The Meteor Man (1993)

PG | 109 mins | Comedy-drama, Fantasy | 6 August 1993

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HISTORY

According to a 26 Jul 1993 HR article, writer-director-star Robert Townsend based his original superhero character, “Jefferson Reed,” also known as “Meteor Man,” on one of his grade school teachers of the same name. The 3 Jun 1992 DV noted that the film marked the acting debuts of rap artists Another Bad Creation, Big Daddy Kane, Naughty by Nature, Cypress Hill, and Biz Markie. A 20 Mar 1992 Screen International item suggested that Mel Brooks was also scheduled to make a cameo appearance, but he does not appear in the final film. Despite his status as a highly paid star, the 1 Apr 1992 DV reported that Bill Cosby set his own salary at just $100 per day for his brief supporting role as “Marvin.” Materials in AMPAS library files state that the child actors Asia Dos Reis, Sam Jackson, and the six “Baby Lords” were discovered in casting calls in New York City; Los Angeles, CA; and Chicago, IL.
       Principal photography began 13 Apr 1992, as indicated by a 26 May 1992 HR production chart. Because filming took place around the time of riots in Los Angeles, CA, Robert Townsend reportedly rewrote parts of the script to reflect the current social unrest, including a scene in which “Meteor Man” restores peace between two rival gangs. On 1 May 1992, DV stated that filming at a downtown medical building on South Hope Street was cut short due to noise interference from helicopters and police sirens in the area. The remainder of production took place in the Reservoir Hill neighborhood of Baltimore, MD, while additional special effects ... More Less

