Can't Buy Me Love (1987)

PG-13 | 94 mins | Comedy, Romance | 14 August 1987

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HISTORY

       On 25 Sep 1986, DV announced that executive producer Jere Henshaw and Ron Beckman’s Apollo Pictures, Inc., had raised over $17 million from private investors and stock offerings since the company’s Aug 1985 inception, and its third film, Boy Rents Girl, was scheduled to begin production Jan 1987.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, screenwriter Michael Swerdlick was inspired by his work at a Hollywood talent agency, where he was generally unnoticed by executives. However, when he escorted a top model to an industry function, many of those same executives started befriending him.
       Still referring to the film as Boy Rents Girl, 10 Feb 1987 HR production charts stated that principal photography began 8 Jan 1987 in Tucson, AZ.
       By 12 Jun 1987, the film’s title had been changed to Can’t Buy Me Love, as both DV and HR reported that day an acquisition of the film by Touchstone Pictures, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studio’s Buena Vista Distribution Co., Inc. Disney reportedly insisted on the title change because the name Boy Rents Girl had tested poorly with focus groups. Disney purchased rights to the Beatle’s hit song from singer Michael Jackson, who had purchased the ATV music catalogue, which included the publishing rights to most of the Beatles songs, in 1985. According to Disney’s vice president of production and acquisition, Chris Zarpas, the licensing deal marked one of the highest costs of a song purchased by the studio at that time, but he did not reveal how much was paid for the song.
       Can’t Buy Me Love ... More Less

       On 25 Sep 1986, DV announced that executive producer Jere Henshaw and Ron Beckman’s Apollo Pictures, Inc., had raised over $17 million from private investors and stock offerings since the company’s Aug 1985 inception, and its third film, Boy Rents Girl, was scheduled to begin production Jan 1987.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, screenwriter Michael Swerdlick was inspired by his work at a Hollywood talent agency, where he was generally unnoticed by executives. However, when he escorted a top model to an industry function, many of those same executives started befriending him.
       Still referring to the film as Boy Rents Girl, 10 Feb 1987 HR production charts stated that principal photography began 8 Jan 1987 in Tucson, AZ.
       By 12 Jun 1987, the film’s title had been changed to Can’t Buy Me Love, as both DV and HR reported that day an acquisition of the film by Touchstone Pictures, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studio’s Buena Vista Distribution Co., Inc. Disney reportedly insisted on the title change because the name Boy Rents Girl had tested poorly with focus groups. Disney purchased rights to the Beatle’s hit song from singer Michael Jackson, who had purchased the ATV music catalogue, which included the publishing rights to most of the Beatles songs, in 1985. According to Disney’s vice president of production and acquisition, Chris Zarpas, the licensing deal marked one of the highest costs of a song purchased by the studio at that time, but he did not reveal how much was paid for the song.
       Can’t Buy Me Love was released domestically on 1,256 screens on 14 Aug 1987, earning $4.7 million its opening weekend, as reported in 18 Aug 1987 DV box-office charts. By 3 Nov 1987, the picture had grossed $31 million, according to the Jan 1988 Box.
       A 15 Aug 2002 DV article stated that director Troy Beyer was planning to remake Can’t Buy Me Love with an African American cast, starring Nick Cannon and Christina Milian. That film was released in Dec 2003 under the name Love Don’t Cost A Thing (see entry).

      End credits include the following thanks: “Tucson High School, Ed Arriaga - principal, Karen Husted – artistic coordinator, [and] all the students and faculty of Tucson High School; The Tucson Unified School District, Patricia Murphy – director of Public Information; The Tucson Film Office, Tom Hilderbrand; The Tucson Mall, The Tucson Police Department, Lieutenant Anthony Daykin; Revo Sunglasses; Meade Telescopes; Adidas [and] David A Smitas.”
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Jan 1988
p. 20.
