Baby Boom (1987)

PG | 103 mins | Comedy, Romance | 7 October 1987

Director:

Charles Shyer

Producer:

Nancy Meyers

Cinematographer:

William Fraker

Editor:

Lynzee Klingman

Production Designer:

Jeffrey Howard

Production Company:

United Artists
Full page view
HISTORY

The opening title card is followed by a scene in which “J. C. Wiatt” navigates the crowded New York City streets on her way to work, accompanied by Linda Ellerbee’s voice-over narration: “Fifty-three percent of the American workforce is female. Three generations of women that turned a thousand years of tradition on its ear. As little girls they were told to grow up and marry doctors and lawyers. Instead, they grew up and became doctors and lawyers. They moved out of the pink ghetto and into the executive suite. Sociologists say the new working woman is a phenomenon of our time. Take J. C. Wiatt, for example. Graduated first in her class at Yale, got her MBA at Harvard. Has a corner office at the corner of 58th and Park. She works five to nine, she makes six figures a year, and they call her the ‘Tiger Lady.’ Married to her job, she lives with an investment banker married to his. They collect African art, co-own their co-op, and have separate but equal IRA accounts. One would take it for granted that a woman like this has it all. One must never take anything for granted.”
       An article in the 22 Aug 1986 LAT included Baby Boom as one of three newly-approved projects from United Artists (UA), which signified the company’s desire to produce more “high-concept” yet “fiscally responsible” films. According to the 14 Oct 1987 HR, Jeff Berg, agent to writer-producer Nancy Meyers and her then-husband, writer-director Charles Shyer, suggested bringing the project to UA even though the couple’s previous collaborations, Private Benjamin (1980, see entry) and Irreconcilable Differences ... More Less

