RoboCop 3

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RoboCop 3
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFred Dekker
Screenplay by
Story byFrank Miller
Based on
Produced byPatrick Crowley
CinematographyGary B. Kibbe
Edited byBert Lovitt
Music byBasil Poledouris
Distributed byOrion Pictures[1]
Columbia Pictures (International)[2][3]
Release dates
  • April 18, 1993 (1993-04-18) (Japan)[4]
  • November 5, 1993 (1993-11-05) (United States)[4]
Running time
104 minutes[5]
CountryUnited States
  • English
  • Japanese
Budget$22 million[6]
Box office$47 million[7]

RoboCop 3 is a 1993 American science fiction action film directed by Fred Dekker and written by Dekker and Frank Miller. It is the sequel to the 1990 film RoboCop 2 and the third and final entry in the original RoboCop franchise. It stars Robert Burke, Nancy Allen and Rip Torn. Set in the near future in a dystopian metropolitan Detroit, the plot centers around RoboCop (Burke) as he vows to avenge the death of his partner Anne Lewis (Allen) and save Detroit from falling into chaos, while evil conglomerate OCP, run by its CEO (Torn), advances its program to demolish the city and build a new "Delta City" over the former homes of the residents.

It was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia. Most of the set and background buildings were slated for demolition to make way for facilities in the 1996 Summer Olympics. RoboCop 3 is the first film to use digital morphing in more than one scene.[8]

The film was a critical and commercial failure in the US, grossing $47 million worldwide against its $22 million budget, making it the least profitable film of the RoboCop franchise.[6] Two television series, RoboCop and RoboCop: Prime Directives, were released in 1994 and 2001 respectively, and the film series was rebooted with the 2014 remake RoboCop. A video game midquel, RoboCop: Rogue City (set between RoboCop 2 and RoboCop 3), with Peter Weller reprising his role, was released in 2023.


In a dystopian[9] future, the conglomerate Omni Consumer Products (OCP) have succeeded in their plan from prior films and have acquired the city of Detroit via bankruptcy, but are now struggling with their plans to create the new Delta City. The Delta City dream of the now-deceased OCP CEO lives on with the help of the Japanese Kanemitsu Corporation, which has bought a controlling stake in OCP and is trying to finance the plan. Kanemitsu, CEO of the Kanemitsu Corporation, proceeds with the plans to remove the current citizens to create Delta City, but is doubtful about the competence of his new partners. Due to passive resistance by the DPD toward mass eviction, OCP creates a heavily armed private security force called the Urban Rehabilitators, nicknamed "Rehabs", under the command of Paul McDaggett, to forcibly relocate the evicted citizens such as the residents of the now condemned Cadillac Heights. Nikko Halloran, a young resident of Cadillac Heights skilled with computers, loses her parents in the relocation process.

RoboCop and his partner Anne Lewis try to defend civilians from the Rehabs one night, but McDaggett mortally wounds Lewis, who eventually dies. Unable to fight back because of his "Fourth Directive" programming, RoboCop is saved by members of a resistance movement composed of Nikko and residents from Cadillac Heights and he eventually joins them. Because he was severely damaged during the shoot-out, RoboCop's systems efficiency plummets, and he asks the resistance to summon Dr. Lazarus, one of the scientists who created him. Upon arrival, she begins to treat him, deleting the Fourth Directive in the process. During an earlier raid on an armory, the resistance acquired a jet-pack prototype, originally intended for RoboCop's use, which Lazarus modifies and upgrades to hold RoboCop.

After recovering from his injuries, RoboCop conducts a one-man campaign against the Rehabs and OCP. He finds McDaggett and attempts to subdue him. However, McDaggett successfully escapes and obtains information from a disgruntled resistance member on the location of the resistance fighters' base. The CEO of Kanemitsu has developed his own ninja androids called "Otomo" and sends one to assist McDaggett against the resistance of anti-OCP militia forces. The Rehabs attack and most of the resistance members are either killed or imprisoned. When RoboCop returns to the rebel base to find it abandoned, an Otomo unit arrives and attacks him. RoboCop experiences another power drain and his left arm and his auto gun is destroyed, but eventually he successfully overcomes his opponent with his arm-mounted gun. Nikko infiltrates the OCP building and assists a captured Lazarus in broadcasting an improvised video, revealing OCP as responsible for the city's high crime rates and incriminating them for removing and killing the Cadillac Heights residents. The broadcast causes OCP's stock to plunge, financially ruining the company.

