|Directed by||Richard T. Heffron|
|Edited by||James Mitchell|
|Music by||Fred Karlin|
The Aubrey Company
|Distributed by||American International Pictures|
|Box office||$4.2 million (US/Canada theatrical rentals)|
Futureworld is a 1976 American science fiction thriller film directed by Richard T. Heffron and written by Mayo Simon and George Schenck. It is a sequel to the 1973 Michael Crichton film Westworld , and is the second installment in the Westworld franchise. The film stars Peter Fonda, Blythe Danner, Arthur Hill, Stuart Margolin, John Ryan, and Yul Brynner, who makes an appearance in a dream sequence. No other cast member from the original film appears. Westworld's writer-director, Michael Crichton, and the original studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, were not involved in this production.
The film attempted to take the plot in a different direction from Westworld, but it was not well received by critics. It was made by American International Pictures (its predecessor was made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which later bought AIP's successor Orion Pictures). A short-lived television series titled Beyond Westworld followed.
In 1985, two years after the Westworld tragedy, the Delos Corporation owners have reopened the park after spending $1.5 billion in safety improvements, and also shutting down Westworld. For publicity purposes, newspaper reporter Chuck Browning and TV reporter Tracy Ballard are invited to review the park.
Just before the junket is announced, Browning arranges to meet with a Delos employee who promises he has dirt on the corporation. During the meeting, the tipster is shot in the back and dies after giving Browning an envelope.
At the resort, guests choose from four theme parks: Spaworld ("where old age and pain have been eliminated"), Medievalworld, Romanworld and Futureworld. Browning and Ballard choose Futureworld, which simulates an orbiting space station. Robots are available for sex as well as amusements like boxing. They are guided through the resort by Dr. Duffy, who shows them the marvels of Delos, demonstrating that all the problems have been fixed.
The reporters are stunned to find that the Control Center is staffed entirely by robots. That night, their dinners are drugged, and while they sleep, medical tests are conducted so Delos can make clones of them. A visiting Russian general and a Japanese politician are also tested for cloning. Back in her room a few hours later, Ballard wakes in a fright, remembering the experience as a nightmare.
Ballard and Browning sneak out to explore the resort's underground areas. They end up triggering a cloning machine, which generates three samurai. Just as they are about to be captured by the samurai, a mechanic named Harry saves them. He takes them back to his quarters, where he cohabits with a mechanic robot he has named Clark after Superman's alter-ego. The reporters interview Harry, but they are interrupted and returned to their rooms.
The following day, while Ballard is testing out a Delos dream-recording device (which includes a dream sequence of being saved by, dancing with and making love to Yul Brynner's Gunslinger), Browning slips out to see Harry. Harry takes him to a locked door that he has never been able to enter, although robots routinely enter. Realizing the key is in the robot's eyes, Harry destroys a robot and steals its face. They return with Ballard and open the door. Inside, they find clones of themselves, as well as clones of the Russian and Japanese leaders. The clones are instructed always to work for the good of Delos and to destroy their originals. Browning explains that his tipster's envelope was filled with clippings about leaders from around the world, realizing that Delos must be cloning the rich and powerful.
The trio decides to flee the resort on the next plane. The reporters return to their apartment where Duffy is waiting for them; he explains that, by cloning world leaders, they can ensure that nothing harms Delos' interests, and that without "proper" guidance, humans will eventually destroy the planet.
Cloning the reporters would ensure favorable coverage, letting people forget about the Westworld tragedy. Browning attacks Duffy but is easily overpowered with unnatural strength. Ballard shoots the doctor twice, and Browning peels back Duffy's face to reveal that he is a robot. As Harry races to meet up with the reporters, he runs into Browning's clone, who kills him. Ballard and Browning are then chased by their own duplicates, all the while taunting them with details about their lives. Eventually, one of each pair is killed, though which one is left unclear. When they find each other, Browning seizes and kisses Ballard.
In the end, as they leave the resort with the other guests, Dr. Schneider meets them to make sure they are the clones. The reporters confirm that they will be writing positive reviews for Delos, but, just as they reach the exit, Ballard's badly injured clone stumbles towards him and Schneider realizes too late that he has been fooled. On the jetway, Browning tells Ballard that his editor is running the exposé on Delos, that the whole world will know what they are up to, and that kissing her was his idea to figure out whether or not she was a duplicate.
