What Hollywood learned on its summer vacation for every smashup, there's a lesson to be studied. Here are 10 pointers from the class of '94

By EW Staff
Updated September 09, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

Life really is like a boxa choclits-so goes the Gumpian mantra sweeping Hollywood at the close of the summer-movie season. Four months ago, studio chiefs were bemoaning a gloomy spring, when the two biggest hits came from a TV comic (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective) and a foreign country (Four Weddings and a Funeral). But in May, moviegoers swarmed back to the cineplex. Even without a $300 million-plus hit like 1993’s Jurassic Park, the class of ’94 should top last summer’s record $2.1 billion take. Eight summer movies (yet another record) are expected to crack the still-magic $100 million mark, and The Lion King and Forrest Gump will end up as two of the 10 highest-grossers ever (see Winners and Losers on page 40). Of course, no summer would be complete without some catastrophes-we won’t see any more of Wyatt Earp for a while. Here’s what the 10 most important summer dazzlers and disasters taught Hollywood. 1. Forrest Gump Lesson: Forget the rules, stupid. The most unlikely blockbuster in years had a simpleton hero, no villains, and a meandering plot, but it oLife really is like a boxa choclits-so goes the Gumpian mantra sweeping Hollywood at the close of the summer-movie season. Four months ago, studio chiefs were bemoaning a gloomy spring, when the two biggest hits came from a TV comic (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective) and a foreign country (Four Weddings and a Funeral). But in May, moviegoers swarmed back to the cineplex. Even without a $300 million-plus hit like 1993’s Jurassic Park, the class of ’94 should top last summer’s record $2.1 billion take. Eight summer movies (yet another record) are expected to crack the still-magic $100 million mark, and The Lion King and Forrest Gump will end up as two of the 10 highest-grossers ever (see Winners and Losers on page 40). Of course, no summer would be complete without some catastrophes-we won’t see any more of Wyatt Earp for a while. Here’s what the 10 most important summer dazzlers and disasters taught Hollywood. 1. Forrest Gump Lesson: Forget the rules, stupid. The most unlikely blockbuster in years had a simpleton hero, no villains, and a meandering plot, but it oLife really is like a boxa choclits-so goes the Gumpian mantra sweeping Hollywood at the close of the summer-movie season. Four months ago, studio chiefs were bemoaning a gloomy spring, when the two biggest hits came from a TV comic (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective) and a foreign country (Four Weddings and a Funeral). But in May, moviegoers swarmed back to the cineplex. Even without a $300 million-plus hit like 1993’s Jurassic Park, the class of ’94 should top last summer’s record $2.1 billion take. Eight summer movies (yet another record) are expected to crack the still-magic $100 million mark, and The Lion King and Forrest Gump will end up as two of the 10 highest-grossers ever (see Winners and Losers on page 40). Of course, no summer would be complete without some catastrophes-we won’t see any more of Wyatt Earp for a while. Here’s what the 10 most important summer dazzlers and disasters taught Hollywood. 1. Forrest Gump Lesson: Forget the rules, stupid. The most unlikely blockbuster in years had a simpleton hero, no villains, and a meandering plot, but it outran all the formula films and became a surefire Oscar bet. Hollywood would love to make more films just like it-if anyone can figure out what ”it” is. Expect ”quirkier material,” predicts industry analyst Mike Mahern. But cloning Gump won’t be easy. After the success of 1955’s Marty, ”looking for simple stories cost the movie industry millions,” recalls producer Jack Brodsky (The Rookie). Universal chairman Tom Pollock insists you can’t ”rip off Forrest Gump. It’s sui generis.” But that won’t keep Hollywood from trying. Producer Dawn Steel is already describing her next movie, A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune, as a ”Forrest Gump for Generation X.”

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