Mr. Baseball (1992)

PG-13 | 108 mins | Comedy | 2 October 1992

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HISTORY

According to the 25 Nov 1991 Var, the project began when producers Robert Newmyer and Peter Markle brought their script, written by Monte Merrick, to Universal, hoping to make it for a low budget of $15 million. After Matsushita took over MCA, Universal decided the picture needed a more “important” director, and replaced Markle with Fred Schepisi, and the budget increased past $30 million. Additional writers were then hired to make rewrites including Gary Ross, Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman, Ed Solomon, and Kevin Wade. Of those, only Ross and Wade received onscreen credit, along with Monte Merrick, for writing the screenplay. Referring to the picture by its working title, Tokyo Diamond, the 19 Jun 1990 Screen International announced that principal photography would begin in autumn 1990. However, the 28 Dec 1990 DV reported a new start date of 30 Jan 1991, noting that some opening scenes had already been filmed with actor Tom Selleck at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Filming in Japan was expected to take place in Tokyo and in Nagoya, at Nagoya Stadium. The Japanese company, Matsushita, had bought Universal’s parent company, MCA, and the film would be the first production under their new ownership. Despite concerns that Matsushita would make changes to the script, none were reported.
       Announcing another delay in production until late Aug 1991, the 17 Feb 1991 DV noted that Tom Selleck was at spring training in Florida, working with the Detroit Tigers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
       While an 11 Jun 1991 HR production chart referred to the film as Mr. Besuboru, a ... More Less

According to the 25 Nov 1991 Var, the project began when producers Robert Newmyer and Peter Markle brought their script, written by Monte Merrick, to Universal, hoping to make it for a low budget of $15 million. After Matsushita took over MCA, Universal decided the picture needed a more “important” director, and replaced Markle with Fred Schepisi, and the budget increased past $30 million. Additional writers were then hired to make rewrites including Gary Ross, Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman, Ed Solomon, and Kevin Wade. Of those, only Ross and Wade received onscreen credit, along with Monte Merrick, for writing the screenplay. Referring to the picture by its working title, Tokyo Diamond, the 19 Jun 1990 Screen International announced that principal photography would begin in autumn 1990. However, the 28 Dec 1990 DV reported a new start date of 30 Jan 1991, noting that some opening scenes had already been filmed with actor Tom Selleck at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Filming in Japan was expected to take place in Tokyo and in Nagoya, at Nagoya Stadium. The Japanese company, Matsushita, had bought Universal’s parent company, MCA, and the film would be the first production under their new ownership. Despite concerns that Matsushita would make changes to the script, none were reported.
       Announcing another delay in production until late Aug 1991, the 17 Feb 1991 DV noted that Tom Selleck was at spring training in Florida, working with the Detroit Tigers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
       While an 11 Jun 1991 HR production chart referred to the film as Mr. Besuboru, a 25 Jun 1991 HR listing cited the name change to Mr. Baseball, and announced a 10 Sep 1991 start date, with locations in Los Angeles, CA, as well as Japan.
       On 15 Sep 1991, Long Beach Press-Telegram confirmed that principal photography had begun on 10 Sep 1991 in Nagoya Stadium, where 75,000 locals were recruited as background actors to sit in the stands. A Dec 1991 wrap date was anticipated. Production notes in AMPAS library files list additional Japanese locations at Okazaki Stadium in Okazaki, Jingu Stadium in Shinjuku, Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Prefecture, and Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama. In the end, over 100,000 citizens of Nagoya participated as background actors for the more twenty days of filming the baseball games. Advertising agency, Dentsu, Inc., with the cooperation of CBC Television Network and local newspapers, organized and recruited participants. Special trains were commissioned to transport the crowds, and 25,000 lottery prizes were awarded as incentive.
