Show-business trade paper 'Variety' stated that "the 'Steve Martin' character, who whines, 'Nobody in this town will admit that a producer is an artist,' is a wicked caricature of action pic maker 'Joel Silver'".
The customized license plate on movie producer Davis (Steve Martin)' car read "GRSS PTS" meaning "gross points", a film industry term relating to how much percentage of the total box office an individual can earn.
Two movie posters for Lawrence Kasdan's picture Grand Canyon (1991), which was made and released about eight years after his earlier film The Big Chill (1983), boasted two taglines that referenced that movie: (1) "From the director of 'The Big Chill'. A story of friendship and other natural wonders" and (2) "In the 1980's, director Lawrence Kasdan brought you 'The Big Chill'. Welcome to the 90's". Both pictures featured actor 'Kevin Kline' and both were Oscar nominated for Best Original Screenplay. The voice-over in the main trailer for Grand Canyon (1991) states the picture is "From Lawrence Kasdan, creator of The Big Chill (1983).
In this film, Patrick Malone's character is a good kid who gets confused as a robber while in The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) he played a robber who gets hailed by society as being a good kid. At the time of its release, many film reviewers compared both movies in terms of using similar plot elements (white guy makes the wrong turn and faces a dangerous situation on a black neighborhood).