Hollywood & Entertainment Heading ‘Back To The Beach’ As The Remastered Eclectic Gem Hits 35 And Arrives On Blu-Ray Simon Thompson Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Simon is a producer (TV & Digital) and film & entertainment journalist New! Follow this author to stay notified about their latest stories. Got it! Aug 9, 2022, 07:45pm EDT | New! Click on the conversation bubble to join the conversation Got it! Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Linkedin Annette Funicello and Fishbone do the Jamaica Ska in an iconic scene from 'Back to the Beach.
' Paramount Pictures Director Lyndall Hobbs' cult classic musical comedy Back to the Beach is finally getting the respect it deserves as it turns 35. A warm-hearted parody of the beach movies of the 1960s starred icons of the genre Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello alongside an eclectic cast of co-stars and cameos, including Dick Dale, Pee-Wee Herman, Dan Adams, Bob Denver, and the band Fishbone. The pop culture time capsule was not appreciated or widely seen when it landed in theaters in 1987 and grossed $13.
11 million against its $12 million budget. Now Back to the Beach is being released on Blu-ray as part of the Paramount PARA Presents series and includes never-before-seen home movies from the set. I caught up with Hobbs to chat about the film that the studio all but abandoned at the time, the reality of filming on remote beaches in the winter, and her plans for a long overdue sequel or TV spin-off.
Simon Thompson: I've been waiting to talk to somebody about Back to the Beach for decades. It's a movie that I consistently recommend to people. They either know and love it, or they have no idea what I'm talking about and think I'm making it up.
How do you feel about the status it has achieved? Lyndall Hobbs: Well, I'm thrilled, but there's a tinge of bitterness because it was not a hit then. Paramount did not support it or push it out. The studio was not behind it at all, despite all the promises, and they dumped it.
I was disappointed, and a bit hurt. There was a press blackout, so there were no press screenings, but Siskel and Ebert snuck in to see it. It was incredibly disappointing, and my career completely stalled.
As a female, you're pretty much gone if you don't have a hit. It's lovely to know that people have appreciated it over the years, watched it relentlessly, and raved about it. It's bittersweet for me, but when I saw it nine months ago, I was like, 'Oh, my God, I get it.
This is fun. It has held up, and it's witty, it's good, it's colorful, it's got fantastic music. ' It's a feel-good movie with a hip, fun spirit that's lasted these however frickin' many years it is, and one can only be proud of it.
We didn't get to do the next film that we had talked about doing, and, of course, Annette Funicello became very ill. MORE FOR YOU ‘Dune’ Tops Foreign Box Office With Promising $77M Cume ‘Shang-Chi’ Box Office: Marvel Movie Tops $360M Worldwide 4 Series Coming To Netflix In October That Are Worth The Binge Thompson: But here we are celebrating it all these years later with this Paramount Presents release as a cult classic. Hobbs: I think it deserves its cult status.
A fantastic bunch of people came together; everybody we asked agreed to do it, so we got all the cameos we wanted, like Pee-Wee Herman, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Fishbone, who I adored. At the time, the producers were like, 'Fishbone? What? Who?' but they went along with it. It turned it into a musical, but five or six weeks before we started shooting, it only had a few musical elements.
They said, 'Well, we're not giving you any more time or budget,' so I was like, 'That's fine. We can pull it off. ' Along the way, they kept saying cut this or cut that scene, cut the Fishbone scene, but we didn't, and I'm glad about that.
Thompson: There aren't many clips from Back to the Beach online, but that scene with Fishbone doing Jamaica Ska is there. It's just one of the notable cameos in the film, some of which you have mentioned. How difficult was it to get everyone together? Hobbs: Our wish list basically came true.
Out of everybody, Fishbone were the ones who were like, 'What? You want us?' They were bemused by the whole concept, but they went along with it, thank God. I remember when we shot the scene, they said, 'Wait. What are we doing? Are you sure?' It all worked, though, and they totally got into it.
They were adorable and a lot of fun. They were as cool as it gets. Of course, Dick Dale was going to do it, but Stevie Ray Vaughan was a bit of a coup, although everyone read the script, which was witty and fun, and thought, 'Why not?' I was also charming and fabulous, so I obviously managed to talk a few people into it, but it didn't take much persuading.
There was such a good vibe going on that people wanted to be there. Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello in 'Back to the Beach. ' Paramount Pictures Thompson: Everybody knew who Frankie and Annette were because they were such icons.
Did they have much of a clue who some of these people were? Hobbs: Certainly not Fishbone but people like Pee-Wee Herman, absolutely. Frankie and Annette were so beloved. I shouldn't take any credit because people wanted to work with those guys, so getting them all mingling wasn't a massive task.
The enormous task was pulling it off in his very short amount of time, on the beach in the middle of winter when it was freezing cold. There were no cell phones or things like that. I remember at one point, I did have to speak to somebody back at Paramount, and they brought me out this massive box which was one of the first cell phones ever.
A couple of times, we got two cameras, but not that often, so it was a miraculous feat that we didn't need any extra days. Thompson: What was your reaction when you heard that Back to the Beach was pulled out of the archives? Were you a little surprised? Hobbs: I'm going to sound a little obnoxious now, but no, I wasn't surprised because, over the years, so many people have said, 'Oh my God, this is pretty much one of my favorite films ever. ' These are pretty grand and really highfalutin people.
You could call them cinephiles. Vanity Fair did a piece on Back to the Beach a few years ago, which was very nice. That's the best feeling ever.
Back to the Beach is such a silly concoction of madness, so I wasn't shocked. I was pleased, and I was thrilled. I was also like, 'Okay, but what has happened to my sequel? And what about the TV series that we could be doing now?' It's just a shame that it didn't help my career one little bit.
When I was trying to get other films, people in the business, like agents and producers, didn't take the movie seriously. Perhaps in this day and age, they might go, 'Wow, you pulled that off in the little time you had?' I mean, we only had 24 shooting days. As a female in the business, I felt women were underappreciated.
A couple of years ago, they were doing a whole film festival in Rockaway where they wanted to honor it. Many people have reached out over the years, telling me how much they loved it, but I almost didn't take anyone seriously. Now I do because people genuinely have a soft spot for this film.
Thompson: You touched on there having been a plan for a sequel, and you had an idea for a TV show. If you were given a chance to continue this in a new way, would you do it? Have you ever thought of doing a stage musical revival of Back to the Beach ? Hobbs: I thought of the TV show a few years back, not that long ago, where Frankie's now a grandfather, and he's running the club, and there there are kids and grandkids, but I haven't pitched it to anybody. I mentioned it when I was doing the little press kit thing for this, but I don't think anybody at Paramount heard me.
I don't think anybody's taking it seriously. After all, we've been through and continue to go through in this world and America. I think we all need some light relief, so I would love to be involved if it came up.
There's no question about it. I've just written eight episodes of a rather serious thing called Devil Baby about fentanyl and meth use amongst kids in LA, which is compelling, but on the lighter side, I would absolutely love to do a Back to the Beach TV series. I think it's the right moment, and Frankie's still fit as ever, and in great shape, so we shall see.
You never know what could happen, and I'm thrilled Paramount is doing this now. Fingers crossed that it could still lead to something. Let's put it out there.
Back to the Beach is available on a newly remastered Blu-ray from Tuesday, August 9, 2022. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn . Check out my website .
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