Mo' Money (1992)

R | 90 mins | Comedy | 24 July 1992

Director:

Peter Macdonald

Writer:

Damon Wayans

Producer:

Michael Rachmil

Cinematographer:

Don Burgess

Production Designer:

William Arnold

Production Company:

Wife N' Kids Productions
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HISTORY

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Columbia Pictures intended the film to be actor-screenwriter Damon Wayans’s directorial debut. He declined due to time limitations, and decided, along with executive producer Eric L. Gold, to hire veteran director Peter Macdonald. At the suggestion of producer Michael Rachmil, they chose Chicago, IL, as the primary location, because its “gritty realism” suited the story. The 9 Jul 1991 HR stated that principal photography began the previous day.
       Nine months later, the 9 Apr 1992 DV reported that the anticipated 5 Jun 1992 opening was postponed until the following month. On 4 Jun 1992, HR announced the film’s 24 Jul 1992 release. As stated in the 19 May 1992 DV, the theme song, “The Best Things In Life Are Free,” would be available 26 May 1992, followed by the soundtrack album on 23 Jun 1992. The 2 Jul 1992 WSJ commended Columbia for its marketing strategy, noting that the hit song provided publicity for the film two months before its release. Mo’ Money marked the film soundtrack debut of the songwriting and production team, James “Jimmy Jam” Harris III and Terry Lewis. The article estimated the picture’s budget at “less than $20 million.”
       The 22 Jul 1992 HR announced a preview screening, to be held that evening at the Loews Astor Plaza Theater in New York City. Proceeds benefited the Black Filmmaker Foundation.
       Mo’ Money opened to mixed reviews, several of which suggested that Macdonald was a poor choice ... More Less