Daily Variety
25 Sep 1986
---
Daily Variety
27 Feb 1987
p. 25.
Daily Variety
12 June 1987
---
Daily Variety
18 Aug 1987
---
Daily Variety
15 Aug 2002
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 1987
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 1987
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jun 1987
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 1987
p. 3, 44.
Los Angeles Times
14 Aug 1987
p. 8.
New York Times
14 Aug 1987
p. 13.
Variety
12 Aug 1987
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
In Association With Silver Screen Partners III
A Mount Company Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA intern
PRODUCERS
Prod
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Key grip
Best boy grip
Grip
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Still photog
Cam equip supplied
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
2d asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dresser
Asst to set dresser
Prop master
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Costumer
Asst cost
Asst cost
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond by
Mus ed
Mus rec
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley eff
Foley mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles and opticals
DANCE
Choreog
Asst choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup/Hair supv
Makeup/Hair
Makeup/Hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod exec
Prod coord
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod auditor
Asst auditor
Scr supv
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Loc mgr
Craft service
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Generator op
Studio teacher
Asst to prod
Asst to Patrick Dempsey
Post prod supv
Transportation capt
Catering
Pub
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
SONGS
“Can’t Buy Me Love,” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, performed by The Beatles, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
“One Lover At A Time,” written by Jimmy Scott and Richard Feldman, performed by Atlantic Star, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Surfin’ Safari,” written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, performed by The Beach Boys, courtesy of Deck Records
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SONGS
“Can’t Buy Me Love,” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, performed by The Beatles, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
“One Lover At A Time,” written by Jimmy Scott and Richard Feldman, performed by Atlantic Star, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Surfin’ Safari,” written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, performed by The Beach Boys, courtesy of Deck Records
“Certain Things Are Likely,” written by Nicholas Whitecross, Simon Aldridge, Stephan Cusack and John Hall, performed by KTP, courtesy of Polygram Special Projects
“One For The Mockingbird,” written by Nick Van Eede, performed by the Cutting Crew, courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc. and Siren Records
“Living In A Box,” written by Marcus Vere and Steve Piggot, performed by Living in a Box, courtesy of Chrysalis Records
“Secret Agent Man,” written by P.E. Sloan and Steve Barri, performed by Kipp Lennon
“Misfit,” written by Curiosity/T. Anderson, performed by Curiosity Killed the Cat, courtesy of Polygram Special Projects
“Actress,” written by Randy Hall and Attala Zane Giles, performed by Randy Hall, courtesy of MCA Records
“As Long As I Can Last,” written and performed by Randy Hall, courtesy of MCA Records
“All Night Long,” written by Randy Hall and Raymond Jones, performed by Randy Hall, courtesy of MCA Records
“Heart’s Radio,” written by Tim Carbone, performed by the Blue Sparks from Hell
“French Kissing,” written by Chuck Lorre, performed by Carol Chapman
“Don’t Wanna Be Your Fool,” written and performed by Brittan
“”Burnin’,” written by Larry Hester and Terry Quinn, performed by Rebel Faction
“Fallen Hero,” written by Steve Grisham and Ted Ives, performed by Steve Grisham and Dwayne Evans
“Dancin’ With Myself,” written by Billy Idol and Tony James, performed by Billy Idol, courtesy of Chrysalis Records.
