wayne Szalinski, the script was written with Chevy Chase in mind because of his popularity in National Lampoon's Vacation. He was filming the second sequel, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and was too busy to portray Wayne.

John Candy was also considered for the role of Wayne. He declined, but suggested to Johnston that his friend (and costar of SCTV, Little Shop of Horrors and Spaceballs), Rick Moranis, would be a good choice. Marcia Strassman portrays Wayne's wife, Diane, who is having marital troubles with him.

The film needed four teenagers to play the leads. Russ Jr., portrayed by Thomas Wilson Brown, seems to be interested in Amy, and less in football, while Ron, Jared Rushton, appears to be more straightforward and a bully toward Nick, although he warms towards him. Rushton has quoted that he took the role after thinking that the script was "appealing" and he thought his character had progressed throughout the film with his personality.

Amy O'Neill and Robert Oliveri were cast as Amy and Nick Szalinski, Wayne and Diane's kids. Oliveri commented that he was in awe about watching his stunt double do his stunts. He later starred as Kevin Boggs in Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands. O'Neill thought the film was a fun experience and that doing off-set activities, such as swimming or playing cards, was fun to do with the other younger cast members. She accepted the role because it was a "Disney movie".[6]


Johnston was selected to direct the film for his directorial debut, having been mostly working on films as an effects illustrator and art director. It was filmed at the backlot of Churubusco Studios in Mexico City. Gregg Fonseca[7] was the production designer and was in charge of managing several different sets for the scenes in it.

Some filming took place in the streets of Mexico City. In the scene where Diane walks out of the mall to the pay phone, a sign says "Beverly Hills Mall", but is in fact Plaza Inn, a mall in Mexico City.

Special effects were heavily used for the film, such as the electronically controlled ants and bees. For the most part, the production team tried to use practical effects that would work in camera. For the scene where Wayne lands in the Thompsons' pool, Moranis jumped off a flying board in the form of a teeter-totter on a swing set. A stuntman pushed the board, sending him flying through the air and landing on a mat.[8] Numerous storyboards were used for the film, particularly in the sprinkler and bee scenes.[5] Scale models were also used for the bee scene, with miniature Russ Jr. and Nick plastic figures attached. Forced perspective was used in the giant cookie scene, to make it seem bigger.[5] The child actors were strapped in for the scene with the broom. The bristles were actually pieces of foam that were carved and tied to a rig system.


Box office[edit]

The film opened on June 23, 1989, in 1,371 theatres.[1] It opened at number 2 in the United States behind Batman, with a weekend gross of $14,262,961, Buena Vista's biggest 3-day weekend of all time.[9][10] It earned $130,724,172 domestic and $92,000,000 in other territories, earning a grand total of $222,724,172.[1] Attached to it was Disney and Amblin Entertainment's first Roger Rabbit short, Tummy Trouble, executively produced by Steven Spielberg, produced by Don Hahn, directed by Rob Minkoff, and also composed by James Horner.

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 76% based on reviews from 37 critics, with an average rating of 6.30/10. The consensus reads, "Even as its special effects take center stage, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids still offers a charming, high-spirited sense of adventure for the whole family."[11] Metacritic gave the film a score of 63 based on 11 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[12] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[13]

Caryn James, of The New York Times, gave a positive review, saying: "As sweet, funny, and straightforward as its title."[14] Variety gave another positive review stating, "[It's] in the best tradition of Disney – and even better than that, because it is not so juvenile that adults won't be thoroughly entertained."[15] A rare negative review came from Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun-Times, who stated: "The special effects are all there, nicely in place, and the production values are sound, but the movie is dead in the water."[16]

The film was also mentioned in the British sitcom Only Fools and Horses in the episode titled "Rodney Come Home".


James Horner won an ASCAP Award for Top Box Office Films and was also nominated for a Saturn Award. The film was also nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film. Thomas Wilson Brown, Jared Rushton, Robert Oliveri and the Special Effects Crew were also nominated for a Saturn Award. The Special Effects Crew won a BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects. Amy O'Neill and Jared Rushton were each nominated for a Young Artist Award and director Joe Johnston was nominated for a Fantasporto Award.

The film was presented in the 100 Greatest Family Films, in which Amy O'Neill and Thomas Wilson Brown talked about it for MTV.


Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedMarch 6, 2009
LabelIntrada Records
ProducerJames Horner
Simon Rhodes

After going years unreleased, James Horner's soundtrack to the film was made available by Intrada Records on March 6, 2009. The song that Amy dances to in the kitchen is "Turn It Up" by Nick Kamen, written by Jeffrey Pescetto and Patrick DeRemer.