Meanwhile, McDaggett decides to execute an all-out strike against Cadillac Heights with the help of the Detroit police, but the police officers, enraged at the company's callous ways, refuse to comply and instead defect to the resistance, escalating the rebellion against OCP into a full-scale war. As a result, McDaggett turns to hiring street gangs and hooligans to assist with his plans. Having heard Lazarus' broadcast, RoboCop provides aerial support for the entrenched resistance forces. He then proceeds to the OCP building and confronts the waiting McDaggett. RoboCop is then attacked and nearly defeated by two Otomo robots. Nikko and Lazarus succeed in reprogramming them using a wireless link from a laptop computer, having them attack each other. The Otomos' self-destruct system activates, forcing RoboCop to flee with Nikko and Lazarus. The flaming discharge from the jetpack immobilizes McDaggett, leaving him to perish in the blast.

As Old Detroit is being cleaned up, Kanemitsu arrives and finally comes face to face with RoboCop along with his group, while his translator tells the OCP president on Kanemitsu's behalf that he is fired as the corporation shuts down OCP for good and plans to leave Detroit. Kanemitsu then bows to RoboCop and the group in respect. The CEO compliments RoboCop and asks for his name, to which he responds with, "My friends call me Murphy. You call me RoboCop."



Development and writing[edit]

Frank Miller (photographed in 1982)

Orion Pictures greenlit two more RoboCop films in June 1990, shortly before the release of RoboCop 2.[10] The film was directed by Fred Dekker, a director primarily known for cult horror films like Night of the Creeps and The Monster Squad. Comic author Frank Miller, who co-wrote RoboCop 2, returned to write the screenplay for the film. Still optimistic that he could make an impression in Hollywood, Miller hoped that some of his ideas excised from RoboCop 2 would make it into RoboCop 3. Major themes of the plot were taken from Miller's original and rejected draft of RoboCop 2. Disillusioned after finding that his work was even more drastically altered, Miller left Hollywood, until the 2005 adaptation of his work Sin City. Miller said in 2005, "[Working on RoboCop 2 and 3] I learned the same lesson. Don't be the writer. The director’s got the power. The screenplay is a fire hydrant, and there’s a row of dogs around the block waiting for it."[11] Miller's original screenplay for RoboCop 2, and source for major ideas in RoboCop 3, was later turned into a nine-part comic book series called Frank Miller's RoboCop. Boom Studios released an eight-part comic book series Robocop: The Last Stand which is based on Miller's original RoboCop 3 screenplay.[12]


The star of the previous films, Peter Weller, did not reprise the role of RoboCop, as he was starring in Naked Lunch.[13] The news of Weller’s retirement from the role in September 1990 led to rumors that the film would be cancelled, which producer Patrick Crowley quickly denied. Robert John Burke signed to play the cyborg character instead. The RoboCop suit Burke wore in the movie was originally built for RoboCop 2 (1990). Burke often complained that wearing it was painful after a short time.[14]

Recognizing that RoboCop's fan base consisted primarily of children, Orion Pictures cut down on the graphic violence that was seen as the defining characteristic of the first two films.[8]


RoboCop 3 was originally scheduled to begin principal photography on December 3, 1990, but was later postponed until February 4, 1991. Filming took place primarily in Atlanta with shooting at Auburn Avenue, Georgia Avenue Church, Allied Cotton Mills, and Old Alabama Street. The production took 14 weeks and concluded in May 1991.[10]

Initially scheduled for release in mid 1992, RoboCop 3 languished until the following year, as Orion Pictures went through bankruptcy and was bought out. Since Columbia TriStar Entertainment owned the international distribution rights to film, a completed workprint was theatrically released in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines during that time. After the buyout, Orion Pictures announced that it would finally release the film on July 16, 1993, but had to postpone the release again because it could not find enough distributors for a theatrical wide release. After this delay, pirated copies of the film started getting illegally sold on VHS in New York City in the mid 1993. The film finally opened at the Charleston International Film Festival on November 4, 1993.[10] Because of release delays, its tie-in video game was released prior to the film, and thus spoiled the film's plot.[15]


After RoboCop 2's score which was composed by Leonard Rosenman, the original RoboCop composer Basil Poledouris returned to compose the score,[16] and brought back many of the themes from the original film.[17]


Box office[edit]

