The 80s was filled with slasher movies, awesome music, cool gadgets, video stores, and of course, tiny little critters capable of unimaginable destruction.
Gremlins was a runaway hit in 1984, and remains the 4th highest grossing movie of that year. So its 1990 sequel was pretty much inevitable.
However, the sequel we got was an incredibly different movie in terms of tone and style. So, in honor of its release 30 years ago today, we thought it would be fun to look at 30 Fun Facts about Gremlins 2: The New Batch!
1. There were many ideas floated around by Warner Brothers for a Gremlins These included the Gremlins running loose in places like Las Vegas or even Mars. Ultimately, Joe Dante agreed to direct the sequel on the sole condition that he be allowed to do whatever he wanted.
2. Chris Columbus was unavailable to write the screenplay as he had done for the first because he was busy directing Home Alone. So screenwriter Charlie Haas was hired at the suggestion of Jonathan Kaplan.
3. It was Haas’ idea to have the story moved to NYC where the Gremlins run amok in a skyscraper.
4. The aerial shot of NYC which opens the film was actually stock footage from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, which had been released 3 years earlier.
5. Animator Chuck Jones came out of retirement at the request of Joe Dante to direct the Looney Tunes opening of the film.
6. Sylvester Stallone himself gave permission for Gizmo to dress like Rambo, and for footage from the movie to be shown when he’s watching it.
7. The “hold until the end of the world” video is actually a real thing that some networks have, just in case. John Oliver even recorded one starring Martin Sheen for his HBO show Last Week Tonight.
8. Tim Curry auditioned for the voice of “Brain Gremlin”, though the role ultimately went to veteran actor Tony Randall.
9. The “clones” Martin and Lewis were portrayed by real life identical twins Don and Dan Stanton. They also appeared in Terminator 2.
10. In the Times Square scene, a billboard of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing is visible, as this was a new release when Gremlins 2 was being filmed.
11. Real estate mogul Daniel Clamp was not so subtly based on Donald Trump (or at least his 1980’s public persona), along with a bit of Ted Turner thrown in there too.
12. Originally Clamp was supposed to be the villain, but it was then decided that Robert Picardo and Christopher Lee would take up that mantle.
13. Lee himself, who was famous for playing Dracula wanted to play the role more lighthearted, but Joe Dante insisted he portray it in a sinister fashion given his on screen persona.
14. When filming the scene with the amorous female Gremlin, actor Robert Picardo was controlling it rather than the puppeteers, because it was so up close to him.
15. The scene with the mother barging out of the theater with her daughter and complaining about the movie being inappropriate was actually based on a real occurrence when the first one was released.
16. Robert Prosky’s character Grandpa Fred was heavily based on Al Lewis’ Grandpa Munster from the iconic 60’s TV show.
17. During the theater scene, Steven Spielberg was originally supposed to have a self-cameo as well, before they called Hulk Hogan to solve the problem.
18. The exteriors of Clamp Tower was the iconic 101 Park Avenue in Manhattan. It was also a filming location for other movies such as The Fisher King, Isn’t it Romantic, and Brewster’s Millions.
19. In many ways, Gremlins 2 is a parody of the original. In a satire of her dramatically depressing Santa speech, Kate (Phoebe Cates) begins to tell a sad story about why Lincoln’s birthday is traumatic for her, but she’s quickly cut off by Billy (Zach Galligan), who tells her they don’t have time.
20. Keye Luke (Mr. Wing) was 85 years old when filming took place, and he would sadly only appear in one more movie (Woody Allen’s Alice) later in 1990 before his death in January of 1991.
21. Upon hearing that his character would die, Luke reportedly told Joe Dante, “Remember, when you make Gremlins 3, I’m a flashback!”
22. Gremlins 2 marked the 9th collaboration between character actor Dick Miller and director Joe Dante. Miller would eventually appear in 16 of Dante’s films, with the last one being Burying the Ex in 2014. Miller passed away in 2019 at the age of 90.
23. Originally Hoyt Axton was planned to return as Billy’s dad in a scene at the very end, where he would have demonstrated a water-proof suit to keep Gizmo from ever getting wet. However, it was felt that the movie was already a bit too long, so it was never filmed.
24. After appearing in the movie itself, poking fun at himself, Leonard Maltin’s actual review included a line about a “gratuitous cameo”.
25. For its VHS release, the 4th wall breaking scene was change from the Gremlins destroying the film to them destroying the VCR. However, in the DVD and Blu-ray releases, it was changed back to its theatrical version.
26. To this day, director Joe Dante actually likes this movie better than the original Gremlins.
27. According to Joe Dante, Warner Brothers intentionally released this movie the same weekend as Touchstone’s, Dick Tracy so that it would have steep competition, as they didn’t want their Batman box office record broken, which had been set a year earlier.
28. Gremlins 2 only grossed $41.5 million (against a $50 million budget), while the original grossed $212.9 million (against a mere $11 million budget).
29. There was something of a divide between critics and fans over which movie was better. Many critics disliked how dark Gremlins was, but loved the self-aware satirical tone of the sequel. And many fans who went into this one expecting it to be just as dark were disappointed.
30. There has been talk of another sequel or a reboot. As recently as 2017, Chris Columbus (screenwriter of the first movie) discussed his incredibly dark script for it.
Which ones did you know already? Which ones surprised you? Let us know in the comments!
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