The soundtrack was limited to a 3,000-copy release. Horner's main title music incorporates cues from the score by Nino Rota from Federico Fellini's film Amarcord (1973) and Raymond Scott's piece "Powerhouse B" (1937),[17] the latter often referenced in Carl Stalling's Warner Bros. cartoon scores. Scott's piece was used without payment or credit, leading his estate to threaten legal action against Disney. Disney paid an undisclosed sum in an out-of-court settlement and changed the film's cue sheets to credit Scott.[18] Horner's main title music underscores all the major moments involving Szalinski's technology.

With 15 tracks, Horner produced the record with longtime engineer Simon Rhodes while it was originally performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.

Track listing
  1. "Main Title" – 1:59
  2. "Strange Neighbors" – 1:49
  3. "Shrunk" – 5:37
  4. "A New World" – 3:31
  5. "Scorpion Attack" – 3:34
  6. "Test Run" – 2:08
  7. "Flying Szalinski" – 1:59
  8. "Night Time" – 5:04
  9. "Watering the Grass" – 4:13
  10. "Ant Rodeo" – 3:45
  11. "The Machine Works" – 2:05
  12. "Lawn Mower" – 5:45
  13. "Eaten Alive" – 2:44
  14. "Big Russ Volunteers" – 1:24
  15. "Thanksgiving Dinner" – 5:27

Disney Parks incorporation[edit]

Studio Backlot Tour[edit]

Following the film's success, one of its special effects was recreated by park guests on the Walking Tour portion of the Studio Backlot Tour at Disney's Hollywood Studios (then-known as Disney-MGM Studios) throughout the 1990s.

Two children from the tour would volunteer to be strapped to the side of a giant prop bee in front of a green screen and be videotaped acting distressed by the simulated flight of the bee. Using a robotic camera and chroma key technology, footage from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids would be incorporated into the finished video and displayed immediately afterward on television screens mounted throughout the room. The video then transitioned into a scripted segment recorded by film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert (on the set of their syndicated television series Siskel & Ebert) critiquing the special effects but giving "Two thumbs up for the kids!"

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: Movie Set Adventure[edit]

From 1990 until 2016, a playground at Disney's Hollywood Studios recreated the overgrown backyard set of the film for park guests to explore.

Honey, I Shrunk the Audience[edit]

A three-dimensional film called Honey, I Shrunk the Audience! complete with physical effects such as wind and water was created as an attraction at Walt Disney World's Epcot in 1994, and later made its way to Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris with all four parks featuring the attraction by 1999. The film was a replacement for the Michael Jackson film Captain EO, a musical film launched in 1986. The film was phased out of the Disney Parks in 2010.


Honey, I Blew Up the Kid[edit]

In 1992, Disney released the first sequel, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, with Moranis, Strassman, O'Neill, and Oliveri reprising their roles as Wayne, Diane, Amy and Nick Szalinski. As the title suggests, Wayne succeeds in enlarging his two-year-old son, Adam, to gigantic proportions as one of his size-changing experiments goes awry.

Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves[edit]

In 1997, Disney produced the second sequel, Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, as a direct to video release. Rick Moranis was the only actor to reprise his role. The characters of Diane and Adam were recast, with Amy and Nick only being briefly mentioned in passing. Many new characters were added, including Wayne's brother Gordon and his family. This time, the parents are shrunk and need to be rescued by their kids.

TV series[edit]

The last incarnation of the franchise was the television program Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show. Peter Scolari took over as Wayne and Nick and Amy both returned as characters, roughly the same age as in the original film, and played by new actors. Its plots involved other wacky Szalinski inventions (rarely the shrinking machine) that do not work quite as expected and land the family in some type of humorous mixed-up adventure.


On February 21, 2018, it was announced that live-action remakes of several films are in development as exclusive content for Disney+, with one of those named in the announcement as being Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.[19] It was later confirmed that a "legacy-sequel" film titled Shrunk is in development to be released theatrically, with a plot that centers around Nick Szalinski as an adult scientist. Josh Gad will star as Nick in the film.[20] On December 5, 2019, it was reported that Joe Johnston is in talks to return as director.[21] On February 12, 2020, it was reported that Rick Moranis will come out of his long semi-retirement to reprise his role as Wayne Szalinski and that Johnston is now confirmed to direct.[22][23] The plot will center around an adult Nick accidentally shrinking his two daughters and son to five inches tall and them coping with their new sizes while he gets his estranged father Wayne to help him fix his machine. Julia Butters has been rumored to play Nick's daughter Sara. Robyn Adele Anderson has been reportedly cast as a babysitter named Teresa who also ends up getting shrunk.

