By Dan Heching
September 01, 2017 at 04:22 PM EDT
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  • Movie

Labor Day Weekend, 1992: Six of the top 10 films at the box office were female-led or female-centric films — Single White Female, Death Becomes Her, A League of Their Own, Sister Act, Enchanted April, and the top film from the weekend, Honeymoon In Vegas, a nuptial comedy starring Sarah Jessica Parker.

Perhaps Hollywood, currently suffering from the most dismal box office returns in years, should take a page from the history books and add some more female-led fare in 2018 (especially after Wonder Woman proved so many naysayers wrong)? Here’s a look back at the Hollywood box office for the weekend of Sept. 4-7, 1992.


Directed by Andrew Bergman

Weekend gross (weeks in theaters): $9,170,428 (2)

Refresher: This comic love-triangle starring Nicolas Cage (who would take a much darker jaunt through Vegas three years later to win his Oscar), a pre-Sex and the City Sarah Jessica Parker, and James Caan as a crooked gambler was a funnier, lighter precursor to Indecent Proposal, which arrived in theaters the following year.

What we said then: “I really, really wanted to like Honeymoon in Vegas, the sweet-‘n’-zany new comedy about a guy, a gal, a gangster, and a planeload of skydiving Elvis impersonators. I mean, how could a movie featuring the Flying Elvises be anything less than…entertaining?” C+

Final gross: $35,208,854

Where to stream: iTunes


Directed by Clint Eastwood

Weekend gross (weeks in theaters): $6,352,892 (5)

Refresher: The film that would eventually clinch the Best Picture Oscar the following spring, Eastwood’s gritty Western masterpiece — along with Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves two years prior — ushered in a renaissance of the genre over the next few years, with varying results.

What we said then: “In Unforgiven, Eastwood is out to fashion a dark, revisionist update of his stoic macho persona. He wants us to gaze with awestruck ambivalence upon the quasi- sociopathic Eastwood loner, the steely enforcer who, somewhere within his clenched-teeth grimace, gets a charge out of killing.” B

Final gross: $101,157,447

Where to stream: HBO


Directed by Barbet Schroeder

Weekend gross (weeks in theaters): $5,137,325 (4)

Refresher: Back when the horrors of Craigslist still came through the newspaper’s classified section, this urban nightmare put Bridget Fonda on the map, and made us just a little bit frightened of Jennifer Jason Leigh. We also never looked at stilettos quite the same way, ever again.

What we said then: “The cat-and-mouse structure remains fun, and Schroeder, by letting the scenes play at a lifelike tempo, gives the actresses room to create detailed characters. This, I think, will turn out to be Jennifer Jason Leigh’s breakthrough performance, and not just because she has the showy, vengeful role. As Hedy, she offers the most convincing portrayal of a psychotic in recent films. Leigh isn’t just playing a cartoon schizoid. She makes Hedy seem emotionally wayward, out there, floating in some weird space between neediness and anger.” B

Final gross: $48,017,402

Where to stream: Crackle


Directed by Mary Lambert

Weekend gross (weeks in theaters): $3,851,969 (2)

Refresher: Just when you thought it was safe to go back to where you buried the hamster… This schlocky sequel was Edward Furlong’s first major vehicle after the blitz-like success of 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and it may have typecasted him — not until John Waters’ Pecker in 1998 (along with Tony Kaye’s American History X) did Furlong again turn heads.

Fun fact: Mary Lambert also directed Madonna’s historic music video for “Like a Prayer” in 1989.

Final gross: $17,092,453

Where to stream: iTunes, Google Play, Fandango, Vudu


Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Weekend gross (weeks in theaters): $3,194,135 (6)

Refresher: Depending on how you choose to look at it, Death Becomes Her is either from the zenith or the nadir of Meryl Streep’s storied career. Sure, this comedy didn’t earn her one of her 20 Oscar nominations, but it just might be the most fun Streep ever had on screen. Her chemistry with Goldie Hawn is electric, and the film’s camp factor has given it a well-deserved place in the cult pantheon.