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Columbia Pictures intended the film to be actor-screenwriter Damon Wayans’s directorial debut. He declined due to time limitations, and decided, along with executive producer Eric L. Gold, to hire veteran director Peter Macdonald. At the suggestion of producer Michael Rachmil, they chose Chicago, IL, as the primary location, because its “gritty realism” suited the story. The 9 Jul 1991 HR stated that principal photography began the previous day.
       Nine months later, the 9 Apr 1992 DV reported that the anticipated 5 Jun 1992 opening was postponed until the following month. On 4 Jun 1992, HR announced the film’s 24 Jul 1992 release. As stated in the 19 May 1992 DV, the theme song, “The Best Things In Life Are Free,” would be available 26 May 1992, followed by the soundtrack album on 23 Jun 1992. The 2 Jul 1992 WSJ commended Columbia for its marketing strategy, noting that the hit song provided publicity for the film two months before its release. Mo’ Money marked the film soundtrack debut of the songwriting and production team, James “Jimmy Jam” Harris III and Terry Lewis. The article estimated the picture’s budget at “less than $20 million.”
       The 22 Jul 1992 HR announced a preview screening, to be held that evening at the Loews Astor Plaza Theater in New York City. Proceeds benefited the Black Filmmaker Foundation.
       Mo’ Money opened to mixed reviews, several of which suggested that Macdonald was a poor choice to direct. However, a Cinemascore Movie Report in the 28 Jul 1992 HR determined that seventy-two percent of opening-night audience members gave the picture high scores. In addition, the 27 Jul 1992 LAT reported initial earnings of $12.5 million, making it the highest-grossing film in the U.S. The 29 Jul 1992 HR projected an opening-week gross of $18 million. The article credited Columbia executives Mark Canton, Sidney Ganis, and Jeff Blake with scheduling the release to coincide with the final weeks of Boomerang (1992, see entry), which also featured an African American cast.
       End credits include the following statements: "Special thanks to: The Mail Store; Illinois Film Office - Al Cohn; Chicago Office of Film & Entertainment; 'La Fronde' by Joan Miro, copyright 1991 ARS, N.Y./ADAGP."
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 Apr 1992.
---
Daily Variety
19 May 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jul 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 1992
p. 5, 16.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 1992.
---
Los Angeles Times
27 Jul 1992
Calendar, pp. 2, 6.
New York Times
25 Jul 1992
p. 1, 15.
Variety
27 Jul 1992
p. 59.
WSJ
2 Jul 1992
Section B, p. 1, 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Wife N' Kids Production
A Columbia Pictures Release
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Chief lighting tech
Elec best boy
Key grip
2d grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
Cam equip supplied by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Set des
COSTUMES
Cost des
Set costumer
MUSIC
Featuring songs by
Featuring songs by
Underscore by
Mus ed
Scoring mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Opticals by
Title des
MAKEUP
Hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod coord
Prod accountant
Asst to Mr. Macdonald
Asst to Mr. Rachmil
Asst to Mr. Wayans
Asst to Mr. Gold
Asst to Mr. Gold
Exec asst to Mr. Macdonald
Loc mgr
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Craft service
Unit pub
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
SOURCES
SONGS
“Money Can't Buy You Love,” written by James Harris III and Terry Lewis, rap written and performed by Ralph Tresvant, produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, performed by Ralph Tresvant, courtesy of MCA Records
“Mo' Money Groove,” written by James Harris III and Terry Lewis, produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, performed by Mo' Money Allstars (Damon Wayans, Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant, Krush, Lo-Key?), Johnny Gill courtesy of Motown Record Co. L.P., Ralph Tresvant courtesy of MCA Records, Krush and Lo-Key? courtesy of Perspective Records
“Get Off My Back,” written by Hank Shocklee, Keith Shocklee, Gary G-Wiz and Flavor Flav, produced by The Bomb Squad, Hank Shocklee, Keith Shocklee and G. G-Wiz, performed by Public Enemy featuring Flavor Flav, courtesy of Def Jam/Columbia Records
+
SONGS
“Money Can't Buy You Love,” written by James Harris III and Terry Lewis, rap written and performed by Ralph Tresvant, produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, performed by Ralph Tresvant, courtesy of MCA Records
“Mo' Money Groove,” written by James Harris III and Terry Lewis, produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, performed by Mo' Money Allstars (Damon Wayans, Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant, Krush, Lo-Key?), Johnny Gill courtesy of Motown Record Co. L.P., Ralph Tresvant courtesy of MCA Records, Krush and Lo-Key? courtesy of Perspective Records
“Get Off My Back,” written by Hank Shocklee, Keith Shocklee, Gary G-Wiz and Flavor Flav, produced by The Bomb Squad, Hank Shocklee, Keith Shocklee and G. G-Wiz, performed by Public Enemy featuring Flavor Flav, courtesy of Def Jam/Columbia Records
