Time to feel old, everybody: "The Addams Family" was released 25 years ago this week on November 22, 1991.
The film, based on the 1964 TV show, was a hit -- and a starter pistol for Hollywood to rush their TV adaptations to the big screen. It also put its first-time director and actor Christina Ricci on the map. In honor of the comedy's 25th anniversary, here are a few things you may not know about this creepy, kooky, spooky family.
1. Orion Pictures originally developed the adaptation of the classic 1964 TV series, as they had the rights to the show at the time. But Orion was struggling financially, so Paramount stepped in with funds to complete the film and scored North America distribution, too, as a result. But Orion kept international rights, which now belong to MGM after they purchased Orion. (Everybody got all that?)
2. The film is the feature directorial debut of cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld ("Miller's Crossing"). He would go on to direct all three "Men in Black" films.
3. Sonnenfeld shot most of the film where the TV show used to shoot -- Stage 3/8 at Hollywood Center Studios in Los Angeles.
4. Angelica Houston, who plays matriarch Morticia, was surprised when she got the role. She expected the part would go to someone like Cher.
5. When Houston got the role, according to her autobiography, she "was looking for a template on which to base Morticia Addams, a key to giving this potentially cartoon character some humanity." She decided to base aspects of her performance on friend and model Jerry Hall. Houston felt that Hall's "kind, gentle disposition and utter devotion to her children would lend some warmth to Morticia's chilly, unflappable nature."
6. The final film resolves the issue of whether or not Fester is an imposter, but that was not the director's original intent. In a 2012 interview with Vulture, Sonnenfeld revealed that the principal cast did not like the idea of keeping Fester's fate ambiguous.
"Two weeks before we started shooting," the director recalled, "when we started rehearsing with all the actors, all the actors rebelled, because the movie Scott Rudin and I were going to shoot had this thing where Fester was perhaps an imposter, but you were never sure if he really was or not. But on the day we started to rehearse, and I remember this really fondly, the spokesperson that all the other actors chose to speak on their behalf was a 10-year-old Christina Ricci. And she gave this really impassioned plea that Fester shouldn't be an imposter." The director also acknowledged that his cast was right -- "it was the better way to go." (Christopher Lloyd, who played Fester, was the only actor who didn't care.)
7. Not everyone was a fan of Gomez and Fester's "Mamushka" dance number. The full version was cut from the film following -- what else? -- a test screening complaint that the bit stalled the movie's pacing.
8. On a $30 million budget, "Addams Family" was a hit -- earning $191 million at the box office. Despite being a hit that was somewhat well-received by critics, Roger Ebert gave film two out of four stars. He argued that the movie's chuckle-inducing moments "don't add up to much."
9. The film was a hit in arcades, too. The pinball machine (above) based on the movie, released in March 1992, is the bestselling pinball machine of all time.
10. Legal troubles plagued the film after its release. David Levy, producer of the original TV series, sued Paramount, claiming that elements of the film were taken from his ideas in the show -- and were not based on the Charles Addams cartoons. Levy cited Fester's lightbulb trick, the characters of Thing and Cousin Itt, and Gomez's love of toy trains among his ideas the movie borrowed. The lawsuit was later settled out of court.
11. It opened opposite some then-fierce competition: "An American Tail: Fievel Goes West" and Disney's "Beauty and the Beast." It opened in the top spot and stayed there for two weeks.
When a man (Christopher Lloyd) claiming to be Fester, the missing brother of Gomez Addams (Raul Julia), arrives at the Addams' home, the family is thrilled. However, Morticia (Anjelica Huston) begins to suspect the man is a fraud, since he cannot recall details of Fester's life. With the help of lawyer Tully Alford (Dan Hedaya), Fester manages to get the Addams clan evicted from their home. Gomez realizes the two men are conspiring to swindle the Addams fortune and that he must challenge Fester. Read More