The opening title card is followed by a scene in which “J. C. Wiatt” navigates the crowded New York City streets on her way to work, accompanied by Linda Ellerbee’s voice-over narration: “Fifty-three percent of the American workforce is female. Three generations of women that turned a thousand years of tradition on its ear. As little girls they were told to grow up and marry doctors and lawyers. Instead, they grew up and became doctors and lawyers. They moved out of the pink ghetto and into the executive suite. Sociologists say the new working woman is a phenomenon of our time. Take J. C. Wiatt, for example. Graduated first in her class at Yale, got her MBA at Harvard. Has a corner office at the corner of 58th and Park. She works five to nine, she makes six figures a year, and they call her the ‘Tiger Lady.’ Married to her job, she lives with an investment banker married to his. They collect African art, co-own their co-op, and have separate but equal IRA accounts. One would take it for granted that a woman like this has it all. One must never take anything for granted.”
       An article in the 22 Aug 1986 LAT included Baby Boom as one of three newly-approved projects from United Artists (UA), which signified the company’s desire to produce more “high-concept” yet “fiscally responsible” films. According to the 14 Oct 1987 HR, Jeff Berg, agent to writer-producer Nancy Meyers and her then-husband, writer-director Charles Shyer, suggested bringing the project to UA even though the couple’s previous collaborations, Private Benjamin (1980, see entry) and Irreconcilable Differences (1984, see entry), were released through Warner Bros. Pictures. While the screenplay had taken more than a year to complete, Meyers and Shyer sold the project to UA co-chairmen Lee Rich and Tony Thomopoulos after just three days of negotiations.
       Meyers reportedly modeled the character of J. C. Wiatt on herself and actress Rosalind Russell. Diane Keaton immediately agreed to star, and although the studio was unsure Sam Shepard would be interested in playing “Dr. Jeff Cooper,” the 22 Oct 1986 HR announced that he had joined the cast along with Harold Ramis. A 20 Sep 1986 LAHExam brief announced that an open casting call for the role of “Elizabeth Wiatt” was held 22 Sep 1986 at the Los Angeles Children’s Museum. The 28 Nov 1986 NYT stated that fourteen-month-old twins Michelle and Kristine Kennedy from Long Island, NY, were used interchangeably to abide by the strict workday limitations set by child labor laws. According to the Nov 1987 issue of AmCin, several scheduling adjustments were made to accommodate the infants. To film Elizabeth sleeping, crewmembers were required to darken the set until the baby was asleep, at which point the lights would be gradually raised and the camera would begin rolling.
       According to production materials in AMPAS library files, principal photography began 5 Nov 1986 and concluded 17 Feb 1987. AmCin reported that the film was shot in “reverse script order” to accommodate the required season changes. Like J. C. in the film, Meyers was inspired to go to Vermont after reading the NYT real estate section, and decided to set the story there. Searching for a location that resembled Norman Rockwell’s illustrations in The Saturday Evening Post, filmmakers chose the small town of Peru, VT, which required very little exterior redecoration. AmCin noted that due to the age of the buildings, standard Fisher 10 dollies were swapped for lighter, Chapman Pee-Wee camera systems for scenes shot in second-floor locations.
       Following two weeks in the Manchester, VT, area, the 26 Nov 1986 Var stated that production had moved to New York City. A 28 Nov 1986 NYT article indicated that filming took place outside the former F.A.O. Schwarz store at 745 Fifth Avenue, while the 10 Dec 1986 Var reported that Keaton and Ramis had only six hours to film a scene between the daily commuter rush hours at Grand Central Station. Special effects supervisor John Frazier used heavy “crack oil” smoke effects to simulate train steam. According to AmCin, smoke effects were used again when additional “New York City” exteriors were filmed in Los Angeles, CA. While New York City’s Seagram Building stood in for the exterior of “Sloane, Curtis & Co.,” the 1 Nov 1987 Los Angeles magazine stated that J. C.’s apartment interiors were built on Stage 10 of the Twentieth Century Fox studio. As reported in the 21 Jan 1987 DV, scenes had been filmed in the international terminal of Los Angeles International Airport the previous day.
       The 25 Sep 1987 DV listed a final production cost of roughly $12.5 million, which a UA executive told the 10 Dec 1986 Var was considered “below the industry average.”
       A news item in the 16 Mar 1987 issue of People magazine claimed that Keaton’s parents, Jack and Dorothy Hall, appear as background actors in a restaurant scene, but they are not named in onscreen credits.
       The 18 Aug 1987 HR announced that the world premiere was scheduled to take place 17 Sep 1987 at the Festival of Festivals in Toronto, Canada. According to a 2 Oct 1987 HR brief, the Los Angeles premiere was held 6 Oct 1987 at the AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Proceeds benefitted TRIPOD, a non-profit organization for hearing-impaired children, and a captioned version of the film was simultaneously screened at the Academy’s Little Theater.
       On 3 Oct 1987, the LAT advertised special “sneak preview” screenings to be held that evening in several Los Angeles area theaters. In addition, the 25 Sep 1987 DV reported that UA spent $700,000 on an advertising campaign featuring a 120-second televised trailer, the longest promotional television spot for a film to date. The 14 Oct 1987 HR announced that Baby Boom, which opened in nineteen cities on 7 Oct 1987, had gained considerable word-of-mouth and would expand to 500—600 screens on 28 Oct 1987, and even more venues on 7 Nov 1987.
       Critics consistently praised Diane Keaton’s performance, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress – Comedy or Musical. The film was also nominated for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.
       On 14 Jan 1988, DV announced that Meyers and Shyer planned to adapt the feature into a thirty-minute, single-camera comedy series for NBC. After Shyer directed the pilot, the couple handed the project off to a team of approved writers. The Baby Boom television series aired 10 Sep 1988—4 Jan 1989, and retained original character names and basic plot elements of the film. Instead of moving to Vermont, however, J. C. relocates to the Upper West Side and hires a nanny to help her maintain her “yuppie lifestyle” at the consulting firm. While Kate Jackson stepped in as J. C., Sam Wanamaker returned as “Fritz Curtis,” and Michelle and Kristina Kennedy reprised their shared role as Elizabeth.
              End credits include the dedication, “For Annie,” the daughter of Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer. “Special Thanks” are given to: “Jerome A. Shiell, M.D. and to the People of Peru, Vermont for their cooperation and friendship.” Credits also state: “The Producer wishes to thank the following for their contributions: Finlandia Furniture; Gemini G.E.L.; David Hockney; ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson’ courtesy of National Broadcasting Company, Inc.; Trans World Airlines.”
       Although not credited onscreen, the film also uses footage from I Love Lucy (CBS Television Network, 15 Oct 1951—6 May 1957), and a saxophone arrangement of the Oscar Hammerstein II, Bert Kalmar, and Harry Ruby song, “A Kiss To Build A Dream On.”
       Actor Chris Noth is credited onscreen as “Christopher Noth.” More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Nov 1987
pp. 50-55.
Daily Variety
10 Dec 1986.
---
Daily Variety
21 Jan 1987.
---
Daily Variety
25 Sep 1987.
---
Daily Variety
14 Jan 1988
p. 1, 64.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Oct 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 1987
p. 3, 5.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 1987.
---
LAHExam
20 Sep 1986.
---
Los Angeles
1 Nov 1987
pp. 24-25.
Los Angeles Times
22 Aug 1986
p. 1, 18.
Los Angeles Times
3 Oct 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
7 Oct 1987
p. 1.
New York Times
28 Nov 1986.
---
New York Times
7 Oct 1987
p. 24.
People
16 Mar 1987.
---
Variety
10 Dec 1986.
---
Variety
26 Nov 1986.
---
Variety
23 Sep 1987
p. 13, 26.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
United Artists Presents
A Nancy Meyers/Charles Shyer Production
from United Artists
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
Unit dir, East Coast 2d unit
Unit prod mgr, East Coast 2d unit
Addl 2d asst dir, East Coast 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Chief lighting tech
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Panaglide op
Still photog
Still photog
Key grip
Best boy
Dir of photog, East Coast 2d unit
Addl photog, East Coast 2d unit
Still photog, East Coast 2d unit
Lamp op
Lamp op
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
1st asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Prop master
Asst props
Leadman
Greensman
Stand-by painter
Labor foreman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's cost supv
Women's cost supv
Asst to the cost des
Men's costumer, East Coast 2d unit
MUSIC
Mus ed
Orch
Mus scoring mixer
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd ed staff
Sd ed staff
Sd ed staff
Sd ed staff
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
Boom op
Utility cableman
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Title des
Opticals
Matte paintings
Matte artist
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Unit pub
Asst to Ms. Meyers and Mr. Shyer
Asst to Ms. Meyers and Mr. Shyer
Loc mgr
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Welfare worker
Casting assoc
Extra casting
Voice casting
Business consultant
Loc mgr, East Coast 2d unit
Prod coord, East Coast 2d unit
Vermont casting, East Coast 2d unit
Prod secy
Asst transportation coord
Craft service keyman
First aid
COLOR PERSONNEL
[Col by]
SOURCES
SONGS
"Everchanging Times," written by Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager and Bill Conti, performed by Siedah Garrett, courtesy of Qwest Records, produced by Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager and David Foster.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
7 October 1987
Premiere Information:
Toronto Festival of Festivals world premiere: 17 September 1987
Los Angeles premiere: 6 October 1987
Los Angeles and New York openings: 7 October 1987
Production Date:
5 November 1986--17 February 1987
Copyright Claimant:
United Artists Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
27 November 1987
Copyright Number:
PA353149
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Panaflex® Camera and Lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
103
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28756
SYNOPSIS

