Gone Fishin'

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    [Total: 14 Average: 2.7]
  • Directed By: Christopher Cain
  • Written By: Jill Mazursky, ?J.J. Abrams?
  • Release Date: May 30, 1997
  • Domestic Distributor: Hollywood Pictures (Disney)
  • Cast: Joe Pesci, Danny Glover, Rosanna Arquette

Box Office Info:
Budget: $30 millionFinanced by: Caravan Pictures (Disney)
Domestic Box Office: $19,745,922Overseas Box Office: $40,123

gone fishin' 1997
In November 1992, Joe Roth, the chairman of 20th Century Fox announced he would leave the studio and form Caravan Pictures with Roger Birnbaum.  Caravan was fully funded by Disney and the production company was tasked with producing 25 features for the mouse house.  Caravan was given the autonomy to greenlight movies up to $30M without the approval of Disney and this misbegotten project was financed.  The budget for Gone Fishin’ was $30 million.  The $53M budget figure that has circulated is just a made up arbitrary number and not based anywhere near reality.

Gone Fishin’ was initially developed as a vehicle for John Candy and Rick Moranis, but after Candy’s death in 1994 it moved forward with Lethal Weapon castmates Joe Pesci and Danny Glover.  Pesci had landed his first solo hit My Cousin Vinny (1992), which was greenlit by Joe Roth at FOX and Glover had toplined the early Caravan pic Angels in the Outfield (1994) — but neither were reliably bankable at the box office.

This had a troubled and tragic production, which began in November 1995.  John G. Avildsen (Rocky) was hired to helm this crap and the veteran director was fired after two weeks of filming.  He reportedly was paid his full $2M salary.  Oddly enough, this was the second production Avildsen was replaced by Christopher Cain on, after the godawful The Next Karate Kid (1994).  Sadly, in late December 1995, a stunt went wrong and ended with the death of stunt-woman Janet Wilder, who was all of 29 years old.  A fishing boat was expected to jump a ramp and fly through mangrove trees, but it veered into a crowd of actors.

After the production was completed, Disney announced a Summer 1996 release, but it was delayed nearly a year to May 30, 1997 — which was one week after The Lost World: Jurassic Park opened and studios kept their stronger pictures away from that tentpole.  Gone Fishin’ bowed against two other cheap disposable movies Trial and Error and ‘Til There Was You.  Knowing they have a stinker on their hands, Disney did not screen the movie for critics and the reviews that eventually posted were atrocious.

Gone Fishin’ tanked with $5,784,123 — placing #3 for the weekend led by The Lost World.  Auds gave the movie a terrible C cinemascore grade and it fell 48.7% to $2,967,041 in its second frame.  The domestic run closed with only $19,745,922.  Disney would see returned about $10.8M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — below P&A expenses and the theatrical receipts would not dent the budget.

Gone Fishin’ was dumped straight to video in almost every overseas market and the only recorded offshore gross was $40,123 from Sweden.

Before Joe Pesci toplined both Gone Fishin’ and the turkey 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag in 1997, he was saying no to reprising his role in Lethal Weapon 4 — but he eventually collected a large paycheck for the 4th installment and then retired (and infrequently appears in films he choses).

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  1. In my hometown the week before this opened, a 10-screen multiplex opened with all 10 screens showing The Lost World. The week this film opened, one of those screens gave up The Lost World for this. Seeing the ad in my local paper showing The Lost World on nine screens and Gone Fishin’ on this made me laugh. Why they didn’t give up a second screen for Trial and Error (which I did like, especially Charlize Theron), I don’t know.

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