The Great Outdoors (1988)

PG | 90-92 mins | Comedy | 17 June 1988

Writer:

John Hughes

Producer:

Arne L. Schmidt

Cinematographer:

Ric Waite

Production Designer:

John W. Corso

Production Company:

Universal Pictures
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HISTORY

       A 19 Oct 1987 LAT news item reported principal photography was to begin 26 Oct 1987 in Bass Lake, CA. Referring to the film by the working title, Big Country, production charts in the 18 Nov 1987 Var and 24 Nov 1987 HR reported production began 27 Oct 1987 at Bass Lake and in Los Angeles, CA. A 26 Jan 1988 DV article reported that the state of Wisconsin, where the story takes place, could not be used as a shooting location due to winter weather. According to a 31 Mar 1988 Exhibitor Relations press release, writer John Hughes based the script on past camping trips he had taken in Wisconsin. The production looked into six states: California, Arizona, Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, and Florida. California was selected due to favorable weather and low cost. Production notes in AMPAS library files mentioned the following locations: Ducey’s, a restaurant and bar at Bass Lake, and the Universal Studios backlot in Los Angeles. DV reported the picture filmed at Bass Lake for a period of ten weeks, and spent $2.5 million for services in the community. Approximately 1,500 local residents were hired as extras.
       Items in the 4 Apr 1988 DV and 4 Apr 1988 HR stated the film was scheduled to be released 24 Jun 1988 with the title, The Great Outdoors. An 8 Apr 1988 LAHExam news brief and a 19 Apr 1988 DV article reported that Universal Pictures changed the title due to other films ... More Less