RoboCop 3 opened at number one in Japan, grossing 147,695,744 yen ($1.3 million) in its opening week from 17 screens,[18] and went on to gross over $10 million there.[19] It also opened at number one in France, with a gross of 9.6 million French franc ($1.7 million) from 317 screens.[19] In the US, it grossed $4.3 million in its opening weekend from 1,796 theaters, placing third, ending its run with $10.6 million in the United States and Canada.[6] Internationally, it grossed $36.3 million for a worldwide gross of $47 million,[7] against an estimated $22 million production budget.[6]

Critical response[edit]

The film received negative reviews from critics, and is often considered to be the worst entry of the series. Rotten Tomatoes gives RoboCop 3 a score of 9% based on 33 reviews, with an average score of 3.30/10. The website's critical consensus states: "This asinine sequel should be placed under arrest."[20] Metacritic rates it 40 out of 100 based on 15 critic reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[21]

Richard Harrington from The Washington Post said the movie is "hardly riveting and often it's downright silly. The sets and effects betray their downsized budget."[22]

Chicago Sun Times critic Roger Ebert gave the film one and a half stars, disputing the characters' longevity. "Why do they persist in making these retreads? Because RoboCop is a brand name, I guess, and this is this year's new model. It's an old tradition in Detroit to take an old design and slap on some fresh chrome."[23] To Ebert's amusement, Gene Siskel's thumbs-down review on their TV show suggested that producers should consider making a movie with an evil RoboCop, or even a movie where RoboCop was female.

David Nusair from Reel Film Reviews gave the film two and a half stars, stating: "The best one could hope for is a movie that's not an ordeal to sit through, and on that level, RoboCop 3 certainly excels. When placed side-by-side with the original, the film doesn't quite hold up. But, at the very least, RoboCop 3 works as a popcorn movie—something part two couldn't even manage."[24]

Other points of criticism in this movie include curtailing the graphic violence of the first two films (deliberately done in order to be more family-friendly), less dark humor and the absence of Peter Weller in the title role.[25][26]


  1. ^ Suzan Ayscough (July 23, 1993). "Orion firms release sked". Variety. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  2. ^ Janet Shprintz (February 8, 1999). "MGM, Orion sue Sony, Columbia over homevid coin". Variety. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  3. ^ "RoboCop 3". BBFC. Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  4. ^ a b "UK Cinema Release Dates - 1994 Films". Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  5. ^ "ROBOCOP 3 (15)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "RoboCop 3 (1993)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Top 100 grossers worldwide, '93-94". Variety. October 17, 1994. p. M-56.
  8. ^ a b "Robocop 3 Set to Blow-Torch the Competition". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 51. EGM Media, LLC. October 1993. p. 209.
  9. ^ 'RoboCop Trilogy': Life in Dystopian Future Detroit. 7, 2010). Retrieved on August 26, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c "RoboCop 3". Retrieved August 31, 2023.
  11. ^ Icons Interview: Frank Miller Archived August 3, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. (March 31, 2005). Retrieved on 2011-04-21.
  12. ^ "Robocop: Last Stand".
  13. ^ Naked Lunch (1991) – The Criterion Collection. Retrieved on April 21, 2011.
  14. ^ Robocop 3 | burrp!TV Guide Archived February 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. (November 5, 1993). Retrieved on 2011-04-21.
  15. ^ Presley, Paul (December 1991). "RoboCop 3 (Amiga)". The One for Amiga Games. pp. 82–83. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  16. ^ Robocop 3 (1993 Film): Basil Poledouris: Music. Retrieved on April 21, 2011.
  17. ^ Robocop 3 – Basil Poledouris Archived February 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on April 21, 2011.
  18. ^ "International box office". Variety. May 3, 1993. p. 34. $1,318,712; $1=112 Yen
  19. ^ a b Groves, Don (July 26, 1993). "U.K. yields to the call of the dinosaurs". Variety. p. 12.
  20. ^ "RoboCop 3 (1993)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 27, 2023.
  21. ^ "RoboCop 3 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  22. ^ "RoboCop 3". The Washington Post. November 5, 1993. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
  23. ^ Roger Ebert (November 5, 1993). "Robocop 3". Chicago Sun-Times.
  24. ^ Robocop 3 (1993) – A Review by David Nusair. Retrieved on April 21, 2011.
  25. ^ Thomas, Kevin (November 5, 1993). "Mechanical 'RoboCop 3' in Need of Policing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  26. ^ Holden, Stephen (November 5, 1993). "A Cop Stalks Trouble, Right There in Motor City". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 20, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2010.

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