Innerspace (1987)

PG | 120 mins | Comedy, Adventure, Science fiction | 1 July 1987

Director:

Joe Dante

Producer:

Michael Finnell

Cinematographer:

Andrew Laszlo

Editor:

Kent Beyda

Production Designer:

James H. Spencer

Production Companies:

Warner Bros. Pictures , Amblin Entertainment
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HISTORY

Innerspace was the fifth project Joe Dante directed for producer Steven Spielberg. Dante directed 1984’s Gremlins and a segment of 1983’s Twilight Zone: The Movie (see entries), plus two episodes of Spielberg’s Amazing Stories science-fiction-fantasy-horror television anthology series.
       Principal photography began on 28 Jul 1986 in Los Angeles, CA, according to the 6 Aug 1986 DV. Production materials in AMPAS library files indicate the film wrapped in San Francisco, CA, on 22 Oct 1986. The film shot for six weeks on location and on soundstages in Los Angeles before moving to San Francisco for three and a half weeks of location shooting. The 10 Apr 1986 LADN indicated the film had a $20 million budget.
       A test screening in Sacramento, CA, on 26 May 1987 found audiences enthusiastic about the film, the 28 May 1987 HR reported. Sneak previews were held on 500-600 screens nationwide on Saturday, 20 Jun 1987 with audiences happy with as the film the 24 Jun 1987 HR explained.
       However, when Innerspace opened on 1,603 screens on 1 Jul 1987, a Wednesday opening, it took in a mere $4.7 million in its first five days of release, according to the 7 Jul 1987 DV box-office report.
       With the film performing far below expectations, Warner Bros. quickly changed its advertising strategy, the 12 Jul 1987 LAT reported. The original print ads featured a tiny figure in the palm of a hand, but new ads featured cheery photos of stars Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, and Meg Ryan. However, its not clear ... More Less

