Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Turtles Are Back...In Time (1993)

PG | 95 mins | Children's works, Fantasy | 19 March 1993

Director:

Stuart Gillard

Writer:

Stuart Gillard

Cinematographer:

David Gurfinkel

Production Designer:

Roy Forge Smith

Production Company:

Golden Harvest
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HISTORY

On 27 Mar 1991, DV announced that Hong Kong production company Golden Harvest Pictures would develop a third live-action film installment in the commercially successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, with Michael Pressman in talks to direct. According to the 7 Jan 1992 DV, however, the $17 million production was scheduled to begin Mar 1992 in Vancouver, Canada, with a yet-unnamed Canadian writer-director. The “computerized ‘Turtles,’” which had been previously constructed by the Jim Henson Creature Shop in England, would now be overseen by All Effects Company in California’s San Fernando Valley. In a 19 Mar 1993 HR article, writer and first-time director Stuart Gillard expressed his initial concern about setting another story in the New York City sewers, and met with original comic book creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird for new ideas. At their office in Northampton, MA, Gillard brainstormed several potential plotlines, and ultimately decided to write a time-travel script based on a comic that followed Michaelangelo on adventures in feudal Japan.
       Although an 11 Nov 1991 Playback magazine item stated the film was booked for four months of preproduction at Vancouver’s North Shore Studios, the 31 Mar 1992 HR announced that Golden Harvest decided to move production to Astoria, OR, due to strict scheduling demands and cheaper studio space. The last-minute change was a great disappointment to the Vancouver film community, which had spent more than a year making preparations, including plans to accommodate the project’s budgetary restrictions by assembling a crew made up of members of the Association of Canadian Film Craftspeople.
       A 16 Jun 1992 HR production chart ... More Less

