The 90s were something of a renaissance for big budget creature features and disaster movies. When it comes to the former, few are as iconic as 1997’s Anaconda. It wasn’t exactly an Oscar movie, but it’s certainly gained a cult following over the years of fans who appreciate how campy it is. So in honor of its 25th anniversary, we thought it would be fun to look at 25 fun facts about Anaconda!
1. Prior to casting Jon Voight as Paul Serone, French actor Jean Reno (Leon: The Professional) was considered.
2. Peruvian born director Luis Llosa had previously directed several lower budget action films including Fire on the Amazon, Sniper, and Crime Zone. Following Anaconda, he only directed one more movie in 2005, The Feast of the Goat. Other than that, most of his credits are as a producer.
3. Initially Chris Farley was offered the role of Danny Rich, but was unable to take it due to scheduling conflicts with Beverly Hills Ninja. The role eventually went to Ice Cube.
4. Shot partially on location in Brazil, with the rest at a Botanical Garden in Los Angeles.
5. Many of the cast and crew were afraid of snakes, which proved challenging when shooting in the actual Amazon.
6. Shooting took place between May and August 1996, during a very hot summer in the rainforest.
7. Contrary to how its portrayed in the movie, the green anaconda doesn’t move very quickly or efficiently on land. It’s mostly a water-based animal.
8. They are also primarily nocturnal animals, despite most of the movie taking place during the day.
9. Two massive animatronic snakes were constructed for the movie: one which was 40 feet long and 5,000 pounds, the other 25 feet long and 1,500 pounds.
10. At one point, the animatronic spun out of control; some of the footage is still in the final movie.
11. Reportedly, the animatronic snake came very close to seriously injuring Jennifer Lopez.
12. Jon Voight claimed that he had a lot of fun playing a classical villain.
13. After filming wrapped, Jon Voight insisted on keeping the fake prop monkey that his character shot. To this day, he still has it but won’t reveal where he keeps it.
14. Every second of footage for the CGI snakes cost roughly $100,000 to create.
15. The studio decided they wanted to go with a PG-13 rating for mass appeal, thus they had to do ADR to replace several instances of characters saying “f**king” with “freaking”.
16. Despite real anacondas having rounded eyes, the decision was made to give them more slanted, gray eyes to look more like the shark from Jaws.
17. Famed voice actor Frank Welker is credited as the voice of the screeching and titular anaconda. His voiceover work includes Mars Attacks!, Mortal Kombat, the Transformers franchise and much more!
18. Opened at #1 at the box office with a $16 million opening weekend. It knocked Liar, Liar back to 2nd place after a 3 week streak at #1.
19. Despite its critical panning, it’s celebrated as a “so bad it’s good” movie and even spawned a slew of sequels, including a crossover with Lake Placid and an upcoming reboot that was announced in 2020.
20. One of the few critics who gave the movie a positive review, Roger Ebert gave it 3½ stars out of 4, calling it a “slick, scary, funny Creature Feature”.
21. Nominated for several Razzies including Worst Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Screen Couple (Jon Voight and the Anaconda) and New Star. However it failed to “win” any of these.
22. On a more positive note, it was also nominated for Best Horror Film and Best Actress (Jennifer Lopez) at the Saturn Awards. Unfortunately it lost to The Devil’s Advocate and Jodie Foster for Contact, respectively.
23. While the reviews were mostly negative, Anaconda was a decent box office hit, grossing $136.8 million on a $45 million budget.
24. The version of the movie shown on the SyFy channel has several scenes added back in.
25. Owen Wilson and Jennifer Lopez would reunite many years later in 2022’s Marry Me, and very different movie than Anaconda.
Which of these did you already know? Which ones surprised you? Let us know in the comments!