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DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Boy Rents Girl
Release Date:
14 August 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 14 August 1987
Production Date:
began 8 January 1987 in Tucson, AZ
Copyright Claimant:
Apollo Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
12 August 1987
Copyright Number:
PA335217
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Foto-Kem Motion Picture Labratory
Prints
Prints by Deluxe Laboratories
Duration(in mins):
94
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28745
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Tucson, Arizona, with his senior year of high school about to start, socially awkward Ronald Miller longs to know what it is like to be popular. Ronald has had a crush on head cheerleader Cindy Mancini for the past five years, but his best friend, Kenneth Wurman, tells Ronald that Cindy is out of his league. Cindy borrows a white suede dress from her mother’s closet without permission and wears it to a party. When someone spills red wine on the dress, Cindy fears it is ruined and takes it back to the shopping mall for an exchange before her mother finds out. The clerk refuses, but tells her that she can buy the same white suede outfit for $1,000. Meanwhile, Ronald is also at the mall, about to purchase a $1,000 telescope with part of the money he earned from mowing lawns. Ronald sees Cindy and offers a solution: Ronald will buy the $1,000 outfit for Cindy, but in exchange, he wants to “rent” her for four weeks. Cindy must pretend to be dating Ronald so he can get into the popular clique at school. Cindy reluctantly agrees to the deal, but on the condition that there will be no physical contact between them. On the first day of school, the pair walks the popular kids’ hall and eats lunch together. The popular girls are stunned, but the popular guys are skeptical, wondering what Cindy sees in Ronald. After school, Ronald tries to win the guys over by inviting them to share the pizza he and Cindy just bought. However, the three guys take the whole pizza, leaving Cindy and Ronald with nothing to eat. On Saturday ... +


In Tucson, Arizona, with his senior year of high school about to start, socially awkward Ronald Miller longs to know what it is like to be popular. Ronald has had a crush on head cheerleader Cindy Mancini for the past five years, but his best friend, Kenneth Wurman, tells Ronald that Cindy is out of his league. Cindy borrows a white suede dress from her mother’s closet without permission and wears it to a party. When someone spills red wine on the dress, Cindy fears it is ruined and takes it back to the shopping mall for an exchange before her mother finds out. The clerk refuses, but tells her that she can buy the same white suede outfit for $1,000. Meanwhile, Ronald is also at the mall, about to purchase a $1,000 telescope with part of the money he earned from mowing lawns. Ronald sees Cindy and offers a solution: Ronald will buy the $1,000 outfit for Cindy, but in exchange, he wants to “rent” her for four weeks. Cindy must pretend to be dating Ronald so he can get into the popular clique at school. Cindy reluctantly agrees to the deal, but on the condition that there will be no physical contact between them. On the first day of school, the pair walks the popular kids’ hall and eats lunch together. The popular girls are stunned, but the popular guys are skeptical, wondering what Cindy sees in Ronald. After school, Ronald tries to win the guys over by inviting them to share the pizza he and Cindy just bought. However, the three guys take the whole pizza, leaving Cindy and Ronald with nothing to eat. On Saturday night, Ronald leaves to take Cindy to a party, but his little brother, Chuckie, follows, not believing Ronald is actually dating Cindy. Chuckie’s suspicions are confirmed when he overhears them discuss the details of their arrangement. At the party, Ronald is friendly and engaging, leading one of the popular girls to say that he transformed from “totally geek to totally chic.” At school the following Monday, Kenneth asks why Ronald did not show up for their usual Saturday night card game with their group of friends. Ronald says he is very busy, but promises to spend Sunday afternoon with Kenneth. That afternoon, Ronald washes Cindy’s car and tells her she can do anything she puts her mind to. She confides that she is a poet and shows him a collection of her writing. They get into a playful fight with the water hose while washing the car. Later Cindy, who is slowly becoming attracted to Ronald, takes him to the mall and buys him stylish sunglasses. At the end of the four weeks, Ronald takes Cindy out on their last official date. They go to the “airplane graveyard” where old airplanes are stored. Then he shows her the moon through his telescope and explains his fascination with astronomy. Cindy’s attraction to Ronald grows as he shows this side of himself. Later when Ronald wants