On 27 Mar 1991, DV announced that Hong Kong production company Golden Harvest Pictures would develop a third live-action film installment in the commercially successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, with Michael Pressman in talks to direct. According to the 7 Jan 1992 DV, however, the $17 million production was scheduled to begin Mar 1992 in Vancouver, Canada, with a yet-unnamed Canadian writer-director. The “computerized ‘Turtles,’” which had been previously constructed by the Jim Henson Creature Shop in England, would now be overseen by All Effects Company in California’s San Fernando Valley. In a 19 Mar 1993 HR article, writer and first-time director Stuart Gillard expressed his initial concern about setting another story in the New York City sewers, and met with original comic book creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird for new ideas. At their office in Northampton, MA, Gillard brainstormed several potential plotlines, and ultimately decided to write a time-travel script based on a comic that followed Michaelangelo on adventures in feudal Japan.
       Although an 11 Nov 1991 Playback magazine item stated the film was booked for four months of preproduction at Vancouver’s North Shore Studios, the 31 Mar 1992 HR announced that Golden Harvest decided to move production to Astoria, OR, due to strict scheduling demands and cheaper studio space. The last-minute change was a great disappointment to the Vancouver film community, which had spent more than a year making preparations, including plans to accommodate the project’s budgetary restrictions by assembling a crew made up of members of the Association of Canadian Film Craftspeople.
       A 16 Jun 1992 HR production chart stated principal photography began 15 Jun 1992, and the 22 Jun 1992 HR listed an expected completion date of 1 Aug 1992. Producer Thomas K. Gray attributed the truncated seven-week schedule to the establishment of a second stunt unit. According to production notes in AMPAS library files, a vacated World War II seaplane hangar on the Columbia River was converted into four studio sound stages large enough to house eight sets, including the Japanese castle, courtyard, and dungeon. The subway set built for the “Turtles’” home in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991, see entry) was transported from that film’s North Carolina location and reassembled in Astoria, while the 17th century Japanese village was built atop Saddle Mountain in the Oregon Coast Range. Japanese media executive and historian James Matsumoto served as a technical advisor to ensure that the customs, costumes, and dialogue were authentic to the era. Despite earlier reports, various contemporary sources listed the final cost at $21-$22 million, which marked a significant increase from the previous two films.
       Mark Caso, who played “Leonardo,” was the only original Turtle cast member to reprise his role. Because Leif Tilden, Kenn Scott, and Michelan Sisti were unavailable for filming, their respective roles were filled by Jim Raposa, Matt Hill, and David Fraser, and the actors’ faces remained obscured by the Turtle costumes. Robbie Rist and Brian Tochi provided voices for all three live-action films, while Corey Feldman reprised his role as the voice of Donatello from the first picture, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990, see entry).
       Prior to the film’s domestic release, the 14 Jan 1993 LAT reported that New Line Cinema’s extensive publicity campaign would include marketing tie-ins with Burger King restaurants, Playmates toys, and more than twenty additional companies. A 10 Apr 1993 LAT news item stated that the Turtles also appeared at the White House to help U.S. President Bill Clinton raise awareness for early child vaccination and National Preschool Immunization Week. For its efforts promoting the sequel as “unique and special,” New Line received the Film Information Council’s Film Marketing Award, as reported in the 26 Apr 1993 DV.
       According to the 2 Mar 1993 DV, the Hollywood, CA, world premiere was scheduled for 6 Mar 1993 at Cineplex Odeon’s Universal City Theater, with proceeds benefitting the Permanent Charities Committee of the Entertainment Industries. The 19 Mar 1993 HR indicated that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Turtles Are Back…In Time opened on eighty screens in Canada on 16 Mar 1993, three days before the U.S. release. Despite largely negative reviews, the 23 Mar 1993 DV reported weekend box-office earnings of $12,419,597 from 2,087 theaters. The final gross was projected at $65 million—a figure substantially less than its predecessors.
       Although DV predicted that New Line Cinemas would continue the series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Turtles Are Back…In Time was the last live-action film released until the Paramount Pictures—Nickelodeon Movies “reboot,” Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014, see entry), and its sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Half Shell, scheduled for release in summer 2016. However, the franchise remained popular throughout the 1990s and 2000s, with several animated and live-action television series, video games, toys, comics, merchandise, and Warner Bros. Pictures’ computer-animated feature, TMNT (2007, see entry).