       A 19 Oct 1987 LAT news item reported principal photography was to begin 26 Oct 1987 in Bass Lake, CA. Referring to the film by the working title, Big Country, production charts in the 18 Nov 1987 Var and 24 Nov 1987 HR reported production began 27 Oct 1987 at Bass Lake and in Los Angeles, CA. A 26 Jan 1988 DV article reported that the state of Wisconsin, where the story takes place, could not be used as a shooting location due to winter weather. According to a 31 Mar 1988 Exhibitor Relations press release, writer John Hughes based the script on past camping trips he had taken in Wisconsin. The production looked into six states: California, Arizona, Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, and Florida. California was selected due to favorable weather and low cost. Production notes in AMPAS library files mentioned the following locations: Ducey’s, a restaurant and bar at Bass Lake, and the Universal Studios backlot in Los Angeles. DV reported the picture filmed at Bass Lake for a period of ten weeks, and spent $2.5 million for services in the community. Approximately 1,500 local residents were hired as extras.
       Items in the 4 Apr 1988 DV and 4 Apr 1988 HR stated the film was scheduled to be released 24 Jun 1988 with the title, The Great Outdoors. An 8 Apr 1988 LAHExam news brief and a 19 Apr 1988 DV article reported that Universal Pictures changed the title due to other films with the word “big” in the title scheduled to be released in Jun 1988, such as Big Business (1988, see entry) and Big (1988, see entry).
       The 2 Jun 1988 HR and 2 Jun 1988 DV stated that the film had a new release date of 17 Jun 1988, one week earlier than previously reported, and would be screened in over 1,200 theaters. However, contemporary sources, including the 8 Jun 1988 DV and the 13 Jun 1988 LAT, reported Universal Pictures received a “cease and desist” notification from Robert Slatzer, trademark holder of the phrase, “The Great Outdoors,” registered since 1967 with the United States Patent Office, and since 1980 with the Secretary of State of California. A 15 Jun 1988 Var article stated Universal had hired a title search firm to look into the availability of the phrase “The Great Outdoors.” Although the 20 Jun 1988 DV mentioned the report presented by the title search firm to Universal had been “inaccurate,” Slatzer and Universal settled the matter “amicably” out of court on 16 Jun 1988, one day before the film’s release.
       The film was released on 17 Jun 1988, as stated in the 17 Jun 1988 NYT review. According to the 24 Feb 1988 Var, the film had a budget of $24 million, while a 23 Jun 1988 Screen International item listed the budget as $28 million. The 24 Jun 1988 HR reported the film, during the opening weekend, took in $6.1 million at the box-office on 1,223 screens.
       The film marked the motion picture debut of actress Annette Bening.
      End credits state: “Special thanks to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Hydro Generation Department; CP Shades; Madera County Film Commission; Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce; U.S.D.A. Forest Service.” The following onscreen text, appearing after end credits, represents English language subtitles for a group of raccoons who converse intermittently during the film: “Why’s Jody [the bear] sitting in the lake?”; “You didn’t hear?”; “She got shot in the ass!”; “Oh no!”; “Don’t tell me…”; “Yup…She’s bald on both ends now!”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
21 Dec 1987
p. 26.
Daily Variety
26 Jan 1988
p. 10, 35.
Daily Variety
4 Apr 1988
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Apr 1988
p. 8, 26.
Daily Variety
2 Jun 1988
p. 3.
Daily Variety
8 Jun 1988
p. 21.
Daily Variety
17 Jun 1988
p. 3, 24.
Daily Variety
20 Jun 1988
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Nov 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Apr 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jun 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 1988
p. 3, 42.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jun 1988.
---
LAHExam
8 Apr 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Oct 1987
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
13 Jun 1988
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
17 Jun 1988
Calendar, p. 4.
New York Times
17 Jun 1988
p. 12.
Screen International
23 Jun 1988.
---
Variety
18 Nov 1987
p. 6.
Variety
24 Feb 1988.
---
Variety
15 Jun 1988
p. 28.
Variety
22 Jun 1988
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Hughes Entertainment presents
A Howard Deutch Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
Dir, The 2d unit
1st asst dir, The 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
1st cam asst
1st cam asst
2d cam asst
2d cam asst
Film loader
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Best boy elec
Lamp op
Lamp op
Key grip
Best boy grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Dir of photog, The 2d unit
Cam op, The 2d unit
1st asst cam, The 2d unit
1st asst cam, The 2d unit
2d asst cam, The 2d unit
Key grip, The 2d unit
Grip, The 2d unit
Generator op
Generator op
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Artistic consultant
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Set dresser
Set dresser
Draper
Prop master
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Set des
Const coord
Const foreman
Const foreman
Const foreman
Const foreman
Const foreman
Const foreman
Stand-by painter
Stand-by greensman
Greensman
Greensman
