Howard the Duck (1986) Poster


Paula Abdul, Kim Basinger, Jodi Benson, Sarah Jessica Parker and Lori Singer were all considered for the role of Beverly.
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.
The first feature film based on a Marvel comic.
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.
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.
A clip of this movie is on "The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made" DVD Region 1 NTSC.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rob Paulsen and Townsend Coleman auditioned for the voice of Howard.
According to Halliwells, the picture was "toned down from an adult comic strip".
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.
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 since its first release has garnered "a huge cult following" according to the film's DVD sleeve notes.
Popular vocalist Tori Amos auditioned for the part of Beverly Switzler, eventually played by Lea Thompson.
In a 1986 interview in "Star Hits" magazine, singer Belinda Carlisle stated that she auditioned for a role in the film.
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.
Phoebe Cates auditioned for the role of Beverly that eventually went to Lea Thompson.
Second consecutive financial failure for director Willard Huyck whose previous film Best Defense (1984) was also a box-office flop.
Jay Leno was up for the role of Phil Blumburtt.
Final theatrical feature film directed by Willard Huyck.
John Cusack and Martin Short auditioned for the voice of Howard.
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 The Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)).
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."
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.
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

Although "space" rabies was a non-existent disease (Howard used to scare Beverly's management into paying her band), the real rabies virus can only be transmitted by mammals, not birds.
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.
Howard landed on Earth on 8 September. It was on that date in 1966 that Star Trek (1966) premiered on NBC.
According to the DVD sleeve notes, the picture is "one of the most controversial high-budget films in Hollywood history".
The ultralight aircraft used in the movie was a Quicksilver MX.
WILHELM SCREAM: When Howard knocks the duck hunter out of his boat and shouts "Banzai!"
The name of the all-girl band was "Cherry Bomb".
Film debut of Holly Robinson Peete.
The movie won Worst Picture at the Hastings Bad Cinema Society's 9th Stinkers Bad Movie Awards in 1986.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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