“Ice Cream Dream,” written by James Harris III and Terry Lewis, rap written by MCLyte, produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, performed by MCLyte, courtesy of EastWest/Atco Records
“The Best Things In Life Are Free” (Theme from Mo' Money ), written by James Harris III and Terry Lewis, rap written and performed by Michael Bivins, Ronnie Devoe and Ralph Tresvant, produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, performed by Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson with special guests Bell Biv DeVoe and Ralph Tresvant, Luther Vandross courtesy of Epic Records, Janet Jackson courtesy of Virgin Records, Bell Biv DeVoe and Ralph Tresvant courtesy of MCA Records
“A Job Ain't Nuthin' But Work,” written by Lance Alexander, Tony Tolbert, James Harris III, Terry Lewis and Darron Story, rap written and performed by Big Daddy Kane, produced by Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Lance Alexander and prof t., performed by Big Daddy Kane with special guests Lo-Key?, Big Daddy Kane courtesy of Cold Chillin' Records, Lo-Key? courtesy of Perspective Records
“My Dear,” written by James Harris III, Terry Lewis, Ricky Kinchen, Homer O'Dell, Stokley Williams, Jeffrey Allen, Keri Lewis and Larry Waddell, produced by Mint Condition, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, performed by Mint Condition, courtesy of Perspective Records”
“I Adore You,” written by James Harris III, Terry Lewis and Caron Wheeler, produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, performed by Caron Wheeler, courtesy of EMI Records
“Joy,” written by Lance Alexander and Tony Tolbert, produced by Lance Alexander, prof t., Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, performed by Sounds of Blackness, courtesy of Perspective Records
“The New Style,” written by James Harris III and Terry Lewis, produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, performed by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
“Let's Get Together (So Groovy Now),” written by James Harris III, Terry Lewis and Tony Tolbert, produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, performed by Krush, courtesy of Perspective Records
“Forever Love,” written by Mark Calderon, Sam Watters, Kevin Thornton, Bryan Abrams, James Harris III and Terry Lewis, produced by Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Color Me Badd, performed by Color Me Badd, courtesy of Giant Records
“Let's Just Run Away,” written by Lance Alexander, Tony Tolbert, James Harris III and Terry Lewis, produced by Lance Alexander, prof t., Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, performed by Johnny Gill, courtesy of Motown Record Co. L.P.
“I Got It,” written by Richard Penniman, performed by Little Richard, courtesy of Specialty Records, Inc.
“Brother Will,” written by Garry Johnson, Mark Haynes, Frank Stribbling, James Harris III and Terry Lewis, produced by Jellybean Johnson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, performed by The Harlem Yacht Club, courtesy of Perspective Records
“Keya Rinia,” written by Ali Baba/Gana, performed by Ali Baba, courtesy of Maniatakis H. Charles/Rykodisc, Inc.
“Poison,” written by Elliott Straite.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
24 July 1992
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 24 July 1992
New York opening: 24 July 1992
Production Date:
began 8 July 1991
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
3 August 1992
Copyright Number:
PA576043
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral Recording Dolby® Stereo in selected theatres
Color
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in feet):
8,064
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31458
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Chicago, Illinois, Dynasty Club credit card company employee Ted Forrest is murdered in his car. Elsewhere in the city, brothers Jonathan “Johnny” Stewart and Seymour “Cornbread” Stewart lure a white businessman to a slum apartment, offering to sell him a black-market television. When the man realizes the carton is empty, he notifies police and Johnny is arrested while fleeing the scene. Seymour hires street preacher Reverend Pimp Daddy to act as Johnny’s attorney. Despite Johnny’s criminal record, the judge is forced to dismiss the case, due to the preacher’s inept defense. Police Lieutenant Raymond Walsh meets Johnny outside the courthouse, advising him to be an honest man like his late father, Detective Stewart. Despite his outward resentment, Johnny takes Walsh’s advice and enlists Seymour to help him sell used books in the park. However, Seymour quickly loses his patience and initiates a game of “Three Card Monte.” When a beautiful young woman named Amber Evans offers to buy a book, Johnny invites her to join Seymour’s game, allowing her to win twice in succession. Afterward, Johnny follows Amber to her office at Dynasty Club, and applies for a job in the mailroom. Johnny begins work the following day, processing declined pre-approved credit cards. His training is interrupted by security chief Keith Heading, who asks for a private conference with mailroom supervisor Chris Fields. They enter the men’s restroom, where Chris expresses his distress over the murder of Ted Forrest. Keith grabs him by the throat, demanding his cooperation in a scheme to raise $30 million using stolen credit cards. Later that day, Amber declines Johnny’s ... +


