Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

"Lethal" Injection

Posted on

Richard Donner, the director of “Lethal Weapon 4,” has already suffered through opening-weekend jitters three times with his 11-year-old “Lethal” franchise. Still, it doesn’t get any easier. “It’s terribly nerve-racking,” Donner told EW Online. “The film is almost a year of your life’s work, the studio trusted you with a lot of money, and the actors and crew are depending on it being good. It’s your ego on the line, and you want it to be a success. I get out of town before a film opens, and I carry three pairs of pants with me.”

Happily for Donner, “Lethal 4” topped the weekend box office with a $34.4 million take, the biggest opening ever for a “Lethal” installment. Still, the film will be closely scrutinized in the coming weeks to see if it continues to surpass its brethren. The first installment earned a healthy $65 million in 1987, the second took in $147 million in 1989, and the third grossed $144 million in 1992. “Lethal 4” needs to make good on its large budget, which has been estimated at $150 million. (Warner Bros., however, maintains that the studio spent less than $100 million.)

Adding to the pressure, Warner Bros. has a poor recent track record with high-priced blockbusters — namely, “The Postman,” “Sphere,” and “Batman & Robin.” “Every studio has its ups and downs,” says Donner, 67. “Warner has been on top for so many years, they’re getting their moment of comeuppance, I guess. As a director, there’s so much pressure when you make a movie, you really don’t have time to think about anything but your film and your moment.”