A graduate of both Yale and Harvard universities, J. C. Wiatt, known by her associates as the “Tiger Lady,” has established a reputation as a successful New York City management consultant at Sloane, Curtis & Co. After a busy day at work, J. C. has dinner with company owner Fritz Curtis, who announces that she is in consideration for a partnership. Although Fritz expresses concern that J. C.’s inherent “female” instinct to settle down may hinder her performance, she assures him that work is always her first priority. That evening, J. C. peruses the newspaper for a Vermont vacation home. Her live-in boyfriend, investment banker Steven Buchner, distracts her by requesting to make love. She grudgingly agrees, and after an unsatisfying four-minute rendezvous, the couple returns to their reading. In the middle of the night, J. C. receives a telephone call informing her that a distant British relative has died in a tragic car accident and has left her something in his will. Due to the poor connection, J. C. is unable to hear the remainder of the call, and goes to the airport to pick up her unknown inheritance. At the gate, she discovers that her cousin has bequeathed J. C. guardianship of his infant daughter, Elizabeth. Despite her lack of parenting skills, J. C. has no choice but to take Elizabeth with her to an important lunch meeting, where she hands off the child to the disgruntled coat check girl. During lunch, however, J. C. is unable to ignore the constant distraction of Elizabeth’s crying. After coming home from work, Steven is shocked to find a baby in the apartment and urges J. C. to put her ... +