In January 2020, Rick Moranis entered early negotiations to come out of his acting retirement, and reprise his role as Wayne Szalinski. Johnston was confirmed to direct, with Todd Rosenberg set to write the script, from an original story by Gad, Ryan Dixon, Ian Helfer, and Jay Reiss. By February, Moranis had officially signed onto the project to reprise his role. David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman will serve as producers. The film will be a joint-venture production between Walt Disney Pictures and Mandeville Films, with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures as the distributing company.[24] Principal photography was scheduled to begin in early 2020, with filming taking place in Toronto, as well as Atlanta, Georgia.[25][better source needed] In March of the same year, filming on all Disney projects were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and industry restrictions worldwide.[26] In November, Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced that filming on all movies that had been postponed by the coronavirus had resumed.[27] In June 2021, Gad stated that filming had not yet started and that he was hoping the shoot would begin in early 2022.[28] In January 2022, Gad stated that he and Moranis had once again started collaborating in preparation for the sequel.[29] In June 2023, Gad revealed on Twitter that the project has been put on hold indefinitely, although he expressed hope that production would resume in the near future.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)". Box Office Mojo. October 24, 1989. Archived from the original on July 7, 2019. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  2. ^ "Top 1989 Movies at the Worldwide Box Office".
  3. ^ Greenspan, Sam (2011-04-22). "11 Grammatically Incorrect Movie Titles". 11 Points. Retrieved 2023-09-22.
  4. ^ Archives, L. A. Times (1989-12-12). "NAMES IN THE NEWS : Disney Cited for Bad Grammar". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2023-09-22.
  5. ^ a b c The Making of 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids'. 1989. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  6. ^ The Making of 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' Part 3. 1986. Retrieved October 17, 2009 – via YouTube.
  7. ^ Sometimes billed as "Greg Fonseca" Archived 2017-02-17 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ The Making of 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' Part 2. 1986. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  9. ^ "'Batman' breaks box-office records". Santa Cruz Sentinel. June 27, 1989. p. 30. Archived from the original on August 2, 2023. Retrieved August 2, 2023 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  10. ^ Murphy, Arthur D. (October 31, 1989). "Leading North American Film Box Office Weekends in History". Variety. p. 53.
  11. ^ "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 2019-04-03. Retrieved 2023-07-25.
  12. ^ "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2020-07-18. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  13. ^ "Cinemascore :: Movie Title Search". 2018-12-20. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  14. ^ James, Caryn (June 23, 1989). "Review/Film; 'Honey, I Shrunk The Kids'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 12, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  15. ^ "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids". Variety. December 31, 1988. Archived from the original on January 5, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  16. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 23, 1989). "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids movie review (1989)". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on November 4, 2019. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  17. ^ Broxton, Jonathan (June 27, 2019). "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids - James Horner". MovieMusicUK.us. Archived from the original on September 18, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  18. ^ "Use of Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse"". Archived from the original on October 29, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  19. ^ "Disney Planning Another 'Muppets' Reboot for Its Streaming Service (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. February 21, 2018. Archived from the original on February 22, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  20. ^ Sciretta, Peter (May 13, 2019). "Exclusive: 'Honey I Shrunk The Kid' Reboot 'Shrunk' in the Works With Josh Gad to Star". /Film. Archived from the original on May 13, 2019. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  21. ^ Kroll, Justin (5 December 2019). "'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' Director in Talks to Return for Reboot Starring Josh Gad (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
  22. ^ Gemmill, Allie (February 12, 2020). "It's Happening: Rick Moranis Is Coming Back for a 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' Sequel". Collider. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  23. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 12, 2020). "Rick Moranis Closes Deal To Return To 'Honey, I Shrunk The Kids' Franchise With 'Shrunk' At Disney". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  24. ^ "Rick Moranis Closes Deal to Return to 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' Franchise with 'Shrunk' at Disney". 12 February 2020.
  25. ^ "Exclusive: Disney May Bring Rick Moranis Out of Retirement for 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' Reboot 'Shrunk'". 3 February 2020.
  26. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (2020-03-13). "Disney Pausing Production On Features 'Little Mermaid', 'Home Alone', 'Nightmare Alley' & More Until Coronavirus Calms Down". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 2020-03-13. Retrieved 2020-03-15.
  27. ^ Jones, Mike (November 13, 2020). "Disney Confirms ALL Movies Shut Down For COVID Have Restarted Or Completed Filming". Screen Rant. Retrieved November 13, 2022.
  28. ^ "Josh Gad on 'Central Park' Season 2, the 'Beauty and the Beast' Prequel Series, and the Status of 'Shrunk'". Collider. 2021-06-25. Retrieved 2021-08-04.
  29. ^ Dado, Natasha (January 24, 2022). "Josh Gad Teases Production on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Sequel with Photo of Rick Moranis". People Magazine. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  30. ^ Travis, Emlyn (June 27, 2023). "Josh Gad has some bad news about the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids reboot". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 18, 2024.

External links[edit]