Short Circuit 2 (1988)

PG | 110 mins | Comedy | 6 July 1988

Director:

Kenneth Johnson

Cinematographer:

John McPherson

Editor:

Conrad Buff

Production Designer:

Bill Brodie

Production Company:

Tri-Star Pictures
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HISTORY

Amid the box-office success of Short Circuit (1986, see entry), the 25 Jul 1986 DV announced that producers Larry Turman and David Foster began development of a sequel with returning writers S. S. Wilson and Brent Maddock. Although Short Circuit director John Badham was also in talks to return, the project was later assumed by television writer-producer-director Kenneth Johnson in his feature film debut.
       Fisher Stevens and voice actor Tim Blaney were the only members of the original cast to reprise their roles, although the surname of Stevens’ character was changed from “Jabituya” to “Jahrvi.” While the 6 Jul 1988 Chicago Tribune claimed Steve Guttenberg and Ally Sheedy “declined to appear” in a second installment, Sheedy lent her voice for an uncredited cameo.
       A 25 Aug 1987 DV production chart indicated that principal photography was scheduled to begin on 13 Sep 1987 in Toronto, Canada. The 15 Nov 1987 LAT estimated a $15 million budget.
       Filming was completed in late Dec 1987, according to the Sep 1988 issue of AmCin. Rain and cold weather during production reportedly caused complications with the hydraulic and electrical systems of the five robots used to animate “Johnny Five,” which were built at Eric Allard’s All Effects Company studio in North Hollywood, CA. The machines, classified as “Remotely Operated Vehicles,” were constructed from remnants of robots that were damaged during production of the first film, with each function performed by a separate technician: Robert Mills controlled the head, Trish Leeper created facial expressions, Michael Sorensen operated the base, and Gord Robertson used a telemetry suit to mime the upper ... More Less