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Sign painter
Plasterer
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Men`s costumer
Women`s costumer
Women`s costumer
Sketch artist
MUSIC
Orig score by
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Scoring mixer
Scoring mixer
Addl mus by
Mus supv
Asst mus supv
Asst mus supv
Mus ed
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd mixer
Boom op
Cableman
Supv ADR ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Supv re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Foley mixer
ADR mixer
Foley walker
Foley walker
Addl re-rec
Sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Opticals by
Opticals by
Title by
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Body make-up
Spec make-up eff
Make-up artist, The 2d unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod coord
Asst coord
Filmic consultant
Loc mgr
Scr supv
Head bear trainer
Asst bear trainer
Asst bear trainer
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Caterer - Bass Lake
Caterer - Los Angeles
Craft service
Unit pub
Prod accountant
Prod accountant
Prod accountant
Loc paymaster
Office asst
Office asst
Office asst
MCA fellowship intern
Asst to Ms. Vance-Straker
Boat master
Casting asst
Extras casting
Scr supv, The 2d unit
Addl loc mgr
Caterer
Cook
Const nurse
Animal trainer
Teacher
Teacher
Teacher
Teacher
Teacher
Teacher
Dial coach
Courier
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
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
Bear stunts
Bear stunts
Addl voice
Addl voice
Addl voice
Addl voice
Addl voice
Addl voice
Addl voice
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“Yakety Yak,” written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, performed by The Coasters, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Big Country,” written by Bruce Gowdy, Billy Sherwood, and Peter Aykroyd, performed & produced by Joe Walsh
“Hip Hug-Her,” written by Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones, Al Jackson, Jr., and Donald V. Dunn, performed by The Elwood Blues Revue, produced by Steve Cropper
+
SONGS
“Yakety Yak,” written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, performed by The Coasters, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Big Country,” written by Bruce Gowdy, Billy Sherwood, and Peter Aykroyd, performed & produced by Joe Walsh
“Hip Hug-Her,” written by Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones, Al Jackson, Jr., and Donald V. Dunn, performed by The Elwood Blues Revue, produced by Steve Cropper
“Land Of A Thousand Dances,” written by Chris Kenner and Antoine Domino, performed by The Elwood Blues Revue, featuring Wilson Pickett, produced by Steve Cropper
“Beaver Patrol,” written by Tim Archibald, performed by Pop Will Eat Itself, produced by Robert Gordon for The Fon Force, Pop Will Eat Itself appears courtesy of Chapter 22 Records Ltd.
“Hot Fun In The Summertime,” written by Sylvester Stewart, performed by The Elwood Blues Revue featuring Sam Moore, produced by Steve Cropper
“Cabin Fever,” written by David Wilcox and Sadia, performed by David Wilcox, produced by Sadia, courtesy of Capitol Records/EMI of Canada
“Dragboat,” written & produced by Tom Scott, performed by Elwood Blues and Tom Scott
“Paul Bunyan Love,” written by Les Kangas, performed by Tex Ritter, courtesy of Capitol Records
“Land Of A Thousand Dances,” written by Chris Kenner and Antoine Domino, performed by Wilson Pickett, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Big Country
Release Date:
17 June 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 17 June 1988
Production Date:
began 27 October 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 August 1988
Copyright Number:
PA376432
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Panaflex® Camera and Lenses by Panavison®
Duration(in mins):
90-92
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29228
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the small town of Pechoggin, Wisconsin, Chet Ripley, his wife, Connie, their teenage son, Buck, and their younger son, Ben, arrive from Chicago, Illinois, to Perk’s Pine Log Resort at Lake Potowotominimac for their family vacation. They are shown to their rental cabin, known as the Loon’s Nest, by Wally, the lodge proprietor. After unpacking, Chet and Connie are surprised by the unexpected arrival of Chet’s annoying brother-in-law, Roman Craig, and his family: Connie’s sister, Kate, and their twin daughters, Cara and Mara. Later, Roman barbeques lobster tails on the cabin’s deck and brags to Chet about how much money he has made as an investor. That night, Chet tells the entire family the story of the large, “man-eating” bear, named Jody, that attacked the cabin when he and Connie stayed at the lake during their honeymoon years ago. Chet fired at the bear with a shotgun. However, the buckshot grazed the bear’s head, shaving off her fur. He concludes that Jody, the “bald-headed” bear of Claire County, still roams the woods. After the tale, the children and Roman go to bed frightened. The following morning, Roman and Chet rent a speedboat to use on Lake Potowotominimac. Later, Chet shows Ben how to properly water-ski on the dock before he goes into the water. In the boat, Roman becomes impatient, and seeing Chet wave his hand, Roman starts the boat. Roman drags Chet all over the lake. Afterward, Chet returns to the cabin and decides to leave to get away from Roman. Finding him packing his suitcase, Connie convinces her husband to stay, ... +