According to a 26 Jul 1993 HR article, writer-director-star Robert Townsend based his original superhero character, “Jefferson Reed,” also known as “Meteor Man,” on one of his grade school teachers of the same name. The 3 Jun 1992 DV noted that the film marked the acting debuts of rap artists Another Bad Creation, Big Daddy Kane, Naughty by Nature, Cypress Hill, and Biz Markie. A 20 Mar 1992 Screen International item suggested that Mel Brooks was also scheduled to make a cameo appearance, but he does not appear in the final film. Despite his status as a highly paid star, the 1 Apr 1992 DV reported that Bill Cosby set his own salary at just $100 per day for his brief supporting role as “Marvin.” Materials in AMPAS library files state that the child actors Asia Dos Reis, Sam Jackson, and the six “Baby Lords” were discovered in casting calls in New York City; Los Angeles, CA; and Chicago, IL.
       Principal photography began 13 Apr 1992, as indicated by a 26 May 1992 HR production chart. Because filming took place around the time of riots in Los Angeles, CA, Robert Townsend reportedly rewrote parts of the script to reflect the current social unrest, including a scene in which “Meteor Man” restores peace between two rival gangs. On 1 May 1992, DV stated that filming at a downtown medical building on South Hope Street was cut short due to noise interference from helicopters and police sirens in the area. The remainder of production took place in the Reservoir Hill neighborhood of Baltimore, MD, while additional special effects sequences were shot at the Industrial Light & Magic complex in Marin County, CA. Although DV estimated a $10 million budget, the 26 Jul 1993 HR reported a final cost of closer to $20 million.
       Despite earlier reports claiming that the picture was intended to open around Christmas 1992, the release date was pushed back to 6 Aug 1993. According to a 14 Jun 1993 HR article, the first cut of the film was completed in Jan 1993, with editing and sound mixing continuing through early summer. Around this time, Townsend and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) vocally protested the marketing approach taken by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), stating that the offensive and misleading use of “hip-hop” language in print and television advertising undermined the filmmaker’s attempts to target a wide, not just black, audience.
       A 30 Jul 1993 brief in the DV “Just For Variety” column reported that the Los Angeles premiere, benefitting the Sickle Cell Disease Research Foundation, was scheduled to take place the following day at the Hollywood Pacific Theater. The film opened nationwide in 1,200 theaters and received lackluster reviews.
       According to the 26 Jul 1993 HR, Marvel Comics released a limited “Meteor Man” comic book series that featured appearances by “Spider-Man.”
       End credits state: "Special Thanks to: The Citizens of Callow Street for their patrience, cooperation and assistance; Baltimore Film Commission; Maryland Film Commission; Mayor Schmoke of Baltimore; Messiah Baptist Church; Michael Williams and Williams Crane Service, Inc. of Baltimore, Maryland; Jet Magazine, Copyright Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.; Houghton Mifflin Co.; Cultured Design; Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.; National Park Service, National Capitol Region"; and, "Filmed in part at Tinsel Townsend Studios in Hollywood California and on location in Los Angeles, California and Baltimore, Maryland." More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
13 Feb 1992.
---
Daily Variety
1 Apr 1992.
---
Daily Variety
1 May 1992.
---
Daily Variety
3 Jun 1992.
---
Daily Variety
30 Jul 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 May 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 1993
p. 3, 44.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 1993
p. 6, 26.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Aug 1993
p. 6, 14.
Los Angeles Times
6 Aug 1993
Calendar, p. 10.
New York Times
7 Aug 1993
Section I, p. 9.
Screen International
20 Mar 1992.
---
Variety
16 Aug 1993
p. 39.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
With special appearances by:
And
as Marvin
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Presents
A Tinsel Townsend Production
A Film by Robert Townsend
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Video asst
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Best boy elec
Elec
Elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Lighting equip supplied by
Cranes and dollies by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Loc art dept coord
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
1st asst film ed
1st asst film ed
1st asst film ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
Ed asst
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
(Baltimore) Leadman
Const coord
Const coord Baltimore
Prop master
Asst prop master
Prop maker
Prop maker
Prop maker asst
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Key costumer
Asst cost des
Asst to the cost des
Set costumer
Set costumer
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus clearance & licensing
Mus ed
Mus supv
SOUND
Sd mixer
Post prod sd services provided by
Sd des
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
ADR ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd eff ed
Asst sd eff ed
Asst dial ed
Asst dial ed
Asst Foley ed
Apprentice ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff supv
Spec eff supv
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff gangboss
Electronics foreman
Electronics specialist
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Spec eff asst
Asst to spec eff supv
Spec visual eff by
Visual eff prod, ILM
Visual eff art dir, ILM
Key eff cam, ILM
Opt photog supv, ILM
Opt photog supv, ILM
Visual eff ed, ILM
Computer graphics supv, ILM
Wire removal supv, ILM
Eff cam supv, ILM
Anim supv, ILM
Rotoscop supv, ILM
Film scanning supv, ILM
Model shop supv, ILM
Gen mgr, ILM
Exec in charge of prod, ILM
Visual eff & plate coord, ILM
Motion control cam op, ILM
Cam asst, ILM
Cam asst, ILM
Cam asst, ILM
Cam asst, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Opt cam op, ILM
Eff cam op, ILM
Eff cam op, ILM
Eff cam op, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Opt line-up, ILM
Computer graphics anim, ILM
Computer graphics anim, ILM
Computer graphics anim, ILM
Computer graphics anim, ILM
Digital eff asst, ILM
Digital eff artist, ILM
Digital eff artist, ILM
Digital eff asst, ILM
Digital eff artist, ILM
Digital eff asst, ILM
Digital eff artist, ILM
Digital eff artist, ILM
Digital roto artist, ILM
Computer graphics prod mgr, ILM
Visual eff asst ed, ILM
Scanning op, ILM
Scanning op, ILM
Eff anim, ILM
Eff anim, ILM
Asst eff anim, ILM
Asst eff anim, ILM
Asst eff anim, ILM
Rotoscope artist, ILM
Rotoscope artist, ILM
Rotoscope artist, ILM
Rotoscope artist, ILM
Rotoscope artist, ILM
Rotoscope artist, ILM
Rotoscope artist, ILM
Rotoscope artist, ILM
Stage mgr, ILM
Key stage tech, ILM
Key stage tech, ILM
Spec eff, ILM
Spec eff, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Stage tech, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Model maker, ILM
Action prop performer, ILM
Action prop performer, ILM
Stop motion anim, ILM
Ed asst, ILM
Ed asst, ILM
Negative cutter, ILM
Opt processing, ILM
Opt processing, ILM
Computer graphics tech asst, ILM
Computer graphics tech asst, ILM
Computer graphics tech asst, ILM
Post prod coord, ILM
Post prod coord, ILM
Post prod coord, ILM
Post prod coord, ILM
Cam eng, ILM
Cam eng, ILM
Cam eng, ILM
Prod support staff, ILM
Prod support staff, ILM
Prod support staff, ILM
Prod support staff, ILM
Prod support staff, ILM
Opticals
Title des
MAKEUP
Hair des
Key hair
Makeup des
Key makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec asst to Ms. Jones
Exec asst to Mr. Townsend
Exec asst to Mr. Townsend
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Prod coord
Asst prod cord
Scr supv
Co-loc mgr
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Crane driver
Baltimore capt
Picture car coord
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod secy
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Casting consultant
Co-casting consultant
Casting asst
Casting asst
Casting asst
ADR voice casting
Extras casting
Extras casting
Extras casting, Central Casting
Animals trained and supplied by
Head trainer
Unit pub
Studio teacher
Studio teacher
Security services by
First aid
First aid
Travel arrangements
Travel arrangements
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Fencing consultant
Fencing consultant
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“Can’t Let Her Get Away,” written by Michael Jackson and Teddy Riley, performed by Michael Jackson, courtesy of Epic Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
“Somebody Cares For You,” written by Frank McComb, Gerald LaVert, Terry Stubbs, Edward Banks and Melvin Sephus, produced by Terry Stubbs, performed by Frank McComb
“U Turn Me On,” written by Roy Pennon, Suamana Brown and Stephanie Riley, produced by Roy Pennon, performed by Hi-Five, courtesy of Jive Records
+
SONGS
“Can’t Let Her Get Away,” written by Michael Jackson and Teddy Riley, performed by Michael Jackson, courtesy of Epic Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
“Somebody Cares For You,” written by Frank McComb, Gerald LaVert, Terry Stubbs, Edward Banks and Melvin Sephus, produced by Terry Stubbs, performed by Frank McComb
“U Turn Me On,” written by Roy Pennon, Suamana Brown and Stephanie Riley, produced by Roy Pennon, performed by Hi-Five, courtesy of Jive Records
“Them Their Eyes,” written by Maceo Pinkard, William Tracey and Doris Tauber, performed by Billie Holiday, courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
“It’s On,” written by Anthony Criss, Vincent Brown, Keir Gist and Donald Byrd, performed by Naughty By Nature, courtesy of Tommy Boy Music, Inc.
“Good Love,” written and produced by Pete Scott and Al Richardson, performed by Elaine Stepter
“Is It Just Too Much,” written by Phil Roy and Roy Hay, produced by George Duke, performed by Keith Washington, courtesy of Qwest Records
“Gotta Know (Your Name),” written by Steve Hurley, Chantay Savage, Tommye Miller and Jamie Principle, performed by Malā
ika, courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
“Don’t Waste My Time,” written by Raymond Jones, Sami McKinney and Denise Rich, produced by Raymond Jones and Keith Schokiee, performed by Lisa Taylor, courtesy of Giant Records
“Move This,” written by Manuella Kamosi and Jo Bogaert, performed by Technotronic, courtesy of EMI Records Group/SBK Records, under license from CEMA Special Markets
“I Say A Prayer,” written and produced by Pete Scott and Al Richardson, performed by Howard Hewett
“Too Legit To Quit,” written by Hammer, Felton C. Pilate II, Michael Kelly, Louis K. Burrell and James Earley, performed by Hammer, courtesy of Capitol Records, under license from CEMA Special Markets
“Something New,” written by Rodney K. Jackson and Danny Moore, performed by Malā
ika, courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
“Ain’t Nobody Bad Like Meteor Man” (Meteor Man Theme), written by Aisha Baker, Tommy Gun, Pete Scott and Al Richardson, produced by Pete Scott and Al Richardson, performed by Big Hat Ray Ray
“It’s For You,” written by Shanice Wilson, Eric Kirkland and Michael Angelo Saulsberry, produced and arranged by Erik Kirkland and Michael Angelo Saulsberry from Portrait Productions, courtesy of Qwest Records, performed by Shanice, courtesy of Motown Record Company, L.P.
+
COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 August 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles premiere: 31 July 1993
Los Angeles and New York openings: 6 August 1993
Production Date:
began 13 April 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Copyright Date:
23 September 1993
Copyright Number:
PA662443
Physical Properties:
Sound
This film mixed and recorded in a THX Sound System Theater; Dolby Stereo® in selected theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras & lenses
Duration(in mins):
109
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
33449
SYNOPSIS