Amid the box-office success of Short Circuit (1986, see entry), the 25 Jul 1986 DV announced that producers Larry Turman and David Foster began development of a sequel with returning writers S. S. Wilson and Brent Maddock. Although Short Circuit director John Badham was also in talks to return, the project was later assumed by television writer-producer-director Kenneth Johnson in his feature film debut.
       Fisher Stevens and voice actor Tim Blaney were the only members of the original cast to reprise their roles, although the surname of Stevens’ character was changed from “Jabituya” to “Jahrvi.” While the 6 Jul 1988 Chicago Tribune claimed Steve Guttenberg and Ally Sheedy “declined to appear” in a second installment, Sheedy lent her voice for an uncredited cameo.
       A 25 Aug 1987 DV production chart indicated that principal photography was scheduled to begin on 13 Sep 1987 in Toronto, Canada. The 15 Nov 1987 LAT estimated a $15 million budget.
       Filming was completed in late Dec 1987, according to the Sep 1988 issue of AmCin. Rain and cold weather during production reportedly caused complications with the hydraulic and electrical systems of the five robots used to animate “Johnny Five,” which were built at Eric Allard’s All Effects Company studio in North Hollywood, CA. The machines, classified as “Remotely Operated Vehicles,” were constructed from remnants of robots that were damaged during production of the first film, with each function performed by a separate technician: Robert Mills controlled the head, Trish Leeper created facial expressions, Michael Sorensen operated the base, and Gord Robertson used a telemetry suit to mime the upper body movements.
       Several contemporary sources, including the 15 May 1988 Orange County Register, referred to the film by the working titles, Short Circuit II and Short Circuit 2: More Input.
       Much like the first film, critical reception was mixed. However, the Sep 1988 Box reported that Short Circuit 2 was less successful than its predecessor, earning just $3.8 million from its opening weekend.
       Although items in the 22 Oct 1987 and 24 May 1988 DV stated that Tri-Star Pictures anticipated developing a third film in the series, the project never came to fruition.
       End credits state: “The Producers Wish to Thank: The Toronto Film Liaison Office; Ontario Film Development Corporation; the Toronto Harbour Commission; the Province of Ontario and the Citizens of Toronto; Labatt’s Brewing Company, Ltd.; Larry Dupree & John Mazerro of Novatel Cellular Phones; Quality Designs Company; McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company; Collins Publishers; Sommerville Car and Truck Rentals, Toronto; Chrysler Corporation of Canada; Mr. Fred Rogers and Family Communications, Inc.”; and, “‘People Weekly’ is a registered trademark of Time, Inc., used with permission.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Sep 1988
p. 73, 78, 80.
Box Office
Sep 1988.
---
Chicago Tribune
6 Jul 1988
Tempo, p. 3.
Daily Variety
25 Jul 1986.
---
Daily Variety
25 Aug 1987.
---
Daily Variety
24 May 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 1988
p. 6, 100.
Los Angeles Times
15 Nov 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
6 Jul 1988
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
6 Jul 1988
p. 18.
Orange County Register
15 May 1988
Section M, p. 4.
Variety
6 Jul 1988
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Tri-Star Pictures Presents
A Turman-Foster Company Production
A Movie by Kenneth Johnson
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
3rd asst dir
3rd asst dir
Trainee asst dir
Trainee asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Elec best boy
Key grip
2d grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Prod illustrator
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Apprentice film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Props
Props
Const coord
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Costumer
MUSIC
Supv mus ed
Mus ed
Mus mixer
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
ADR ed
Asst ADR ed
Foley by
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley rec at
Addl voices
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Prod sd
Number Five voice des
Boom op
Dial coach
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff leadman
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Robotics supv, Robotics unit
Leadman, Robotics unit
Mechanical foreman, Robotics unit
Elec foreman, Robotics unit
Eng, Robotics unit
Modeling foreman, Robotics unit
Spec robotics rigs, Robotics unit
Tech, Robotics unit
Tech, Robotics unit
Tech, Robotics unit
Tech, Robotics unit
Tech, Robotics unit
Tech, Robotics unit
Logistical coord, Robotics unit
Standby painter, Robotics unit
Standby painter, Robotics unit
Prod asst, Robotics unit
Prod asst, Robotics unit
Spec laser eff by
Spec visual eff by
Visual eff supv, Dream Quest Images
Prod supv, Dream Quest Images
Motion control tech, Dream Quest Images
Motion control tech, Dream Quest Images
Anim supv, Dream Quest Images
Rotoscope supv, Dream Quest Images
Opt compositing, Dream Quest Images
Opt compositing, Dream Quest Images
Opt compositing, Dream Quest Images
Eff ed, Dream Quest Images
Element controller, Dream Quest Images
Visual eff prod, Dream Quest Images
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting (Toronto)
Casting (New York)
Casting (Los Angeles)
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Scr supv
Adv to Fisher Stevens
Unit pub
Promotional consultants
Extras casting
Extras casting
Transportation coord
Prod coord
Prod secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Asst to David Foster
Asst to Gary Foster
Asst to Kenneth Johnson
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
Toronto
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by S. S. Wilson and Brent Maddock.
SONGS
"Tutti Frutti," performed by Little Richard, courtesy of Specialty Records
"I Heard It Through The Grapevine," performed by Marvin Gaye, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
"Bo Diddley," performed by Bo Diddley, courtesy of MCA Records
+
SONGS
"Tutti Frutti," performed by Little Richard, courtesy of Specialty Records
"I Heard It Through The Grapevine," performed by Marvin Gaye, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation
"Bo Diddley," performed by Bo Diddley, courtesy of MCA Records
"Bye Bye Love," performed by The Everly Brothers, courtesy of Barnaby Records, Inc.
"Holding Out For A Hero," performed by Bonnie Tyler, courtesy of Paramount Pictures Corporation, Bonnie Tyler performs courtesy of CBS Records.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Short Circuit II
Short Circuit 2: More Input
Release Date:
6 July 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 6 July 1988
Production Date:
13 September--December 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Tri-Star Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
5 October 1988
Copyright Number:
PA383815
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Camera by Panavision® Canada
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
110
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28811
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After moving to the U.S. from his homeland of India, engineer Ben Jahrvi attempts to make a living in the big city peddling miniature toy robots, which he builds in the back of his truck. When one of Ben’s robots rolls through the office of toy buyer Sandy Banatoni, she offers to purchase 1,000 models for a major department store. Although Ben does not have the means to produce the toys in mass quantities, a sleazy con artist named Fred Ritter overhears the conversation and negotiates a deal to serve as Ben’s business partner. Fred obtains money from a loan shark, and leases a vacated warehouse to use as a factory. Meanwhile, two jewel thieves tunneling underneath the building worry that the business will thwart their plans to steal a case of valuable diamonds from the bank across the street. Hoping to drive them away, the criminals don masks and destroy all of Ben’s equipment. Dejected, Ben considers giving up the business until his friends, Stephanie Speck and Newton Crosby, send him a package containing the original life-size robot, Number Five, which Ben helped create. Fully sentient, the robot calls itself “Johnny Five” and offers to build the toys for their order. The next morning while Ben closes the deal with Stephanie, Johnny Five sneaks out to explore the city. The naïve robot is amazed by urban life, but addled by most residents’ rude and deceitful natures. Meanwhile, Fred conspires to sell Johnny Five, but the robot resists capture, and continues its efforts to assimilate into human society. Eventually, two police officers find Johnny Five wandering the streets and bring it to the station, where they lock it up ... +