In the small town of Pechoggin, Wisconsin, Chet Ripley, his wife, Connie, their teenage son, Buck, and their younger son, Ben, arrive from Chicago, Illinois, to Perk’s Pine Log Resort at Lake Potowotominimac for their family vacation. They are shown to their rental cabin, known as the Loon’s Nest, by Wally, the lodge proprietor. After unpacking, Chet and Connie are surprised by the unexpected arrival of Chet’s annoying brother-in-law, Roman Craig, and his family: Connie’s sister, Kate, and their twin daughters, Cara and Mara. Later, Roman barbeques lobster tails on the cabin’s deck and brags to Chet about how much money he has made as an investor. That night, Chet tells the entire family the story of the large, “man-eating” bear, named Jody, that attacked the cabin when he and Connie stayed at the lake during their honeymoon years ago. Chet fired at the bear with a shotgun. However, the buckshot grazed the bear’s head, shaving off her fur. He concludes that Jody, the “bald-headed” bear of Claire County, still roams the woods. After the tale, the children and Roman go to bed frightened. The following morning, Roman and Chet rent a speedboat to use on Lake Potowotominimac. Later, Chet shows Ben how to properly water-ski on the dock before he goes into the water. In the boat, Roman becomes impatient, and seeing Chet wave his hand, Roman starts the boat. Roman drags Chet all over the lake. Afterward, Chet returns to the cabin and decides to leave to get away from Roman. Finding him packing his suitcase, Connie convinces her husband to stay, as she would like to spend time with her sister Kate. That evening, Chet drives Ben, Cara, and Mara to a junkyard to see bears up-close from the safety of the car. When Chet throws candy bars to get the bears attention, the bears to climb onto the hood and roof of the car. Attempting to startle the animals, Chet begins to drive away, but the bears remain on the car. Meanwhile at the Lake Potowotominimac boardwalk, Buck meets a local town resident named Cammie, and is instantly attracted to her. However, Cammie does not like tourists and leaves. The next day, Buck sees Cammie working as a carhop at the local restaurant. She apologizes for being rude the day before. Buck asks her out on a date, and she says yes. In the evening, they go to the town carnival and take a rowboat out on the water. When Buck calls her his girl friend, Cammie kisses him. Meanwhile, Chet, Connie, Roman, and Kate arrive at the Lake Potowotominimac Lounge for drinks. While Chet and Roman sit at the bar, Kate and Connie talk at a nearby table. Kate complains to Connie about having too much money and Roman ignoring her and their daughters. Early the next morning, a bat flies into the cabin, causing everyone to run outside. Chet and Roman arm themselves with raincoats, nets, and tennis rackets to kill the bat. When the bat lands on Chet’s face, Roman hits him in the face. In the afternoon, Buck visits Cammie at the restaurant, and they plan to meet at the bait shop later in the evening for a date. Before he leaves, Cammie makes Buck promise he will not stand her up. Later, Chet and Roman take their families to a restaurant called Paul Bunyan’s Cupboard for dinner. Roman convinces Chet to order the restaurant’s Old 96er challenge, a meal that includes a ninety-six ounce steak that if completely eaten, will be free. Slowly, Chet finishes the steak. However, Buck misses his date with Cammie. The next day, he calls Cammie at work to apologize, but she refuses to talk to him. At the cabin, Chet looses his patience with Roman, and the two argue about Roman and his family showing up unannounced. Offended, Roman and Kate decide to leave with their daughters. Before going, Roman tricks Chet into giving him money for an investment opportunity. While driving away, Roman feels guilty about taking Chet’s money and returns to the cabin. Roman confesses that he is currently bankrupt after a bad investment, and needs money to support his family. After Roman’s confession, a rainstorm cuts the power to the cabin. As Chet looks for a flashlight, Kate notices Cara and Mara are missing. Chet and Roman look for the girls, and find them trapped inside an abandoned tunnel after falling down a mineshaft. Chet goes looking for a rope, while Roman slides down into the mine. Seeing the mine filled with crates of old dynamite, Roman climbs up with Cara and Mara on his back and walks back to the cabin with them. Chet returns to the mine and tosses the rope down the shaft, believing Roman is still there. However, he accidentally pulls up a large bear. Recognizing the bear as Jody, the bald-headed bear he shot at years ago, Chet runs to the cabin with Jody after him. The bear breaks down the door and ransacks the cabin. While Roman distracts the bear, Wally, the lodge proprietor, arrives with a shotgun. Chet takes the firearm and shoots at the bear’s behind, causing all the fur on her backside to fly off. The bear, now bald on both her head and rear, runs into the woods. The next day, Buck goes to the dock to apologize to Cammie for missing their date. She forgives him. At the cabin, Chet and Roman pack their cars to drive back to Chicago. After Roman leaves, Connie informs Chet she invited Roman, Kate and their daughters to stay with them until Roman and Kate are able to support themselves again. As Buck returns from the dock, Chet orders his family into the car and drives away, wanting to get home before Roman takes his parking spot in the garage. +

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

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