The film was developed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which had produced Westworld. Michael Crichton did not wish to be involved in a sequel, so they approached the original producer Paul Lazarus III. He developed an idea set in a successor world to Westworld where robots are cloning world leaders. He found a writer and developed a script; MGM decided to only make one science fiction film that year, Logan's Run . Futureworld was put into turnaround. Lazarus had trouble finding production and distribution for the film elsewhere, because other studios were confused and wary after MGM passed on it, especially since the original film had been a financial success for MGM.Lazarus was approached by former MGM president James T. Aubrey who said he could get the film made. He arranged financing from Samuel Z. Arkoff's American International Pictures.
Futureworld was the first major feature film to use 3D computer-generated imagery (CGI).[ citation needed ] CGI was used for an animated hand and face. The animated hand was a digitized version of Edwin Catmull's left hand, taken from his 1972 experimental short subject A Computer Animated Hand . The animated face was taken from Fred Parke's 1974 experimental short subject Faces & Body Parts.
The film also used the 2D technique of digital compositing to materialize characters over the background. Futureworld utilized the "Logan apartment set" from Logan's Run and redressed it to be the Futureworld bar.
Much of the film was shot in the greater Houston area,including Intercontinental Airport, Jones Hall, and the Johnson Space Center. The film includes a chase scene through the underground pedestrian Houston tunnel system running under the city.
Lazarus admits the film "wasn't a very good picture" but put its poor commercial performance down to the fact that AIP was focusing on its prestige film A Matter of Time (1976).
In 1979, Futureworld became the first modern American film to achieve general theatrical release in China.
Richard Eder panned the film in The New York Times , quoting Ballard's line from the movie, "This is about as exciting as a visit to the water works." Coining his own variation on the phrase, Eder also claimed the film is "as much fun as running barefoot on Astroturf." He added, "It is all the most ordinary kind of hardware science fiction, full of computers and empty of thought." Writing that Danner and Fonda have "absolutely nothing to do" in the film, he concluded that "starring in Futureworld must be the actor's equivalent of going on welfare."Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two stars out of four and criticized the "dumb story," although he did think it had "some of the best gadgets since the early James Bond pictures ... Too bad 'Futureworld' didn't dream up more of these gizmos."
Arthur D. Murphy of Variety wrote, "'Futureworld' shapes up a strong sequel to MGM's 'Westworld' of three years ago ... Richard T. Heffron, on his second feature directing work, keeps the personal drama moving smartly through the gadgetry montages."Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called the film "an extreme rarity, a sequel that's a decided improvement over the original." Gary Arnold of The Washington Post wrote, "Unlike 'Westworld' there's nothing shrewd or compelling behind the events in 'Futureworld,' where the big mystery is just an old wheeze—the managers of the park are power-hungry scientists who clone influential guests and order the clones to dispose of the originals." John Pym of The Monthly Film Bulletin expressed disappointment that the scriptwriters neglected to explore the interesting implications of self-programming robots and instead "seem content to do little more than lead the players through the standard diversions of a caper movie."
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 36% based on eleven reviews, with an average grade of 4.7 out of 10.
For its initial television broadcast, an alternative version of the scene where Browning gives the finger to Dr. Schneider was shot. Instead, he performs a bras d'honneur.
As of 2011 [update] , Futureworld was released on VHS, CED and LaserDisc in the United States and on DVD from MGM in December 2010, as well as being released in a number of foreign territories in the DVD format. On December 2, 2011, Futureworld was released in Germany on Blu-ray (German and English audio tracks). The digital release is in the widescreen format.
Shout! Factory released Futureworld on Blu-ray on March 26, 2013.
The film is also available to stream through multiple providers.
Blythe Katherine Danner is an American actress. She is the recipient of several accolades, including two Primetime Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Izzy Huffstodt on Huff (2004–2006), and a Tony Award for Best Actress for her performance in Butterflies Are Free on Broadway (1969–1972). Danner was twice nominated for the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for portraying Marilyn Truman on Will & Grace, and the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for her roles in We Were the Mulvaneys (2002) and Back When We Were Grownups (2004). For the latter, she also received a Golden Globe Award nomination.
The Magnificent Seven is a 1960 American Western film directed by John Sturges from a screenplay by William Roberts. An Old West–style remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai, it stars an ensemble cast led by Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn, and Horst Buchholz. Brynner, McQueen, Bronson, Vaughn, Dexter, Coburn, and Buchholz portray the title characters, a group of seven gunfighters hired to protect a small village in Mexico from a group of marauding bandits.