       The 17 Sep 1991 HR noted a $15 million budget; however, a news item in the 6 Nov 1991 DV announced that the budget was nearing $40 million. Early snowfall in Japan caused the film to be rescheduled. Although two typhoons plagued the remainder of the shoot, and Tom Selleck suffered an ankle injury, no additional delays were reported.
       The 25 Nov 1991 Var announced that filming had completed in Japan, and production would relocate to Los Angeles the following week. According to the 26 Nov 1991 DV, opening and ending sequences would be filmed in CA, and the 6 Dec 1991 DV noted locations at the University of Southern California’s Dedeaux baseball field.
       End credits include the following acknowledgements: “The producers wish to thank the following people and organizations for their kind cooperation in the making of our picture: Capitol Tokyu Hotel; CBS TV & Radio; Central League; Chunichi Dragons; the Chunichi Shimbun; city of Nagoya; the city of Okazaki and its citizens; Coca Cola (Japan) Co., Ltd.; the Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance; Eastman Kodak (Japan) Co., Ltd.; Hanshin Koshien Stadium; Hanshin Tigers; Mr. Masato Hirai, Dentsu; Hiroshima Toyo Carp; Hiroshima Municipal Baseball Stadium; Inax Co., Ltd.; Ms. Kiri Inomata, UIP; Japan Travel Bureau Inc.; Mr. Shozo Katsuta, Dentsu; Kodansha; Mr. Mitsuhiro Kurokawa, the Chunichi Shimbun; Mr. Kiichi Matsui, Dentsu; Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.; Matsuzakaya Co., Ltd.; Meijijingu Baseball Stadium; Men’s Rally Co., Ltd. - Nagoya; Mizuno Corporation; Nagoya Baseball Stadium Co., Ltd.; Nagoya Hilton Hotel; Nagoya Junior Chamber, Inc.; Nagoya Kanko Hotel; Nagoya Railroad Co., Ltd.; Mr. Hagumu Nakagawa, Dentsu; Nike; Nippon Ido Tsushin Co., Ltd.; Mr. Ukon Nishikawa; Okazaki Stadium; Sangetsu Co., Ltd.; Sanwa Cine Equipment Rental Co.; Sun-Up, Ltd.; Taiyo Whales; Tokyo Dome Corporation; Tokyo Laboratory Co., Ltd.; Tokyo Motor Corporation; Yakult Swallows; Yokohama Stadium Co., Ltd.; Yomiuri Giants; and SogoVision Inc.” Also acknowledged: “Pre-recorded videotape supplied by CNN© Cable News Network, Inc. 1989 All Rights Reserved"; "The Variety reprinted with permission from Variety, Inc."; "The Major League Baseball trademarks depicted in this program were licensed by Major League Baseball Properties, Inc."; and, "Sports Illustrated magazine logo and trademark used with permission of the Time Incorporated Magazine Company.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
28 Dec 1990
p. 2.
Daily Variety
17 Feb 1991.
---
Daily Variety
2 Apr 1991.
---
Daily Variety
6 Nov 1991.
---
Daily Variety
26 Nov 1991.
---
Daily Variety
6 Dec 1991.
---
Daily Variety
28 Sep 1992
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jan 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jan 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jun 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Sep 1992
p. 6, 15.
Long Beach Press-Telegram
15 Sep 1991.
---
Los Angeles Times
2 Oct 1992
p. 12.
New York Times
2 Oct 1992
p. 14.
Screen International
19 Jun 1990.
---
Variety
25 Nov 1991
p. 3, 12.
Variety
28 Sep 1992
p. 79.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Universal Pictures presents
An Outlaw production in association with Pacific Artists
A film by Fred Schepisi
Produced in association with Dentsu Inc.
