The Addams Family Director Explains Why Paramount Hated the Film


Director Barry Sonnenfeld has a lot of happy memories from the set of 1991’s The Addams Family, but Paramount’s reaction to it wasn’t one of them.

Waxing nostalgic in a piece for THR celebrating the film’s 30th anniversary, Sonnenfeld remembered a rough road for the film in getting positive recognition from its parent studio. “[Paramount head] Frank Mancuso Sr. bought [Addams Family] on a Friday morning,” the director recalls in the story, “and that Friday afternoon, he was fired. And then Stanley Jaffe came in…looked at the same footage and said, ‘This movie is uncuttable and non-releasable.’ But it was too late. The contract was signed. Paramount hated the movie because Stanley told them to hate it.”

Related: The Addams Family: How Christina Ricci Helped Change the Film’s Ending

At least one studio executive who was working at the time has a different perspective. William Horberg, who was assigned to the film as a creative executive, dissents the ferocity with which Jaffe disliked early footage. “Stanley questioned what he saw,” Horberg said. “Jaffe’s initial reaction to the movie was not positive, but he didn’t turn around and tell us what to think or what to feel. So, I don’t think it is entirely true the executives underneath hated it.”

Ultimately, the film was a huge commercial success. It made $24 million on its opening weekend — a huge haul for the time and double its projection — and went on to accrue nearly $200 million worldwide against a $30 million budget.

RELATED: The Addams Family 2: Bill Hader Delves Into Voice-Acting & Authenticity

Paired with the love from audiences was a fair amount of critical acclaim as well. This all caused the studio to change its tune and a sequel, 1993’s Addams Family Values, was ordered. Despite the same all-star cast with the likes of Raul Julia as Gomez, Anjelica Huston as Morticia and Christina Ricci as Wednesday, it did not perform as well.

Still, Sonnenfeld was vindicated in his first outing as a director. It built off the comedy successes of its two inspirations — the 1930s one-panel cartoons by Charles Addams and the 1960s sitcom that ran for two seasons — and helped launch the directing career of Sonnenfeld, who had been known for his cinematography on films like Raising Arizona before then.

The franchise has also been re-launched recently as a pair of animated films and a live-action series from Tim Burton, based around the Wednesday character, coming to Netflix in the future.

Keep Reading: How Did the Addams Family Get So Rich?

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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