The movie's closing credits dedication states: "The film is dedicated to the memory of Steve Gordon". Gordon wrote and directed the original Arthur (1981) and sadly passed away soon after in 1982, which was only about eighteen months after Arthur (1981) had debuted. Arthur (1981) was the only ever theatrical feature film directed by Gordon.
Preparing stage plans for the studio sets to be built on the Warner Brothers' Burbank lot, Gene Callahan and his art Director Hub Braden designed preliminary set plans with elevations of all the proposed stage sets. Viewing the original film on video, the original upstairs bedroom set was copied, rebuilt for the second film edition. The original film's set designs incorporated levels, with entrance doors requiring a door-step landing, to step down into the set, similar to a theatrical stage set plan. This step element was changed in this set by eliminating the step up hallway platform. Paper doll miniature sets were mounted and presented for discussion and final approvals by the director. Set Designers were then staffed with the commencement of drawing plans and elevations. All the New York sets were actual locations with no studio built scenery. Minor modifications and set dressing were added to all the interior and exterior location sights in New York. The Yaught interior was a Burbank stage set. The ship's interior lounge finish was a Phillipine Mahogany wood skin veneer finish. After the skin veneer was applied to the walls, after an over night stage closure, the veneer wrinkled due to the frigid stage temperature. When he stage was scheduled for filming the set, the stage heaters had to be continuously maintained to prevent the veneer from wrinkling.
The character of Susan Johnson was not played by Jill Eikenberry who had portrayed the character in the original Arthur (1981). This was because Eikenberry was at the time unavailable due to being contracted to the NBC legal drama series L.A. Law (1986) playing Ann Kelsey. The part of Susan Johnson instead in this movie sequel was played by Cynthia Sikes.
The film's subtitle "On the Rocks" is a double entendre reference to both the way spirits can be drunk with ice (Arthur in the first film was a heavy drinker / alcoholic) and the ill-state of the marriage between Arthur and Linda.
The movie got Razzie nominated for Worst Actress - Liza Minnelli for her work in both this movie and Rent-a-Cop (1987) with Minelli actually winning the Worst Actress Golden Raspberry Award for both films.
This 1988 movie was made and released about seven years after 1981's original Arthur (1981) yet in the storyline of this sequel it is stated that it is five years since Hobson died and six years since Arthur dumped Susan Johnson at the altar.
Actor Dudley Moore is seen playing the piano in this picture. In real life, Moore was also a real-life pianist and lover of the piano. On movie sets, Moore would often entertain the crew playing the piano between breaks in filming.
The basement New York clinic set was one of the first completed stage sets; excepting this set's revisions had repeated major modifications. Compared to a TV budgeted set, the clinic set should have cost $16,000.00. Every time the director and production designer would fly into Los Angeles, from their New York filming schedule, to survey the progress of their stage sets under construction, the director would order character wall treatments added to the clinic set. The lower bottom vertical set walls were extended forward, with bulging wood ribs skinned with chicken wire, stuffed with newspapers, then finished in a plaster skim coat. With each of their round trip-visits, the walls were repeatedly added with more bulging layers. Their theory, such a NY building would have had the upper floors weight, forcing the sinking of the lower basement walls, causing the sag! The final cost of this small typical film (TV) office stage set, instead, skyrocketed as a film mega wonder for a final cost of $250,000.00! A money power struggle had developed between the studio and the production company with this as an example of "I'll show you how much we can spend!"
Dudley Moore received an 'Executive Producer' credit. This is the only ever major theatrical feature film where Moore was credited in a producing capacity. Moore did have an executive producing billing for 1979's Derek and Clive Get the Horn (1979) but that production, filmed and intended for cinema release, went straight to video due to censorship classification problems.
The scene (When Arthur asks Fairchild, to put on one of his wife's dressing gowns) when Arthur goes, "C'Mon Fairchild, I know you want too!", you can hear the camera men laughing when Dudley Moore's character is being jokingly serious in getting Fairchild into bed. (If you have head phones on)
Liza Minnelli reprized her role as Linda Bach, formerly Linda Marolla in the original Arthur (1981), a character who had a similar first name to her own. Moreover, both Marolla and Minelli are Italian surnames, and both Minelli's character's maiden name and her real life name, had first and last names which share the same L.M. initials.
The movie, featuring actress Kathy Bates in a supporting role, debuted about a couple of years before Bate's Best Actress Oscar lead part in Misery (1990). This sequel was one of Bate's last few parts prior to her breakthrough film role in that movie.