In Washington, D.C., Jefferson “Jeff” Reed works as a substitute teacher at an inner-city elementary school. Soft-spoken and modest, Jeff often avoids conflict and confrontation, especially when threatened by members of the Golden Lords gang, who have overrun his Castle Hill neighborhood with their flourishing drug trade. While his parents help develop a community watch program intended to minimize crime, Jeff chooses not to get involved. Sometime later, he encounters the Golden Lords in an alley and is forced to seek refuge in a dumpster. On his way home, a glowing green meteoroid falls from the sky and strikes Jeff in the chest, melting into his skin and leaving him badly burned. Before paramedics arrive, a homeless man named Marvin absconds with a piece of the meteor. After only a few days in the hospital, doctors are stunned to discover that Jeff has made a full recovery, with no residual signs of injury. Over time, he learns that the meteor has armed him with several strange powers, such as the ability to see through walls, communicate with animals, and fly. When a group of Golden Lords attacks his father, Jeff uses his newfound super-strength to chase them away. Astounded, Mr. and Mrs. Reed spend the night plotting ways Jeff can use his powers to protect the community. The next morning, Mrs. Reed presents him with a handmade costume and dubs him “Meteor Man.” During his first night on the job, Meteor Man prevents eleven robberies, negotiates a truce between two rival gangs, and busts a $1 billion shipment of cocaine. While the public debates the identity of the mysterious figure, Meteor Man cleans out an abandoned lot and plants ... +