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
4th asst dir
Addl asst dir
Bilingual asst
Unit prod mgr, Los Angeles
2d asst dir, Los Angeles
2d 2d asst dir, Los Angeles
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod - Japan
Japanese line prod
Asst prod
Asst prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
Loader/Asst cam
Loader/Asst cam
Loader/Asst cam
Loader/Asst cam
Bilingual asst
Still photog
Gaffer
Gaffer
Best boy
Best boy
Bilingual asst
Key grip
Key grip
Best boy
Bilingual asst
Bilingual asst
24 frame video tech/Video asst op, Los Angeles
24 frame video tech
Video playback
Video playback
Cam op, Los Angeles
1st asst cam, Los Angeles
2d asst cam, Los Angeles
Loader, Los Angeles
Still photog, Los Angeles
Chief lighting tech, Los Angeles
Best boy, Los Angeles
Key grip, Los Angeles
Best boy, Los Angeles
ART DIRECTORS
Loc art dir
Asst art dir
Prod illustrator
Graphic des asst
Art dir, Los Angeles
Art dept prod asst, Los Angeles
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set art des
Set art des
Const consultant
Const mgr
Standby carpenter
Bilingual asst
Set dec
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Prop master
Asst props
Asst props
Hand props
Hand props
Set dec, Los Angeles
Leadman, Los Angeles
Const coord, Los Angeles
Foreman, Los Angeles
Greensman, Los Angeles
Asst props, Los Angeles
Asst props, Los Angeles
Asst props, Los Angeles
COSTUMES
Cost des
Addl cost des
Cost supv
Cost supv
Asst cost supv
Set costumer
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst to Mr. Selleck
Costume maker
Bilingual ward asst
Stylist
Bilingual asst
Bilingual asst
Cost supv, Los Angeles
Costumer, Los Angeles
Costumer, Los Angeles
MUSIC
Mus ed
Scoring mixer
SOUND
Prod mixer
Boom op
Cableman
Supv sd ed
Dial ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Cableman, Los Angeles
ADR mixer (Los Angeles)
ADR mixer (Japan)
ADR rec (Los Angeles)
ADR rec (Japan)
Addl voice (Los Angeles)
Addl voice (Los Angeles)
Addl voice (Los Angeles)
Addl voice (Los Angeles)
Addl voice (Los Angeles)
Addl voice (Los Angeles)
Addl voice (Los Angeles)
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
Foley mixer
Foley mixer
Addl sd eff
Dolby consultant
At the facilities of
At the facilities of
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff supv
Visual eff cam tech
Spec eff coord, Los Angeles
Title des
MAKEUP
Makeup/Hair for Mr. Selleck
Makeup/Hair artist
Makeup/Hair artist
Makeup/Hair artist
Hairstylist, Los Angeles
Body makeup, Los Angeles
PRODUCTION MISC
Japanese casting
Japanese acting interpreter
Scr supv
2d unit scr supv
Prod asst
Asst casting
Extras casting
Extras casting
Coach for Mr. Takakura
Coach for Mr. Takakura
Coach for Ms. Takanashi
Baseball consultant
Player/Recruiter
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Unit mgr
Unit mgr
Asst unit mgr
Asst unit mgr
Post prod supv
Post prod accountant
Post prod coord/Asst to Mr. Schepisi
Post prod secy
Post prod services
Picture controller
Prod coord
Prod coord
Asst coord
Japan consultant
Asst to Mr. Schepisi
Asst to Mr. Claybourne
Asst to Mr. Selleck
Secy to Mr. Selleck
Bilingual asst to Mr. Schepisi
Bilingual asst to Mr. Claybourne
Bilingual prods' asst
Bilingual prods' asst
Bilingual asst to Mr. Selleck
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Sogo accountant
Prod secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Bilingual prod asst
Bilingual prod asst
Prod translator
Prod translator
Trainer for Mr. Selleck & team
of Shinwa Medical, Inc., Japan
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Accountant, Los Angeles
Baseball consultant, Los Angeles
Casting assoc, Los Angeles
Loc mgr, Los Angeles
Asst loc mgr, Los Angeles
Prod consultant, Los Angeles
Prod coord, Los Angeles
Asst prod coord, Los Angeles
Asst accountant, Los Angeles
Prod asst, Los Angeles
Prod asst, Los Angeles
Prod asst, Los Angeles
Transportation capt, Los Angeles
ADR voice casting (Los Angeles)
ADR voice casting (Japan)
STAND INS
Baseball double for Mr. Selleck
Stunt coord
Asst coord
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"I Left My Heart In San Francisco," written by George Cory and Douglas Cross, performed by Toshi Shioya, laser karaoke material provided by Toei Laser Mate
