The movie was filmed in 13 weeks in the summer of 1992, in Pittsburgh. Its working title was "Three Rivers", and was scheduled to be released on May 21, 1993. But after the original cut was shown to a test audience that hated it, extensive re-shooting was done in Los Angeles. Story changes, and removal of some plot points, were done to try and and make the movie better. Because of this, release date was pushed from May to September 17th.
According to articles and reports at the time, reasons for why the test audience hated the initial cut of the film, were, confusing parts of the story, which were added into director Rowdy Herrington
's and Marty Kaplan
's original script by Bruce Willis
. One source mentioned how the original cut was like "Hudson Hawk
(1991) without the laughs." One of the veteran production members said that Willis "called the shots like he did on (Hudson) Hawk, and like he used to do on Moonlighting
(1985). He had scenes rewritten. He did what he wanted to do. We were working with Orson Willis."
When news about re-shoots were reported, Columbia chairman Mark Canton
went and said in interview that he "couldn't be more enthusiastic" about the film and how he predicted it's going to be a "beyond-sizable hit." But in order to do so, the movie had to make thirty million dollars plus turn a profit at the box-office. Canton was also known for being heavily involved in several other films in earlier years which were known for having very troubled productions and receiving bad receptions from audience during test screenings, some of them include Wes Craven
's sci-fi horror Deadly Friend
(1986), one of Willis's earlier box-office flops The Bonfire of the Vanities
(1990), and John McTiernan
's Last Action Hero
(1993). Just like he did with this film, Canton also kept the news and rumors about problems on the sets of those films and bad responses from test audiences, from the public and demanded heavy changes to be done on the films, which only ended up hurting the films and studios more.
In this case, for example, all the love/intimate scenes between Hardy and Jo were re-shot to make them sexier. Several dialogue scenes, like the scene in the bar between Hardy and Detillo, were also cut to make the film quicker paced. The change in tone of the film also made Columbia change the title from "Three Rivers" to "Striking Distance", as it now focused more on the action/thriller elements. Although it was his interference in the script and huge ego during filming that were the cause of problems with the production and the original cut, Bruce Willis was still very angry because he had to return for re-shoots, so much so that he blamed Herrington for it, despite the fact that Herrington still defended Willis, in interviews, regarding the problems with the film. According to the cast and crew, Willis treated Herrington very badly during both initial filming and re-shoots.
Striking Distance ended up being a box-office failure, earning only 24 million dollars on the budget of thirty million dollars. See more
The search for the Polish Hill Strangler continues in the wake of the discovery of yet a fourth victim early this morning.
LIL' RED RIDING HOOD
Written by Ronald Blackwell
Performed by Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Markets See more