       End credits state: “Special Thanks to Renay and Mark Freedman,” and, “The Japanese Sword is published by Kodansha International Ltd. © 1983, reprinted by permission. All rights reserved." Additional “Special thanks" are given to: "Cheryl and Jim Prindle, Mirage Studios; Oregon Division of State Lands/E. David Blum; Mayor Willis Van Dusen, the people and the city of Astoria, Oregon; Ben Shaw, Cindy Howe, Michael Ramsdell; Oregon Economic Development Department Film and Video Section/David Woolsen, Karen Runkel; Cavenham Forest Industries/Glenn W. Jacques; Astoria, Oregon Fire Department/Lane Wintermute; Micro Mo Electronics, Inc.; California Microwave, Inc.; Toho Costume Co. Ltd.; Toho International Co. Ltd.” An acknowledgment notes: “The characters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo, Donatello, Splinter, April and Casey Jones are registered copyright © 1984 Mirage Studios and are trademarks.”
       The character “Michelangelo” is credited onscreen as “Michaelangelo.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
27 Mar 1991.
---
Daily Variety
7 Jan 1992.
---
Daily Variety
2 Mar 1993.
---
Daily Variety
23 Mar 1993.
---
Daily Variety
26 Apr 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 Mar 1992
Section I, p. 3, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 1993
p. 7, 16.
Los Angeles Times
14 Jan 1993.
---
Los Angeles Times
22 Mar 1993
Calendar, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
10 Apr 1993.
---
New York Times
20 Mar 1993
Section I, p. 15.
Playback
11 Nov 1991.
---
Variety
22 Mar 1993
p. 51.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Golden Harvest Presents
In Association with Gary Propper
A Stuart Gillard Film
A Golden Harvest Presentation
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
Unit prod mgr, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
Addl 2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Prod
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst photog
1st asst photog
2d asst photog
Best boy
Key grip
Best boy
Dolly grip
Video tech
Still photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Addl dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
1st asst photog, 2d unit
1st asst photog, 2d unit
1st asst photog, 2d unit
2d asst photog, 2d unit
Gaffer, 2d unit
Best boy, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
Best boy, 2d unit
Best boy, 2d unit
Video tech, 2d unit
Cranes and dollies by
Magic Gadgets lighting F/X equip by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Greensman
Prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Const foreman
Const foreman
Paint foreperson
Master scenic artist
Prop master, 2d unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Addl cost des
Cost supv
Key costumer
Set costumer
Set costumer
Set costumer
Key costumer, 2d unit
Set costumer, 2d unit
Spec armor manufactured by
Special armor manufactured by, Precision Effects L
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus supv
Mus ed
Contractor
Scoring mixer
Orch scoring mixer
Asst eng
Orig mus rec at
Los Angeles
Orig mus rec at
SOUND
Sd supv
Sd supv
Supv ADR ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Dial ed
ADR ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Sd ed by
ADR mixer
ADR group
Foley mixer
Supv re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Dolby Stereo consultant
Sd mixer
Boom op
Cableman
Sd mixer, 2d unit
Boom op, 2d unit
Cableman, 2d unit
VISUAL EFFECTS
Creature eff by
Creature eff by
Chief puppeteer
Animatronic puppeteer, Donatello
Animatronic puppeteer, Michaelangelo
Animatronic puppeteer, Raphael
Animatronic puppeteer, Leonardo
Animatronic puppeteer, Splinter
Animatronic puppeteer, Splinter
Animatronic puppeteer, Splinter
Addl puppeteer
Addl puppeteer
Creature eff by
Creature eff supv, All Effects Company
Creature eff co-supv, All Effects Company
Electronics foreman, All Effects Company
Mechanical foreman, All Effects Company
Shop foreman, All Effects Company
Creature shop coord, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Crew, All Effects Company
Spec eff supv, Special Effects Unlimited
Spec eff foreman, Special Effects Unlimited
Spec eff supv, 2d unit
Spec eff foreman, 2d unit
Visual eff supv
Spec visual eff created by
Visual eff supv for Perpetual Motion Pictures
Opt supv, Perpetual Motion Pictures crew
Opt cam, Perpetual Motion Pictures crew
Opt cam, Perpetual Motion Pictures crew
Rotoscope/Anim, Perpetual Motion Pictures crew
Matte artist, Perpetual Motion Pictures crew
Stage crew, Perpetual Motion Pictures crew
Stage crew, Perpetual Motion Pictures crew
Stage crew, Perpetual Motion Pictures crew
Stage crew, Perpetual Motion Pictures crew
Stage crew, Perpetual Motion Pictures crew
Stage crew, Perpetual Motion Pictures crew
Stage crew, Perpetual Motion Pictures crew
Stage crew, Perpetual Motion Pictures crew
Prod coord, Perpetual Motion Pictures crew
Exec prod, Perpetual Motion Pictures crew
Titles by
Opticals by
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
Addl makeup artist
Addl makeup artist
Hairstylist
Makeup artist, 2d unit