What we said then: “Death Becomes Her, directed by the wizardly pop engineer Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit), has an original black-comic theme: It’s about the link between cosmetic surgery and rage—about the underlying connection between going under the knife to look young, beautiful, and ”perfect” and despising the wrinkled, aging specimen you’ve in fact become (not to mention anyone who looks better than you).” C+

Final gross: $58,422,650

Where to stream: Showtime


Directed by Penny Marshall

Weekend gross (weeks in theaters): $2,671,250 (10)

Refresher: This crowd-pleasing tale of the Rockford Peaches — part of the real-life all-female baseball league that was popular during WWII — combined historical drama, comedy, and the chick-flick into a major hit that became one of the most successful sports movies of all time. It also marked the beginning of Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell’s friendship, which lives on to this day.

What we said then: “It’s an odd movie, at once bubbly and amorphous, with plenty of mild laugh lines (the one bona fide hilarious scene is Hanks’ tirade about how ”There’s no crying in baseball!”) but virtually nothing you could call dialogue. League is easy to watch, but there’s no there there. Still, I won’t be surprised if it’s a hit.” C+

Final gross: $107,533,928

Where to stream: Starz


Directed by Emile Ardolino

Weekend gross (weeks in theaters): $2,485,730 (15)

Refresher: Looking back, the most accurate thing to say about this mega-hit is, “Who knew?” Certainly not Bette Midler, who famously said “no” to this madcap musical movie, conceived just for her. Whoopi, it turned out, laughed all the way to the bank, and then did a sequel. Sister Act continues to soar to this day, with stage adaptations popping up all over the globe.

What we said then: “Goldberg gets to drop a few tasty anticlerical barbs, but then she becomes the film’s comic anchor — in effect, the straight woman. She’s appointed choir leader, and she transforms a collection of largely ancient Carmelite sisters who haven’t carried a tune in 50 years into a soulful, rockin’ chorus. The first time they do one of their revved-up numbers, it’s sort of a joke — you know, the old lady at the piano flashes a mean look of pleasure and, as they used to say, gets down. But mostly we’re meant to cheer with enthusiasm. The movie is a nuns-are-people-too heart-warmer posing as an irreverent farce.” B-

Final gross: $139,605,150

Where to stream: HBO


Directed by Jon Turtletaub

Weekend gross (weeks in theaters): $1,878,444 (5)

Refresher: Long before the contemporary joys of the LEGO Ninjago Movie, this slightly silly crime-fighting kids flick ended up launching a mini-franchise, with three sequels to follow. It makes perfect sense, really: 3 Ninajs was what filled the void after the third Karate Kid installment came and went in 1989, plus everyone was in love with butt-kicking delinquent children thanks to a kid named Macaulay Culkin (Home Alone).

Final gross: $29,000,301

Where to stream: iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Playstation


Directed by Dwight H. Little

Weekend gross (weeks in theaters): $1,871,215 (3)

Refresher: The teaser trailer for this shoot-em-up, kick-em-up, punch-em-up action flick (watch below) reveals not one iota as to what it’s about, but it does exclaim, “Move over, Van Damme and Segal; Brandon Lee has arrived!” Tragically, Lee, son of kung fu action star Bruce Lee, died the following year on the set of his hallmark film, The Crow.

What we said then: “During the opening credits, we hear flutey, mysteries-of-the- Far-East music. It’s meant to distract us from the fact that the star, Brandon Lee-son of the late martial-arts legend Bruce Lee-doesn’t resemble his father so much as a smirking American Ken doll fresh out of Hollywood High.C-

Final gross: $14,356,479

Where to stream: Starz


Directed by Mike Newell

Weekend gross (weeks in theaters): $1,632,218 (6)

Refresher: The incredibly prolific Mike Newell has 80 directing credits that go back to 1964, when the Englishman was only 22 years of age, but it wasn’t until this prim and proper delight that he broke big: Enchanted April scored Joan Plowright her only Oscar nomination, and also awarded Plowright and Miranda Richardson a pair of Golden Globes.

What we said then: “Rose (Miranda Richardson) and Lotte (Josie Lawrence), two middle-class Londoners, take a vacation from their overbearing husbands by renting a majestic Italian villa. Joining them are Mrs. Fisher (Joan Plowright), a poker-faced dowager, and Lady Caroline (Polly Walker), a beautiful, upper-crust flapper. Before long, the women smile, relax, let their hair down. Enchanted April is perfectly pleasant, but it’s also second-rate-a tasteful spectacle of middlebrow feel-goodism.” B-

Final gross: $13,200,170

Where to stream: iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Playstation

A League of Their Own

  • Movie
  • PG
  • 128 minutes
  • Penny Marshall