In Washington, D.C., Jefferson “Jeff” Reed works as a substitute teacher at an inner-city elementary school. Soft-spoken and modest, Jeff often avoids conflict and confrontation, especially when threatened by members of the Golden Lords gang, who have overrun his Castle Hill neighborhood with their flourishing drug trade. While his parents help develop a community watch program intended to minimize crime, Jeff chooses not to get involved. Sometime later, he encounters the Golden Lords in an alley and is forced to seek refuge in a dumpster. On his way home, a glowing green meteoroid falls from the sky and strikes Jeff in the chest, melting into his skin and leaving him badly burned. Before paramedics arrive, a homeless man named Marvin absconds with a piece of the meteor. After only a few days in the hospital, doctors are stunned to discover that Jeff has made a full recovery, with no residual signs of injury. Over time, he learns that the meteor has armed him with several strange powers, such as the ability to see through walls, communicate with animals, and fly. When a group of Golden Lords attacks his father, Jeff uses his newfound super-strength to chase them away. Astounded, Mr. and Mrs. Reed spend the night plotting ways Jeff can use his powers to protect the community. The next morning, Mrs. Reed presents him with a handmade costume and dubs him “Meteor Man.” During his first night on the job, Meteor Man prevents eleven robberies, negotiates a truce between two rival gangs, and busts a $1 billion shipment of cocaine. While the public debates the identity of the mysterious figure, Meteor Man cleans out an abandoned lot and plants a lush vegetable garden in the city’s poorest neighborhood. Meanwhile, Golden Lords boss, Anthony Byers, issues a reward for Meteor Man’s capture. A gang member known as Goldilocks recalls the night of Mr. Reed’s assault and identifies Jeff as the superhero. In time, Jeff’s best friend, Michael, steals his costume and poses as Meteor Man at a local shopping mall in an attempt to attract women. As the Golden Lords stake out the mall, Jeff arrives and levitates his friend to safety. Golden Lords gang leader, Simon, witnesses the event and sends his men to issue a threatening warning to Jeff’s neighbors. His powers fading, Jeff falls into a coma for the next several hours to recharge. When he awakens, he finds the community has been ravaged by crime once again, and his neighbors have decided it is safest for him to leave. As he packs his belongings, the Golden Lords assemble outside his apartment and challenge him to a final fight. Although he no longer possesses full super-strength, Jeff confronts the gang and is badly beaten by Simon. The brawl attracts the attention of Marvin the homeless man, who uses powers obtained from the spare chunk of meteor to disarm the Golden Lords. As chaos breaks out among the residents of Castle Hill, Marvin accidentally drops the magical rock, which lands between Jeff and Simon. Both men lunge for it, equally absorbing its remaining power. After a grueling battle, Simon hurls Jeff over a building and declares himself leader of the city. Moments later, however, Jeff confidently re-emerges as Meteor Man, restrains Simon, and drains him of his powers. Once the Golden Lords flee, Byers arrives, flanked by several dozen assassins who intend to kill Meteor Man once and for all. Their attempt is thwarted by the Bloods and the Crips, two of the city’s most prominent gangs, who unit in defense of Meteor Man. Byers is arrested by police, and Jeff smiles gratefully at his friends and neighbors. +

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

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