Hairstylist, 2d unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod exec
Prod comptroller
Asst prod comptroller
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst to Mr. Gillard
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Payroll accountant
Japanese tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Oregon casting
Oregon casting, A.M. Casting Associates
Unit pub
Caterer
Los Angeles
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Key set prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Scr supv, 2d unit
Key set prod asst, 2d unit
Set prod asst, 2d unit
Set prod asst, 2d unit
Payroll services
Completion guaranty
Prod equip provided by
Computer services by
STAND INS
Martial arts choreog and stunt coord
Horse stunts staged by
Asst martial arts choreog
Turtle fight double, Donatello
Turtle fight double, Leonardo
Turtle fight double, Raphael
Turtle fight double, Michaelangelo
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Dailies by
(Seattle)
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, exclusively licensed by Surge Licensing, Inc.
SONGS
"Can't Stop Rockin'," performed by ZZ Top, words and music by Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc., by arrangement with Warner Special Products, © 1985 Hamstein Music Company (ASCAP), All Rights Reserved. Used by permission. International copyright secured.
"Conga," performed by The Barrio Boyzz, written by Enrique Elias Garcia, published by Foreign Imported Productions and Publishing (BMI), courtesy of SBK Records/EMI Records Group North America
"Rockin' Over The Beat," performed by Technotronic, featuring Ya Kid K, written by Manuella Kamosi, Jo Bogaert, published by BMC Publishing and Bogam Publishing, administered by Colgems - EMI Music Inc. (ASCAP), courtesy of SBK Records/EMI Records Group North America
+
SONGS
"Can't Stop Rockin'," performed by ZZ Top, words and music by Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc., by arrangement with Warner Special Products, © 1985 Hamstein Music Company (ASCAP), All Rights Reserved. Used by permission. International copyright secured.
"Conga," performed by The Barrio Boyzz, written by Enrique Elias Garcia, published by Foreign Imported Productions and Publishing (BMI), courtesy of SBK Records/EMI Records Group North America
"Rockin' Over The Beat," performed by Technotronic, featuring Ya Kid K, written by Manuella Kamosi, Jo Bogaert, published by BMC Publishing and Bogam Publishing, administered by Colgems - EMI Music Inc. (ASCAP), courtesy of SBK Records/EMI Records Group North America
"Tarzan Boy," performed by Baltimora, written by N. Hackett, M. Bassi, published by Screen Gems - EMI Music Inc. (BMI), courtesy of EMI Records/EMI Records Group North America, trademark Tarzan® owned by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and used by permission.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
Turtles III
Release Date:
19 March 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles world premiere: 6 March 1993
Los Angeles and New York openings: 19 March 1993
Production Date:
15 June--1 August 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Zellcom Industries, BV
Copyright Date:
26 April 1993
Copyright Number:
PA610718
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® Cameras & Lenses
Duration(in mins):
95
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
Hong Kong, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32200
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1603 Japan, Lord Norinaga orders the capture of his son, Kenshin, who has aided a rebellion against the kingdom’s recent militarization and weapons trading with a British imperialist named Walker. After arguing with his father, Kenshin retreats to a temple and picks up a scepter inscribed with the phrase, “Open Wide the Gates of Time.” In present day New York City, the four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo, and Michaelangelo—practice martial arts under the eye of their sensei, a mutated rat named Splinter. Disillusioned by their unrewarded efforts to protect the city, Raphael storms off to his room just as the Turtles’ friend, April O’Neil, arrives with gifts from the local flea market. Among the items is an antique Japanese scepter, which suddenly emits bolts of blue lightning. By touching the object, April is transported back in time to feudal Japan, while Kenshin, who held the same scepter in his temple, is brought forward to present day New York. Assuming April is a witch responsible for the disappearance of both his son and the valuable scepter, Lord Norinaga locks her in his dungeon. Unsettled by his new surroundings in present day New York City, Kenshin explains he has been unwillingly transported from the past. Donatello analyzes the scepter and determines that the space-time portal will only temporarily remain open, allowing the Turtles sixty hours to find April and return to the present. Once the scepter activates, the Turtles are sent back in time and replaced by four men Kenshin recognizes as members of his father’s Honor Guard. The Turtles awaken on horseback in the middle of a battle, but are unable to control their frightened steeds. Amid ... +


