Richie Rich (film)

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Richie Rich
Richierichposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Donald Petrie
Produced by Joel Silver
John Davis
Screenplay by Tom S. Parker
Jim Jennewein
Story by Neil Tolkin
Based on Richie Rich
by Alfred Harvey
Warren Kremer
Starring
Narrated by Jonathan Hyde
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Don Burgess
Edited by Malcolm Campbell
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment
Release date
  • December 21, 1994 (1994-12-21)
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million
Box office $38.1 million[1]

Richie Rich (stylized as Ri¢hie Ri¢h) is a 1994 American comedy film directed by Donald Petrie and based on the Harvey Comics cartoon character of the same name created by Alfred Harvey and Warren Kremer. The film stars Macaulay Culkin, John Larroquette, Edward Herrmann, Jonathan Hyde, and Christine Ebersole while Reggie Jackson, Claudia Schiffer, and Ben Stein appear in cameo roles. Culkin's younger brother, Rory Culkin, played the part of young Richie. While in theaters, the film was shown with a Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoon called Chariots of Fur.

In 1998, it was followed by a direct-to-video sequel, Richie Rich's Christmas Wish.

Plot[edit]

Richard "Richie" Rich Jr. (Macaulay Culkin) is the world's wealthiest kid, the son of billionaire businessman and philanthropist Richard Rich, Sr. (Edward Herrmann). Richie has only his loyal butler Herbert Cadbury (Jonathan Hyde) as a companion, and lacks any friends his own age. At a dedication to the reopening of United Tool, a factory Richard recently acquired (intending to modernize the factory and give it away to the workers as a token of goodwill) Richie encounters a group of sandlot kids playing baseball. Unfortunately, before he is able to talk to them, the overly-strict head of security, Ferguson (Chelcie Ross), stops Richie and sharply pulls him away. Cadbury, ever the "third parent", reprimands Ferguson for his excessively-physical treatment of Richie.

Richard Sr. tries to spend time with his son whenever he can, but is usually busy. Professor Keenbean (Mike McShane) has invented a cellular-phone-like machine called the "Dadlink" that pinpoints Richard's location in seconds, so that Richie can talk to his dad whenever he's away on business. Meanwhile, the greedy CFO of Rich Industries Lawrence Van Dough (John Larroquette) is planning to steal the Rich financial fortune, believed to be stored in the Rich family vault. Van Dough, with the help of Ferguson, plots to blow up the plane carrying the Rich family to England.

After a failed attempt on Richie's part to make friends with the sandlot kids, Cadbury makes a suggestion to Richie's mother Regina (Christine Ebersole) and arranges for Richie to stay home in Chicago for a weekend of fun with the sandlot kids. That weekend allows Richie to earn the friendship of the sandlot kids, most importantly, Gloria Pazinski (Stephi Lineberg). Cadbury also begins to fall for Gloria's pleasantly-outspoken mother, Dianne (Mariangela Pino).

During the plane trip to England, the bomb is detected. Richard is able to toss it out his window, but the bomb detonates while still near the plane, destroying part of the tail, sending Billion Dollar One into the Atlantic Ocean. Richie Sr. and Regina survive the crash and float on a life raft. Believing that Richie's parents are dead, Van Dough is appointed chairman of Rich Industries, and proceeds to cut the many charitable contributions the Rich family were known for. This includes closing the recently reopened United Tool factory, which the parents of the sandlot kids relied upon for their income. This angers Richie, and so with the encouragement and assistance of Cadbury, he proceeds to the company headquarters and, as a living Rich family member, assumes the chairman position, which enrages Van Dough.

Van Dough has Cadbury framed for the Rich family's apparent murder by putting bomb parts in his room, and most of the Rich family's other loyal servants are fired en masse by Van Dough's edict. Van Dough plots to have Cadbury murdered in jail and make it look like a suicide. With Professor Keenbean eavesdropping on their conversation, he manages to sneak Richie out and enact a successful plan to help Cadbury escape from prison just as a hulking hitman arrives to murder Cadbury; though bruised, Cadbury is able to knock out the hitman. Cadbury and Richie then make their way to Gloria's house, where Dianne tends to Cadbury, and Richie uses Gloria's computer to hack into the Dadlink's mainframe at Richie's mansion.

During this time, Van Dough finds out about Cadbury's escape and, with Ferguson's help, confronts Keenbean. They tie the professor up and threaten him with his own invention, the molecular reorganizer which uses nuclear plasma technology to transform matter into a different form. Keenbean states that the lock to the Rich family vault is voice-activated and only Richard and Regina can open it. Van Dough, meanwhile, is still unaware of their continued survival.

Richard's Dadlink transceiver was damaged in the crash, and when Richard manages to send out a distress code, the signal is intercepted by Ferguson, who disconnects Richie's modem from the phone line and then informs Van Dough that Richard and Regina are still alive.