"Opening Day" (CNN Sports theme), composed by Vick Sepenski, courtesy of Omni Music
"Funkytown," written by Steven Greenberg, performed by Harry Greenberg
+
SONGS
"I Left My Heart In San Francisco," written by George Cory and Douglas Cross, performed by Toshi Shioya, laser karaoke material provided by Toei Laser Mate
"Opening Day" (CNN Sports theme), composed by Vick Sepenski, courtesy of Omni Music
"Funkytown," written by Steven Greenberg, performed by Harry Greenberg
"Shabondama Boogie," written by You/Seiji Toda, performed by Fairchild, courtesy of Pony Canyon Inc.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Tokyo Diamond
Mr. Besuboru
Release Date:
2 October 1992
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 2 October 1992
Production Date:
began 10 September 1991
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
15 March 1993
Copyright Number:
PA610719
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
108
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Countries:
Japan, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31848
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Jack Elliot, a professional baseball player for the New York Mets, is chastised by his agent, Doc, for his reckless behavior off the field. When the aging ballplayer is replaced by an up-and-coming rookie, he learns that the only team interested in recruiting him is in Japan. Jack reluctantly flies to Nagoya, Japan, to join the Chunichi Dragons. At the airport, translator Yoji Nishimura gives him a quick lesson in Japanese culture before introducing him to the team’s owners and holding a press conference. When Jack meets his new teammates, he offends them by not removing his shoes in the locker room. Jack tells another American recruit, Max “Hammer” Dubois, that he does not plan to stay for more than one season. The surly team manager, Uchiyama, is not impressed by Jack’s attitude and his refusal to shave his mustache. At practice, Jack makes fun of the Uchiyama’s unusual training exercises, embarrassing him in front of awaiting reporters. Later, he makes a crude joke to a woman, Hiroko Uchiyama, thinking that she does not understand English. However, Hiroko, who studied in the U.S., mocks him in English and invites him to dinner that night, claiming they have “business to discuss.” Jack accepts, unaware that she is Uchiyama’s daughter and in charge of marketing for the team. After practice, Hammer takes Jack to an American-style bar and introduces him to other expatriates playing baseball in Japan. They show Jack a story about him in the local newspaper, and he is angry that Yoji translated his comments to reporters inaccurately because he deemed them offensive. Sometime later, Hiroko Uchiyama picks Jack up for dinner and makes it clear they are not ... +


Jack Elliot, a professional baseball player for the New York Mets, is chastised by his agent, Doc, for his reckless behavior off the field. When the aging ballplayer is replaced by an up-and-coming rookie, he learns that the only team interested in recruiting him is in Japan. Jack reluctantly flies to Nagoya, Japan, to join the Chunichi Dragons. At the airport, translator Yoji Nishimura gives him a quick lesson in Japanese culture before introducing him to the team’s owners and holding a press conference. When Jack meets his new teammates, he offends them by not removing his shoes in the locker room. Jack tells another American recruit, Max “Hammer” Dubois, that he does not plan to stay for more than one season. The surly team manager, Uchiyama, is not impressed by Jack’s attitude and his refusal to shave his mustache. At practice, Jack makes fun of the Uchiyama’s unusual training exercises, embarrassing him in front of awaiting reporters. Later, he makes a crude joke to a woman, Hiroko Uchiyama, thinking that she does not understand English. However, Hiroko, who studied in the U.S., mocks him in English and invites him to dinner that night, claiming they have “business to discuss.” Jack accepts, unaware that she is Uchiyama’s daughter and in charge of marketing for the team. After practice, Hammer takes Jack to an American-style