Yuliy Borisovich Briner, better known as Yul Brynner, was a Russian-American actor, singer, and director, best known for his portrayal of King Mongkut in the Rodgers and Hammerstein stage musical The King and I, for which he won two Tony Awards, and later an Academy Award for Best Actor for the film adaptation. He played the role 4,625 times on stage and became known for his shaved head, which he maintained as a personal trademark long after adopting it for The King and I. Considered one of the first Russian-American film stars, he was honored with a ceremony to put his handprints in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood in 1956, and also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.
Westworld is a 1973 American science-fiction Western thriller film written and directed by Michael Crichton. Its plot concerns amusement park androids that malfunction and begin killing visitors. It stars Yul Brynner as an android in a futuristic Western-themed amusement park, and Richard Benjamin and James Brolin as guests of the park.
From the Earth to the Moon is a 12-part 1998 HBO television miniseries co-produced by Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Tom Hanks, and Michael Bostick telling the story of the Apollo program during the 1960s and early 1970s in docudrama format. Largely based on Andrew Chaikin's 1994 book, A Man on the Moon, the series is known for its accurate telling of the story of Apollo and the special effects under visual director Ernest D. Farino.
Catlow is a 1971 Western film, based on a 1963 novel of the same name by Louis L'Amour. It stars Yul Brynner as a renegade outlaw determined to pull off a Confederate gold heist. It co-stars Richard Crenna and Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy mentioned this film in both of his autobiographies because it gave him a chance to break away from his role as Spock on Star Trek. He mentioned that the time he made the film was one of the happiest of his life, even though his part was rather brief. The film contains a lot of tongue-in-cheek and sardonic humor, especially between Brynner and Crenna's characters.
The Brothers Karamazov is a 1958 film made by MGM, based on Fyodor Dostoevsky's 1880 novel The Brothers Karamazov. It was directed by Richard Brooks and produced by Pandro S. Berman. The screenplay was by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Richard Brooks. It was entered into the 1958 Cannes Film Festival. The brothers are played by Yul Brynner, Richard Basehart and William Shatner in his film debut.
Jonathan Nolan is a British-American screenwriter, television producer, director and author. He is the creator of the CBS science fiction series Person of Interest (2011–2016) and co-creator of the HBO science fiction western series Westworld (2016–present).
Arthur Edward Spence Hill was a Canadian actor best known for appearances in British and American theatre, films, and television. He attended the University of British Columbia and continued his acting studies in Seattle, Washington.
Ronald Brian Underwood is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and television director.
Beyond Westworld is a 1980 American television series based on the 1973 film Westworld, which was written and directed by Michael Crichton. It ignored the 1976 film sequel Futureworld.
Virginia Gilmore was an American film, stage, and television actress.
Solomon and Sheba is a 1959 American epic historical romance film directed by King Vidor, shot in Technirama, and distributed by United Artists. The film dramatizes events described in The Bible—the tenth chapter of First Kings and the ninth chapter of Second Chronicles.
Frederick James Karlin was an American composer of more than 130 scores for feature films and television movies. He also was an accomplished trumpeter adept at playing jazz, blues, classical, rock, and medieval music.
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Westworld is an American dystopian science fiction neo-Western television series created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. Produced and aired by HBO, it is based on the 1973 film of the same name and, to a lesser extent, the film's 1976 sequel, Futureworld. The story begins in Westworld, a fictional, technologically advanced Wild-West-themed amusement park populated by android "hosts". The park caters to high-paying guests who may indulge their wildest fantasies within the park without fear of retaliation from the hosts, who are prevented by their programming from harming humans. Later on, in the third season, the series' setting expands to the real world, in the mid-21st century, where people's lives are driven and controlled by a powerful artificial intelligence named Rehoboam.
Westworld is an American science fiction-thriller media franchise that began with the 1973 film Westworld, written and directed by Michael Crichton. The film depicts a technologically advanced Wild-West-themed amusement park populated by androids that malfunction and begin killing the human visitors; it was followed by the sequel film Futureworld (1976). The franchise moved to television in 1980 with the short-lived series Beyond Westworld on CBS. In 2016 a new television series based on the original film debuted on HBO; the critically acclaimed series has broadcast three seasons, with a fourth in production.
The second season of the American science fiction western television series Westworld premiered on HBO on April 22, 2018, and concluded on June 24, 2018, consisting of ten episodes.
Paul N. Lazarus III is an American film producer.
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