After moving to the U.S. from his homeland of India, engineer Ben Jahrvi attempts to make a living in the big city peddling miniature toy robots, which he builds in the back of his truck. When one of Ben’s robots rolls through the office of toy buyer Sandy Banatoni, she offers to purchase 1,000 models for a major department store. Although Ben does not have the means to produce the toys in mass quantities, a sleazy con artist named Fred Ritter overhears the conversation and negotiates a deal to serve as Ben’s business partner. Fred obtains money from a loan shark, and leases a vacated warehouse to use as a factory. Meanwhile, two jewel thieves tunneling underneath the building worry that the business will thwart their plans to steal a case of valuable diamonds from the bank across the street. Hoping to drive them away, the criminals don masks and destroy all of Ben’s equipment. Dejected, Ben considers giving up the business until his friends, Stephanie Speck and Newton Crosby, send him a package containing the original life-size robot, Number Five, which Ben helped create. Fully sentient, the robot calls itself “Johnny Five” and offers to build the toys for their order. The next morning while Ben closes the deal with Stephanie, Johnny Five sneaks out to explore the city. The naïve robot is amazed by urban life, but addled by most residents’ rude and deceitful natures. Meanwhile, Fred conspires to sell Johnny Five, but the robot resists capture, and continues its efforts to assimilate into human society. Eventually, two police officers find Johnny Five wandering the streets and bring it to the station, where they lock it up with other stolen property. Learning of Johnny Five’s “arrest,” Ben rushes to the police station and retrieves the robot. Johnny Five explains that being treated like a subhuman machine has caused it to experience painful emotions, such as loneliness. Ben commiserates, sharing his own desire for companionship. Using information obtained from books about human behavior, Johnny Five offers to help Ben pursue a romantic relationship with Sandy Banatoni. Elsewhere, the jewel thieves team up with a greedy bank executive named Oscar Baldwin, hoping to use his budding friendship with Johnny Five to regain access to the warehouse tunnel. After kidnapping Ben and Fred, Oscar convinces the robot to finish digging until they reach the vault. When Oscar steals the jewels, however, Johnny Five realizes the trick and attempts to stop him. The thieves retaliate by attacking Johnny Five with an ax, leaving it severely damaged. Ben and Fred escape captivity, but police mistake Ben for the jewel thief and arrest him. As Johnny Five’s systems malfunction, Fred is forced to repair the robot himself. Although still leaking battery fluid, Johnny Five swears vengeance on Oscar, and chases his getaway car to the docks. Using its last remaining power, Johnny Five attacks Oscar and detains him until Ben arrives with police. Johnny Five’s memory drive fails, but Ben uses a defibrillator to revive it. Sometime later, Johnny Five gains national fame and becomes the first legally recognized robotic citizen of the U.S. +

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

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