Innerspace was the fifth project Joe Dante directed for producer Steven Spielberg. Dante directed 1984’s Gremlins and a segment of 1983’s Twilight Zone: The Movie (see entries), plus two episodes of Spielberg’s Amazing Stories science-fiction-fantasy-horror television anthology series.
       Principal photography began on 28 Jul 1986 in Los Angeles, CA, according to the 6 Aug 1986 DV. Production materials in AMPAS library files indicate the film wrapped in San Francisco, CA, on 22 Oct 1986. The film shot for six weeks on location and on soundstages in Los Angeles before moving to San Francisco for three and a half weeks of location shooting. The 10 Apr 1986 LADN indicated the film had a $20 million budget.
       A test screening in Sacramento, CA, on 26 May 1987 found audiences enthusiastic about the film, the 28 May 1987 HR reported. Sneak previews were held on 500-600 screens nationwide on Saturday, 20 Jun 1987 with audiences happy with as the film the 24 Jun 1987 HR explained.
       However, when Innerspace opened on 1,603 screens on 1 Jul 1987, a Wednesday opening, it took in a mere $4.7 million in its first five days of release, according to the 7 Jul 1987 DV box-office report.
       With the film performing far below expectations, Warner Bros. quickly changed its advertising strategy, the 12 Jul 1987 LAT reported. The original print ads featured a tiny figure in the palm of a hand, but new ads featured cheery photos of stars Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, and Meg Ryan. However, its not clear whether that new advertising strategy had much impact. After twenty-six days of release, the film had taken in a total of just $23.1 million, the 29 Jul 1987 DV reported.
       In addition to Innerspace underperforming, another Spielberg-produced film, Harry and the Hendersons (1987, see entry), about a family that tries to adopt Bigfoot as a pet, also had disappointing box-office totals, taking in only $22.8 million in its first five weeks in theatres. A 17 Jul 1987 LA Weekly analysis suggested that the public may have lost its appetite for science fiction and fantasy big-screen movies since they could see sci-fi, fantasy, or horror stories every week thanks to Spielberg’s Amazing Stories television anthology series. The article suggested that the genre had run out of good stories to tell, at least temporarily, and that having Spielberg’s name associated with a movie no longer guaranteed quality.
       In the fall of 1987, Innerspace was reissued in several markets to see how it performed out of the competitive summer period. The 25 Oct 1987 LAT indicated the film would open in Boston, MA; Cincinnati, OH; San Antonio, TX; and Tucson, AZ, on 30 Oct 1987, with a new print advertising campaign featuring a tiny spaceship with Dennis Quaid behind the windshield coming out of the mouth of Martin Short.
       Despite tepid critical reviews, the film earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
6 Aug 1986.
---
Daily Variety
22 Jun 1987
p. 3, 10.
Daily Variety
7 Jul 1987.
---
Daily Variety
29 Jul 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 1987
p. 3, 14.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 1987.
---
LA Weekly
17 Jul 1987.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
10 Apr 1986.
---
Los Angeles Times
1 Jul 1987
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
12 Jul 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Oct 1987.
---
New York Times
1 Jul 1987
p. 17.
Variety
24 Jun 1987
p. 13.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Also Starring:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Steven Spielberg Presents
A Guber-Peters Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit action dir
2d 2d asst dir
Unit prod mgr, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Co-exec prod
Co-exec prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Elec best boy
Key grip
Grip best boy
Dolly grip
Still photog
Video tech
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
Gaffer, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Prod illustrator
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Addl ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Const coord
Set des
Set des
Prop master
Asst prop master
Leadman
Leadman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus rec mixer
Digital keyboards by
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
ADR ed
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Cable op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley
Foley
Foley ed
Foley ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff supv
Spec eff supv
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Visual eff coord
Process coord
Graphic displays created and prod
Opticals
Title des
Title des
Martin Short's interiors prod at
Marin County, California
1st unit eff cam, ILM
Model shop supv, ILM
Visual eff art dir, ILM
Opt supv, ILM
Visual eff cam, ILM
Visual eff cam, ILM
Visual eff cam, ILM
Visual eff cam, ILM
Visual eff ed, ILM
Visual eff mgr, ILM
Anim cam op, ILM
Gen mgr, ILM
Prod supv, ILM
Asst cam, ILM
Asst cam, ILM
Asst cam, ILM
Asst cam, ILM
Modelshop project chief, ILM
Modelshop project chief, ILM
Modelshop project chief, ILM
Modelshop project chief, ILM
Stage mgr, ILM
Stage mgr, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Conceptual des, ILM
Sculptor, ILM
Sculptor, ILM
Sculptor, ILM
Sculptor, ILM
Sculptor, ILM
Sculptor, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Modelmaker, ILM
Puppeteer, ILM
Eff anim, ILM
Eff anim, ILM
Eff anim, ILM
Rotoscipe artist, ILM
Rotoscipe artist, ILM
Still photog, ILM
Still photog, ILM
MAKEUP
Spec makeup eff des and created by
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Craft service
Loc mgr
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Asst to Messrs. Dante & Finnell
Asst to Mr. Spielberg
Prod secy
Prod accountant
Prod runner
Prod runner
Prod runner
Prod runner
Prod runner
Unit pub
Tech advisor
Medical advisor
Process coord
Scr supv, 2d unit
Scr supv, 2d unit
Scr sup, 2d unit
STAND INS
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“Twistin’ The Night Away,” written by Sam Cooke, published by ABKCO Music, performed by Rod Stewart, produced by Rod Stewart, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
“Is It Really Love?,” written, produced and performed by Narada Michael Walden, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
“Hypnotize Me,” written and performed by Wang Chung, courtesy of Geffen Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
+
SONGS
“Twistin’ The Night Away,” written by Sam Cooke, published by ABKCO Music, performed by Rod Stewart, produced by Rod Stewart, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
“Is It Really Love?,” written, produced and performed by Narada Michael Walden, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
“Hypnotize Me,” written and performed by Wang Chung, courtesy of Geffen Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Will I Ever Understand You,” performed by Berlin, written by John Crawford, courtesy of Geffen Records and Polygram International Music B.V., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Twistin’ The Night Away,” written and performed by Sam Cooke, published by ABKCO Music, Inc., courtesy of RCA Records
“Cupid,” written and performed by Sam Cooke, published by ABKCO Music, Inc., courtesy of RCA Records
“I’m An Old Cow Hand (From The Rio Grande),” written by Johnny Mercer, published by CBS Feist Catalog Inc.
+
PERFORMERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 July 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 1 July 1987
Production Date:
28 July--22 October 1986
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 July 1987
Copyright Number:
PA338039
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral Recording Dolby Stereo ® in selected theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
120
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28654
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In San Francisco, California, down-on-his-luck naval aviator Lieutenant Tuck Pendelton causes a drunken scene at a military reception and is told to clean up his act. Attempting to redeem his reputation, Tuck volunteers for a secret miniaturization experiment being conducted at the technology company Vectorscope in the nearby Silicon Valley. Tuck is placed in a submersible pod, shrunk to microscopic size, and placed in a syringe and is supposed to be injected into a rabbit. However, before that injection takes place, rival technology researcher Dr. Margaret Canker and her henchmen break into the laboratory to steal the technology. Vectorscope researcher Ozzie Wexler grabs the syringe and runs to the nearby Santa Clara Fashion Square shopping mall. Canker’s men shoot Wexler, but just before he dies, he injects the syringe into the body of a passing shopper, meek Jack Putter. Jack goes to his job as a cashier at a nearby grocery store, not realizing what has happened to him. Meanwhile, in the pod, Tuck Pendelton, who was knocked unconscious while the syringe was in transport, awakens and assumes he is in the body of the rabbit. When he cannot make radio contact with the experiment team, he navigates the pod to Jack’s head so he can see through his eyes. Tuck realizes he is in a human, sets up a remote camera behind the eyes, and navigates to Jack’s ears to communicate with him. When Jack starts hearing Tuck’s voice, he assumes he has been possessed and goes to a doctor, who tells him he is suffering from hysteria. Jack goes home and turns on the television hoping to drown out the sound of Tuck’s voice. When Tuck sends ... +


