Howard the Duck (1986) Poster


Howard landed on Earth on 8 September. It was on that date in 1966 that Star Trek (1966) premiered on NBC.
According to reports at the time of the movie's release, George Lucas was heavily in debt (having just built the $50-million Skywalker Ranch complex) and was counting on this film to get him back in the black. When it bombed, he was forced to start selling off assets to stay afloat. His friend Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Computer, offered to help by buying Lucasfilm's newly-launched CGI animation division for a price well above market value, and Lucas, in desperate straits and thankful for the assistance, agreed. That division eventually become Pixar Animation Studios.
In a recent Twitter comment, actress Lea Thompson advises she still has the Les Paul guitar she played in her songs with "Cherry Bomb" and sometimes still plays it.
Lea Thompson actually did the singing for all of the songs of her character's band, as did the other actresses in the group. On the 2009 DVD, she states that even during filming the studio had not made a final decision as to whether to keep her singing voice or dub her.
Howard the Duck made a second cinematic appearance in the post-credit scene of Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), exactly 28 years and one day after Howard the Duck was released in 1986. Both movies are based off Marvel comics books.
Executive producer George Lucas spent $2 million on Howard's duck suit, and eight different actors worked inside the costume. According to the 2009 DVD release, a child actor was intended to be the "main" Howard, but didn't work out; another actor, Ed Gale, ended up performing the lion's share of the major scenes as Howard and as such earned himself a credit at the start of the film.
The Evil Overlord is based on the Marvel villain who originally brought Howard to Earth. His full title in the comics is Thog the Nether-Spawn, Overmaster of Sominus.
For her 1980s-style look, Lea Thompson (Beverly) had to have her hair styled for about two hours each day. She admitted later that she was not very happy about the treatment and that she should have worn a wig instead.
On the DVD commentary for the film, one of the commentators claims that George Lucas reassured him that the project would, in 20 years, be seen as a masterpiece. As of the year 2012 the film was still considered one of the worst ever made.
The movie was nominated for seven Golden Raspberry Awards in 1986 including Worst Director (Willard Huyck), Worst Original Song ("Howard the Duck") and Worst Supporting Actor (Tim Robbins). The picture won four Razzies, these were for Worst New Star ("the six guys and gals in the duck suit"), Worst Visual Effects, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Picture, which it tied with Prince's Under the Cherry Moon (1986).
The movie won Worst Picture at the Hastings Bad Cinema Society's 9th Stinkers Bad Movie Awards in 1986.
Popular vocalist Tori Amos auditioned for the part of Beverly Switzler, eventually played by Lea Thompson.
Chip Zien was cast as the voice of Howard after filming was completed. During filming, puppeteer Tim Rose spoke Howard's lines through a microphone.
On the official soundtrack album of the movie, the song "Don't Turn Away" is performed by Thomas Dolby. On the 7" vinyl single release however, the full version performed by Lea Thompson is on the B-side.
George Lucas' close friend John Landis was originally slated to direct this film, but after reading the script turned down the opportunity due to the police car crashes in the finale. He felt this was too similar to that of his previous film, The Blues Brothers (1980).
Due to the movie's disastrous box-office performance stateside, the film's title was changed from "Howard the Duck" to "Howard: A New Breed of Hero" for the movie's release in various non-US foreign territories such as the UK and Australia.
A clip of this movie is on "The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made" DVD Region 1 NTSC.
Text from the license in Howard's wallet:
  • N2465258
  • 3636 Lakeside Dr.
  • Marshington, DC 10031
  • sex fthr eyes height date of hatch
  • M WHT BLU 3-01 09-05-58
  • pre lic ex. 82
  • X Howard T Duck
  • 9-3-82 CtM sc DMV #29
Second consecutive financial failure for director Willard Huyck whose previous film Best Defense (1984) was also a box-office flop.
Shortly after the movie was released, Frank Price quit his job as the head of Universal Pictures, the studio that funded the film. "Variety" reported the story with the headline, "'Duck' Cooks Price's Goose."
The movie since its first release has garnered "a huge cult following" according to the film's DVD sleeve notes.
Paula Abdul, Kim Basinger, Jodi Benson, Sarah Jessica Parker and Lori Singer were all considered for the role of Beverly.
According to Halliwells, the picture was "toned down from an adult comic strip".
John Cusack and Martin Short auditioned for the voice of Howard.
Final theatrical feature film directed by Willard Huyck.
In a 1986 interview in "Star Hits" magazine, singer Belinda Carlisle stated that she auditioned for a role in the film.
According to the DVD sleeve notes, the picture is "one of the most controversial high-budget films in Hollywood history".
The cook in the sushi restaurant is wearing an "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" t-shirt, which was another Lucasfilm production written by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz.
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Phoebe Cates auditioned for the role of Beverly that eventually went to Lea Thompson.
WILHELM SCREAM: Heard when Dr. Walter Jenning (while being the Dark Lord) sends the man through the window with his energy and the guy lands on a car.
The movie was filmed during November and December 1985 and January, February and March 1986. Second-unit photography for action scenes and stunt work continued during April 1986.
Jay Leno was up for the role of Phil Blumburtt.
Names of duck films on movie posters seen in the picture were "Splashdance" (title spoofing Flashdance (1983)) and "Breeders of the Lost Stork" (title parodying Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)).
The ultralight aircraft used in the movie was a Quicksilver MX.
Rob Paulsen and Townsend Coleman auditioned for the voice of Howard.
Film debut of Holly Robinson Peete.
A kid in the diner sequence is wearing a Return of the Jedi t-shirt.
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Although "space" rabies was a non-existent disease (Howard used to scare Beverly's management into paying her band), the real rabies virus can be transmitted by mammals and birds.
WILHELM SCREAM: When Howard knocks the duck hunter out of his boat and shouts "Banzai!"
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Podcaster and author 'Arnie Carvalho' owns one of the worlds largest private Howard the Duck collections with memorabilia, cast & crew items, and actual movie props, including the animatronic head used in the movie.
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The name of the all-girl band was "Cherry Bomb".
There is a poster in Howard's room for the movie, "My Little Chickadee", starring Mae Nest and W.C. Fowl.
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Much of John Barry's soundtrack for the film went unused, after producer Gloria Katz deemed it to be too old-fashioned and lacking in energy. Sylvester Levay was hired to rescore much of the film, including nearly the entire final third act.
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Howard's fatigue pants are printed with the so-called "duck hunter" camouflage pattern.
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One of only two films based on a Marvel Comic to win the Razzie Award for Worst Picture. The other being Fantastic Four (2015). Oddly, in both cases, it tied with another film for the award. Under the Cherry Moon (1986) was the film this tied with.
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When the film aired on the TV3 channel in New Zealand on 31st August 1997. During the sequence which Howard and Phil are chased by the police on their aircraft. A text appeared across the screen announcing that there was about to be an important newsflash and that Princess Diana had died. Princess Diana Spencer and her companion Dodi Fayed were killed in a tragic car accident in Paris, when the film aired on TV3.
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