Future '30 Rock' star played titular vigilante in 1994 box office disappointment

While the second half of this sentence may come as a surprise to younger readers, there was a time when it was believed Alec Baldwin was someone capable of fronting a big-screen superhero franchise. True, that belief was mistaken, as the lukewarm box office reception which greeted 1994’s Baldwin-starring The Shadow, in which the future SNL regular plays the titular crime-fighter, ultimately proved. But the film still has its champions, including writer-producer Michael Schlesinger, who ruminates about the movie in the latest commentary to be released by Trailers From Hell, the website overseen by Gremlins auteur Joe Dante.

“Way back in 1994, I attended an early screening of The Shadow,” Schlesinger says. “It knocked my socks off, as they said back then, and I famously predicted it would be the Raiders of the Lost Ark of the ’90s. Not one of my better predictions, I’m afraid, although it did find an audience on video, enough so that Universal actually contemplated a direct-to-video sequel, though that didn’t happen either. It wasn’t a flop, but it didn’t do what it was expected to do, especially given that it was a big fourth of July release that was expected to kick off a Raiders-like franchise complete with merchandise. Perhaps one of the things I most admired about it, its absolute fidelity to the 1930s, is what hurt it, especially as younger audiences were expanding their dominance at the box office and they were losing interest in period films, especially when they were still lining up for The Lion King.”

Watch Schlesinger’s full commentary above.