After rescuing Keenbean from captivity, the kids and Diane manage to sneak both Richie and Cadbury back into Rich Manor, only to discover that the Dadlink shows that Richie's parents are inside Rich Manor. He is shocked to discover that Van Dough had anticipated his own arrival, and had arranged for his parents' rescue. Held at gunpoint, Van Dough forces the Rich family elders to reveal the location of the Rich vault, while Ferguson and his partner take Richie and his friends to the molecular reorganizer. Once in the lab, Keenbean manages to subdue both Ferguson and his partner with some very sticky substance, but ends up stuck as well; thinking cleverly, he uses a remote to power a robotic bee he created to sting Ferguson, causing him to crash into the machine's emergency off button, and thus saving Richie and the others.

Van Dough is eventually led to Mount Richmore, a gigantic mountainside-sculpture of the three Rich members' heads where the vault is located. There, he is furious upon discovering that the vault only holds the Rich family's most precious memories and keepsake treasures – nothing that is valuable monetarily; he then learns that the Rich family keeps their money in banks, the stock market, and real estate. Desperate to get the money, he attempts to shoot Richard and Regina, only for Richie to appear in the nick of time and interfere. Van Dough attempts to shoot Richie instead, but manages to barely faze him (because of a special spray of Professor Keenbean's which makes any fabric bulletproof). The Rich family manages to get away and the chase leads them down the side of the mountain, where they are under further attack by Ferguson and a rock-blasting laser that had originally been used to sculpt the mountain/vault. Cadbury finally succeeds in disarming Ferguson, while Van Dough ends up hanging upside down for dear life, after Cadbury blasts away the rock-face near him with the laser. Although Richard has never fired any of his employees ever, he allows Richie to fire Van Dough, who is then subsequently punched by Regina.

Later, Richie plays baseball with his new friends for the United Tool team on the Rich Manor's yard (with Cadbury as team coach and Keenbean as umpire) and hits a home run which is picked up by Van Dough, who's doing gardening with Ferguson as part of their work release, and who subsequently tosses the ball into the fountain in humiliated resentment. Richard and Regina blissfully state that Richie now really is the richest boy in the world, as he has found the one thing that money can't buy: friends.

Cast[edit]

  • Macaulay Culkin as Richard "Richie" Rich, Jr., a friendly rich boy.
  • John Larroquette as Laurence Van Dough, the greedy CFO and acting Chairman of Rich Industries who plots to steal the Rich Family fortune.
  • Jonathan Hyde as Herbert Arthur Runcible Cadbury, the Rich family's trustworthy butler, and Richie's confidant.
  • Edward Herrmann as Richard Rich, Sr., the father of Richie, and founder and CEO of Rich Industries.
  • Christine Ebersole as Regina Rich, the mother of Richie.
  • Mike McShane as Professor Keenbean, a brilliant inventor that works for the Rich family.
  • Chelcie Ross as Ferguson, the Rich family's rude and tough head of security. He and other security personnel join Van Dough to take over the Rich empire.
  • Reggie Jackson as himself
  • Stephi Lineburg as Gloria Pazinski, Richie's friend. She shares the same first name as Gloria Glad
  • Mariangela Pino as Diane Pazinski, the mother of Gloria. She starts having a relationship with Cadbury.
  • Joel Robinson as Omar, one of Richie's friends who is kind of a wiseguy.
  • Jonathan Hilario as Pee Wee, one of Richie's friends who is a hopeless glutton.
  • Ben Stein as Economics Teacher
  • Claudia Schiffer as herself (Substitute Personal Trainer)

Production[edit]

Though set in Chicago, the house and grounds at which most of Richie Rich is filmed are those of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Some scenes, however, are filmed in Chicago, including a fencing scene filmed at DePaul University's Cortelyou Commons. The roller coaster in the backyard is the former stand-up roller coaster Iron Wolf at Six Flags Great America. In contrast to the famous publication and animated series, a few characters are eliminated to accommodate the movie: among them are Irona the robot maid.

Data East was one of few regular pinball companies that manufactured custom pinball games e.g. for the movie Richie Rich. This pinball machine was based on The Who's Tommy Pinball Wizard machine.[2]

Reception[edit]

The movie received a 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 21 reviews,[3][4] with the sites critical consensus reads: "With Macaulay Culkin barely registering any emotion, Richie Rich feels disjointed and free of a sense of fun and wonderment". Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars saying he was surprised how much he enjoyed it and though it was not the greatest movie, he liked that it had style and did not go for cheap payoffs.[5] Richie Rich earned a Razzie Award nomination for Macaulay Culkin as Worst Actor for his performance in the movie (also for Getting Even with Dad and The Pagemaster) but lost the award to Kevin Costner for Wyatt Earp.

The film earned $38 million at the North America box office on a $40 million budget.[6][7] It was however a home video success, with $125 million in VHS rentals.[8]

Sequel[edit]

Richie Rich's Christmas Wish is a 1998 direct-to-video sequel starring David Gallagher in the titular role.

References[edit]

External links[edit]