In Chicago, Illinois, Dynasty Club credit card company employee Ted Forrest is murdered in his car. Elsewhere in the city, brothers Jonathan “Johnny” Stewart and Seymour “Cornbread” Stewart lure a white businessman to a slum apartment, offering to sell him a black-market television. When the man realizes the carton is empty, he notifies police and Johnny is arrested while fleeing the scene. Seymour hires street preacher Reverend Pimp Daddy to act as Johnny’s attorney. Despite Johnny’s criminal record, the judge is forced to dismiss the case, due to the preacher’s inept defense. Police Lieutenant Raymond Walsh meets Johnny outside the courthouse, advising him to be an honest man like his late father, Detective Stewart. Despite his outward resentment, Johnny takes Walsh’s advice and enlists Seymour to help him sell used books in the park. However, Seymour quickly loses his patience and initiates a game of “Three Card Monte.” When a beautiful young woman named Amber Evans offers to buy a book, Johnny invites her to join Seymour’s game, allowing her to win twice in succession. Afterward, Johnny follows Amber to her office at Dynasty Club, and applies for a job in the mailroom. Johnny begins work the following day, processing declined pre-approved credit cards. His training is interrupted by security chief Keith Heading, who asks for a private conference with mailroom supervisor Chris Fields. They enter the men’s restroom, where Chris expresses his distress over the murder of Ted Forrest. Keith grabs him by the throat, demanding his cooperation in a scheme to raise $30 million using stolen credit cards. Later that day, Amber declines Johnny’s invitation to lunch, but offers him a date with Charlotte, a sexually-aggressive coworker. Although Amber is romantically involved with snobbish Dynasty Club executive Tom Dilton, Johnny is certain that the relationship is doomed. Days later, Amber joins Tom for lunch at an elegant restaurant, where he accuses her of having “no culture.” Johnny and Seymour sit at a nearby table, eliciting laughter from Amber as they mock Tom’s stodgy behavior. Tom confronts Johnny, saying he cannot “afford” Amber, and she is offended by the implication that she is a prostitute. Amber ends their relationship and Tom fires her. The next day, Lt. Walsh questions Chris about Ted Forrest, and Keith, suspecting that he has been betrayed, orders his accomplice’s murder. Unaware that he is being watched, Johnny steals an active credit card and goes on a shopping spree that evening. Afterward, he presents Amber with an expensive ring, and they kiss. In the morning, Keith confronts Johnny with video evidence of his theft. Keith admits to entrapping Johnny, and promises not to fire him if he assumes Chris’s duties. Lt. Walsh shows Keith a stack of receipts found in Chris’s home, all for purchases on credit cards of deceased customers. Keith suggests that Chris was singlehandedly running an illegal operation using company facilities, but Lt. Walsh is skeptical. That night, Keith gives Johnny a tour of a warehouse, stocked with millions of dollars in merchandise, warning that betraying his criminal enterprise is punishable by death. Although the illegal cards enable Johnny to enjoy a life of luxury, he experiences a twinge of guilt upon receiving a note from Lt. Walsh, commending his success in the business world. When Seymour complains about being neglected, Johnny and Amber invite him to a dance club, with Charlotte as his date. Seymour is initially repulsed by Charlotte, but after several drinks, he succumbs to her advances. Amber compounds Johnny’s guilt by assuming his sudden wealth is the result of drug trafficking. The next day, Seymour is arrested for attempting to use one of Johnny’s credit cards, and reveals Keith as the source. Police assign Seymour to entrap Keith, but the security chief discovers the ruse and places Seymour in the custody of his henchmen. After Johnny admits his criminal activity to Amber, they gather evidence from Dynasty Club headquarters. Keith confronts the couple, with Seymour as his hostage. Amber and Johnny escape the building as Lt. Walsh approaches. Keith shoots the detective in the arm and drives from the scene. Johnny commandeers a van and pursues Keith, leaving a path of destruction in his wake. After Seymour breaks free, the chase continues into a rock salt plant, where Keith and a wounded Johnny do battle on a conveyor belt. As the belt reaches its apex, Johnny wraps an electrical cord around Keith’s neck, which strangles him when he is ejected. Later, Seymour enters Johnny’s hospital room to find his brother kissing Amber. Charlotte appears, intent on resuming their relationship, and Seymour runs for the exit. +

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

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