bar and introduces him to other expatriates playing baseball in Japan. They show Jack a story about him in the local newspaper, and he is angry that Yoji translated his comments to reporters inaccurately because he deemed them offensive. Sometime later, Hiroko Uchiyama picks Jack up for dinner and makes it clear they are not on a date. She only wishes to discuss his contract, which requires him to promote the Dragons by starring in television commercials. Jack refuses, and leaves in anger. At his first game, Jack continues to alienate his teammates and argue with his manager, but impresses the fans, who deem him “Mr. Baseball.” In time, Jack films an advertisement for an energy drink against his will, and quarrels with Hiroko. When the Dragons face their greatest rival, the Tokyo Giants, Jack disobeys Uchiyama’s instructions to bunt, and the Dragons lose. The newspapers report that “Mr. Baseball” is in a “slump.” Sometime later, Jack spends the day with Hiroko at a Buddhist temple, and apologizes for their previous argument. She shares her customs with him, but Jack is reluctant to embrace Japanese culture. When Hiroko accuses him of being closed-minded, Jack admits he is stubborn, and Hiroko agrees to have a drink with him. Driving Jack home, Hiroko invites herself inside and surprises him by running a bath. She challenges him to keep an open mind, and begins bathing him. As Jack relaxes, Hiroko asks about his biggest fear, and he confesses that striking out scares him more than anything. Afterward, the couple makes love. At his next game, Jack continues to argue with Uchiyama, plays a prank on a teammate, and gets into a fight with the opposing team’s pitcher, accidentally punching his translator, Yoji, in the process. The team owners demand that Uchiyama suspend Jack for bringing dishonor to the team. Hiroko takes Jack to meet her grandparents, and he is surprised to see Uchiyama. Hiroko reveals that he is her father, and tries to force a reconciliation, but the men refuse. When Hiroko leaves in anger, Uchiyama opens up to Jack, and tries to help him with his recent batting troubles. He confesses that he will be fired if Jack does not improve, since he was the one who recruited Jack for the team. Jack agrees to work with him, and subjects himself to Uchiyama’s rigorous private training. In time, Jack apologizes to Hiroko, bringing flowers to her office. He makes amends with his teammates, promising to make a real effort to do things their way. As Jack’s batting begins to improve, he suggests that Uchiyama allow the team to have more fun. In time, Jack’s agent, Doc, telephones him with news that the Los Angeles Dodgers are interested in recruiting him, and he will be coming to Japan with the Dodgers’ representative, Howie Gold, to see Jack play. Hiroko is hurt that Jack would consider leaving so easily. Although he invites her to return to the U.S. with him, Hiroko refuses, accusing him of prioritizing baseball. At the final game against the Giants, Jack plans to beat an eighteen-year home run record held by Uchiyama. Before the game, Jack’s teammates play a prank on him, and accept him as one of their own. Despite the pressure to win, Uchiyama allows the team to have fun, and fights on Jack’s behalf when the umpire makes a call he disagrees with. With the bases loaded, Jack is up to bat. The team owners tell Uchiyama to instruct Jack to bunt, and threaten his job if he disobeys, but Uchiyama encourages him. After two strikes, Jack forgoes his chance to hit a home run, and hits a bunt, allowing his teammates to run the bases and beat the Giants. As the team celebrates, Dodger recruiter Howie Gold offers the spot on his team to Max “Hammer” Dubois, at Jack’s recommendation. Meanwhile, Uchiyama learns about the disagreement between Jack and his daughter, and visits Hiroko on Jack’s behalf. When he reveals that Jack loves her, and implores her to reconcile, she embraces her father. In time, Hiroko moves to the U.S. with Jack and watches from the stands as he begins training with the Detroit Tigers, as their new coach. +

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

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