In 1603 Japan, Lord Norinaga orders the capture of his son, Kenshin, who has aided a rebellion against the kingdom’s recent militarization and weapons trading with a British imperialist named Walker. After arguing with his father, Kenshin retreats to a temple and picks up a scepter inscribed with the phrase, “Open Wide the Gates of Time.” In present day New York City, the four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo, and Michaelangelo—practice martial arts under the eye of their sensei, a mutated rat named Splinter. Disillusioned by their unrewarded efforts to protect the city, Raphael storms off to his room just as the Turtles’ friend, April O’Neil, arrives with gifts from the local flea market. Among the items is an antique Japanese scepter, which suddenly emits bolts of blue lightning. By touching the object, April is transported back in time to feudal Japan, while Kenshin, who held the same scepter in his temple, is brought forward to present day New York. Assuming April is a witch responsible for the disappearance of both his son and the valuable scepter, Lord Norinaga locks her in his dungeon. Unsettled by his new surroundings in present day New York City, Kenshin explains he has been unwillingly transported from the past. Donatello analyzes the scepter and determines that the space-time portal will only temporarily remain open, allowing the Turtles sixty hours to find April and return to the present. Once the scepter activates, the Turtles are sent back in time and replaced by four men Kenshin recognizes as members of his father’s Honor Guard. The Turtles awaken on horseback in the middle of a battle, but are unable to control their frightened steeds. Amid the chaos, Michaelangelo rides into the woods with the scepter, and is knocked unconscious by a team of rebels. Disguised in samurai uniforms, Donatello, Raphael, and Leonardo rescue April from the dungeon, but April nearly ruins their chance of escape by going back to help Whit, a British prisoner she believes to be the ancestor of their friend, Casey Jones. In the forest, the fugitives fight off a group of attackers and are narrowly saved by the arrival of Mitsu, Kenshin’s lover and the leader of the uprising against Lord Norinaga. Recognizing the Turtles’ resemblance to her prisoner, Michaelangelo, Mitsu leads them back to her village. Upon arrival, they find that Walker has burned the buildings in search of Lord Norinaga’s missing scepter. A battle ensues, and the villagers eventually chase Walker away. Michaelangelo rushes into a burning house to save a young child named Yoshi, and Leonardo revives the boy using cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). With the scepter still missing, Donatello and Leonardo build a replica, while Michaelangelo attempts to make a pizza and Raphael develops a close friendship with Yoshi. In New York City, Casey Jones entertains the four misplaced warriors by introducing them to television and hockey, but Splinter and Kenshin worry the Turtles will not return in time. Although the replica is eventually completed, Michaelangelo and Raphael accidentally break it while arguing. The villagers receive word that Lord Norinaga has agreed to trade gold in exchange for Walker’s guns, and plans to attack the resistance camp the next morning. Afraid his new friends will die in battle, Yoshi gives Raphael the scepter, which was kept hidden under the house. The Turtles realize the rebels withheld the relic so they would be forced to stay and help fight Walker. Although they blame Mitsu, her elderly father claims responsibility for the deception. With the scepter found, Whit reveals himself as Walker’s double agent, kidnaps Mitsu, and brings her to Lord Norinaga. After breaking into the castle, the Turtles release Mitsu and the other prisoners. Lord Norinaga challenges Mitsu to a duel, and a fight ensues between the fugitives and members of Norinaga’s army. Leonardo disarms Lord Norinaga and traps him under a large bell. Walker arrives and threatens to shoot the rebels, but Whit comes to their defense. Realizing he cannot defeat them, Walker grabs the scepter and flees. In his escape, he throws the staff into the air and rappels down the side of the cliff toward a getaway boat docked below. The Turtles grab the scepter, and Whit launches a fireball that causes Walker to fall to his death. Afterward, Michaelangelo and Raphael express their desire to stay in feudal Japan, where they are appreciated. April and Mitsu convince them to stay together, and the Turtles realize staying behind could alter the future. Kenshin activates the scepter and opens the portal, but Michaelangelo stalls saying goodbye to Mitsu and does not touch the relic in time. April, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael arrive safely back in the New York City sewer, and realize to their horror that one last Honor Guard still remains. Moments later, however, the Honor Guard activates the scepter again, and Michaelangelo appears just before time is up. In Japan, Kenshin reconciles with his father and reunites with Mitsu, while Michaelangelo laments the thought of having to grow up. Splinter makes him laugh and the other Turtles encourage him to join in a celebratory dance. +

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

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