to discuss something important, Cindy hopes he wants to consummate their relationship with sex. Ronald is oblivious and instead wants to talk about orchestrating their official breakup now that the month is over. Cindy suggests they stage a small scene so as to avoid damaging Ronald’s reputation. Ronald is excited by the idea that he has a reputation worth protecting. At school on Monday, the two stage a fight in which Ronald says he is ending the relationship because she is draining his bank account. Cindy is genuinely upset by his words and slaps his face. The popular girls at school feel sorry for Cindy, but the rest of the school is impressed by Ronald. That afternoon, Ronald goes to Cindy’s house to give her a notebook in which to keep her poetry. He thanks her for the four weeks and says being popular is better than being a “social leper.” However, Cindy replies that popularity requires a lot of work and tells Ronald not to change, to be himself. Despite the breakup, Ronald continues to be in the popular clique at school; the popular girls swoon over him, and the popular guys warm to him. Ronald takes classmate Barbara out on a date and later, another student named Patty insists she wants Ronald to take her to the Farmer’s Day Dance. To learn some dance moves, Ronald turns the television to what he believes is American Bandstand, unaware he is actually watching a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) special on African tribal dances. At the Farmer’s Day Dance, when Ronald performs a tribal dance, many laugh and gawk at him. However, others decide his dance moves are innovative. Soon the entire dance floor is imitating Ronald’s dance. After the dance, at the drive-in restaurant, Cindy chides Ronald, saying that he is making a fool of himself, but he dismisses her comments. Later, in the back seat of his father’s car, Patty takes off her blouse and invites Ronald to feel her breasts, leaving Ronald stunned by how far he’s progressed since becoming popular. By Halloween, the popular guys have accepted Ronald into their clique and invite him on their ritual of throwing eggs at a house. When they get to the house, Ronald realizes it belongs to his friend Kenneth. Ronald suggests they go to a different house, but his friends insist he throw a paper bag full of dog feces at the front door. Ronald reluctantly complies, but is seen by Kenneth. At school, Ronald begs Kenneth to let him explain, but Kenneth refuses to speak to his former friend. Over Christmas break, Cindy asks Ronald to go with her to the airplane graveyard. He declines. She also presents a poem she has written for him. Ronald dismisses Cindy saying he is no longer contractually obligated to her. At a New Year’s Eve party, Cindy consoles herself with alcohol. When she accidentally finds Ronald making out in the bathroom with a sexually promiscuous girl named Iris, she feels sick. When Cindy’s former boyfriend, Bobby, now a college freshman football player, shows up at the party, he gets angry learning that an unpopular person like Ronald once dated Cindy. Bobby and Ronald get into a fight. Cindy tries to break up the brawl by explaining that Ronald paid her the $1,000 to go out with him, but Bobby calls her a prostitute. With the rest of the party goers gawking at this revelation, Cindy admonishes them for believing their pretense of dating. Back at school, none of the popular students will acknowledge Ronald. Even his old socially unpopular friends refuse to speak to him, including Kenneth. The popular guys throw trash at him as he sits alone at a lunch table. Ronald becomes the joke of the school. One day in early spring, Ronald follows Cindy into the girls’ bathroom trying to apologize, saying he became a jerk and let the idea of being popular turn him into something he’s not. Later at the mall, Ronald’s little brother, Chuckie, tells Cindy that Ronald is devastated. Nonetheless, Cindy refuses to accept Ronald’s telephone calls. While Ronald mows the lawn at Cindy’s house, she finally agrees to talk to him. He apologizes and invites her on a real date, but she refuses. At school lunch, as Ronald is sitting alone, Kenneth helps Patty with her math homework. Quint, one of the popular guys, gets jealous and chases Kenneth away. Ronald comes to Kenneth’s defense and threatens to break Quint’s arm with a baseball bat. Ronald asks how they could have all been friends in elementary school, but are now enemies simply because of social status. His speech gets a round of applause from the student body. That afternoon, Ronald cuts the lawn with a riding mower at Cindy’s house. Cindy leaves with her friends, but they only get halfway down the block before Cindy rushes back and joins Ronald on the riding mower. They begin making plans for a new dating arrangement as they ride the mower into the sunset.
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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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