A graduate of both Yale and Harvard universities, J. C. Wiatt, known by her associates as the “Tiger Lady,” has established a reputation as a successful New York City management consultant at Sloane, Curtis & Co. After a busy day at work, J. C. has dinner with company owner Fritz Curtis, who announces that she is in consideration for a partnership. Although Fritz expresses concern that J. C.’s inherent “female” instinct to settle down may hinder her performance, she assures him that work is always her first priority. That evening, J. C. peruses the newspaper for a Vermont vacation home. Her live-in boyfriend, investment banker Steven Buchner, distracts her by requesting to make love. She grudgingly agrees, and after an unsatisfying four-minute rendezvous, the couple returns to their reading. In the middle of the night, J. C. receives a telephone call informing her that a distant British relative has died in a tragic car accident and has left her something in his will. Due to the poor connection, J. C. is unable to hear the remainder of the call, and goes to the airport to pick up her unknown inheritance. At the gate, she discovers that her cousin has bequeathed J. C. guardianship of his infant daughter, Elizabeth. Despite her lack of parenting skills, J. C. has no choice but to take Elizabeth with her to an important lunch meeting, where she hands off the child to the disgruntled coat check girl. During lunch, however, J. C. is unable to ignore the constant distraction of Elizabeth’s crying. After coming home from work, Steven is shocked to find a baby in the apartment and urges J. C. to put her up for adoption as soon as possible. Unsure what to do with Elizabeth in the meantime, they feed her a plate of linguine that ends up splattered on the kitchen walls, and use electrical tape to clumsily fasten her diaper. First thing in the morning, Steven leaves for a business conference while J. C. takes Elizabeth to meet the adoption agent. Already feeling guilty for choosing to give the baby away, she spends the rest of the weekend working from home and caring for Elizabeth when she gets sick. A few days later, an undesirable couple from Duluth, Minnesota, offers to adopt Elizabeth, but J. C. opts to keep the baby while trying to maintain her career. The decision does not sit well with Steven, and they part ways. At work, J. C.’s preoccupation with Elizabeth quickly jeopardizes her chances of becoming a partner, and she decides to hire a nanny. One evening, Fritz Curtis promotes one of J. C.’s enterprising young protégés, Ken Arrenberg, to assist her work on the company’s top client, Food Chain. Over time, J. C. becomes exhausted from the responsibility of caring for Elizabeth while putting in extra hours at work. Despite her best efforts, Ken eventually usurps her authority on the Food Chain account, and Fritz supports him, claiming that J. C. has “gone soft” ever since she inherited Elizabeth. He reminds her that women “can’t have it all,” and offers her a low-profile account that will allow her to spend more time with the baby. Unwilling to accept a demotion, J. C. quits the company and purchases her dream house in the small town of Hadleyville, Vermont. Although she enjoys her new rural lifestyle tending to the farm and a large apple orchard, the old Colonial house requires several thousand dollars of plumbing and roofing repairs. Upon learning that the unexpected costs will nearly deplete her bank account, J. C. has a breakdown and passes out. The plumber takes her to the office of Dr. Jeff Cooper, the local veterinarian, who asks if the episode may have been caused by pregnancy. J. C. denies the possibility, explaining that she has not had sex in a very long time. The overwhelming embarrassment causes her to cry as she laments her recent life choices and embraces Dr. Cooper, but she quickly recoils when she realizes he treats animals. Resolved to move back to New York, J. C. sells jars of homemade, "gourmet" applesauce at the local general store. When a group of vacationing yuppies buys up her stock, J. C. decides to expand and begins researching business models in the baby food market. She runs into Dr. Cooper at the library, but remains humiliated by their previous encounter and rejects his invitation to have coffee. When he asks if all men make her so nervous, J. C. gathers her books and leaves. On the way home, J. C. blows a tire and attempts to replace it on the side of the road. Although Dr. Cooper stops to help, she asserts her status as a “tough, cold career woman” resistant to his charms. When J. C. finishes her rant, Dr. Cooper pulls her into a passionate kiss before bidding her goodnight. Still determined to escape Hadleyville, J. C. designs packaging for her “Country Baby” applesauce and expands sales across the Northeastern U.S. Over the next few months, the brand gains national media attention and J. C. is lauded for its booming success. During this time, she warms to Dr. Cooper and welcomes his romantic advances when he asks her to dance at the town’s Maple Festival. Afterward, she invites him over for a glass of wine, and he spends the night. The next morning, J. C. receives a telephone call from Fritz Curtis, notifying her of Food Chain’s interest in purchasing Country Baby. Although she had not considered selling the company, J. C. is tempted to return to the business world and drives to New York for a meeting. At the office, she is greeted warmly by her former associates, who compliment her success and encourage her to forget about their past differences. In addition to a $3 million cash buyout, Food Chain’s proposal includes a million-dollar salary and a pre-paid New York City apartment if J. C. remains onboard as the company’s chief operating officer. Once the initial thrill wears off, J. C. declines the offer, insisting that she is capable of growing the business on her own without having to make the sacrifices her male counterparts consider necessary. The baffled executives attempt to change her mind, but J. C. returns to Hadleyville and visits Dr. Cooper’s office to inform him that she plans to stay in Vermont. At home, J. C. sits contentedly at the living room window with Elizabeth nestled in her arms. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.