In San Francisco, California, down-on-his-luck naval aviator Lieutenant Tuck Pendelton causes a drunken scene at a military reception and is told to clean up his act. Attempting to redeem his reputation, Tuck volunteers for a secret miniaturization experiment being conducted at the technology company Vectorscope in the nearby Silicon Valley. Tuck is placed in a submersible pod, shrunk to microscopic size, and placed in a syringe and is supposed to be injected into a rabbit. However, before that injection takes place, rival technology researcher Dr. Margaret Canker and her henchmen break into the laboratory to steal the technology. Vectorscope researcher Ozzie Wexler grabs the syringe and runs to the nearby Santa Clara Fashion Square shopping mall. Canker’s men shoot Wexler, but just before he dies, he injects the syringe into the body of a passing shopper, meek Jack Putter. Jack goes to his job as a cashier at a nearby grocery store, not realizing what has happened to him. Meanwhile, in the pod, Tuck Pendelton, who was knocked unconscious while the syringe was in transport, awakens and assumes he is in the body of the rabbit. When he cannot make radio contact with the experiment team, he navigates the pod to Jack’s head so he can see through his eyes. Tuck realizes he is in a human, sets up a remote camera behind the eyes, and navigates to Jack’s ears to communicate with him. When Jack starts hearing Tuck’s voice, he assumes he has been possessed and goes to a doctor, who tells him he is suffering from hysteria. Jack goes home and turns on the television hoping to drown out the sound of Tuck’s voice. When Tuck sends out an electronic pulse destroying the television, Jack starts listening to what he is saying. After escaping another of Dr. Canker’s henchmen, Jack follows Tuck’s instructions and goes to Vectorscope where he tries to explain what has happened to the project heads, Pete Blanchard and Dr. Niles, who say there is only enough oxygen in Tuck’s pod to last until 9:00 a.m. However, enlarging the pod requires two computer microchips. One microchip is in the pod, but the other was stolen by Dr. Canker. Without enough time to create another enlargement microchip, their only hope is to lure the thieves out before 9:00 a.m., which Blanchard and Niles admit is unlikely to happen. Unwilling to wait to die, Tuck tells Jack where to find the keys to his car and has him drive to San Francisco. Once there, Tuck spots his on-again, off-again girl friend, newspaper reporter Lydia Maxwell, and has Jack approach her. Without going into specifics, Jack tells Lydia that Tuck is in trouble and they have to save him before 9:00 a.m. However, one of Dr. Canker’s henchmen kidnaps Jack, locks him in a freezer truck, and takes him to Canker’s boss, Victor Scrimshaw, who believes miniaturization is the “key of the future” and intends to profit by selling the technology. Driving Tuck’s red Mustang convertible, Lydia pursues the freezer truck, and when Jack escapes from the moving truck, Lydia is there to pick him up. They go to a nightclub, following a tip that a stolen technology fence known as “The Cowboy” is in town to sell the miniaturization microchip. Lydia dances with The Cowboy, who takes her back to his hotel room. However, Jack is jealous that Lydia is with The Cowboy, barges into his room, punches him out, and ties him up in the bathtub. In the pod, Tuck manipulates Jack’s facial muscles so he will look like The Cowboy and can attend the fence’s meeting with Victor Scrimshaw. That meeting goes well until Scrimshaw wants a display of The Cowboy’s legendary endurance of pain. When Scrimshaw’s men pull out a blow torch, Jack panics and adrenaline races through his body, causing his face to change back. Scrimshaw locks up Jack and Lydia, who demands answers. Jack confesses that Tuck is miniaturized inside his body. However, Jack is also falling for Lydia and kisses her before they take him to Scrimshaw’s lab. Scrimshaw miniaturizes his henchman, Mr. Igoe, and injects him into Jack’s body. The plan is for Igoe to seize the pod and kill Tuck, then they will enlarge the pod while it is still inside Jack’s body, a procedure that will kill Jack. Meanwhile, Lydia escapes and heads to the lab to rescue Jack. They miniaturize Scrimshaw and Canker, then take the microchip needed for enlargement and rush away. Unknown to Lydia, when she and Jack kissed, Tuck’s miniaturized pod was accidentally transferred to her body. Tuck tries to make contact with her by playing their favorite song. She initially ignores it, but eventually realizes what has happened. Lydia kisses Jack to transfer the pod back. However, with the pod again inside Jack’s body, Mr. Igoe quickly finds it and attacks. Tuck tries to fight him off, but Igoe cuts the oxygen tank to the pod. Tuck retreats to Jack’s stomach and Igoe follows, but the stomach acid kills Igoe. Lydia and Jack return to Vectorscope so they can enlarge Tuck’s pod. With Tuck’s oxygen almost depleted, Jack sneezes, releasing Tuck’s pod from his body. The scientists enlarge the pod and rescue Tuck just before he takes his final breath. Soon after, Tuck and Lydia are married. However, as they ride away for their honeymoon, Jack realizes their limousine driver was The Cowboy in disguise. Jack hops into the car to rescue them. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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