According to Fugitive director Andrew Davis, the decline in adult-oriented crime dramas and thrillers predates the blockbuster frenzy of the last fifteen years.
Davis achieved a unique achievement with the film, which marked its 30th anniversary in August: it was a commercial and critical hit, earning seven Oscar nominations and one win for Tommy Lee Jones in the Best Supporting Actor category.
“It started with Jaws. When you could make a movie that could play all over the world and have all of these incredible box offices, studios wanted to invest in that home run all the time,” Davis tells The Hollywood Reporter. “But [WB co-chairmen] Bob Daly and Terry Semel said, ‘We’re happy hitting doubles.’”
The fact that Davis' picture only required ten weeks for postproduction adds to its already excellent quality. The minimal amount of time a filmmaker must have, by today's standards, before delivering their first director's cut is ten weeks. In the case of The Fugitive, the studio was eager to get shots of adults and teens before classes resumed.
“Barry Reardon, who was the head of distribution at Warner Bros., said, ‘Can you get this thing out by August 6th?’” Davis recalls. “There were six editors, but three main editors, and I would go from room to room. It was almost like a dentist’s office where I would check in on each patient … And everybody hated us afterwards, because, ‘Well, if The Fugitive did it in 10 weeks, why can’t you do it in 10 weeks?’ When we showed the film to the studio, they went, ‘Don’t touch a thing. We love it.’”
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