Anyone who has ever attempted a little DIY home improvement can relate to the horrors of The Money Pit, the 1986 fixer-upper comedy where Tom Hanks and Shelley Long buy a mansion for a steal ... then discover why it was so cheap. The movie wasn't a huge hit with critics, but for many viewers, it's a favorite early Tom Hanks role—thanks in part, surely, to this fantastic laugh:
If you're a fan of collapsing stairs, airborne turkeys, and weak trees, read on for a few fun facts about the Fieldings' fixer-upper.
1. IT WAS A REMAKE.
The Money Pit is based on H.C. Potter's Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. The original film holds the #72 spot on AFI’s 100 Years ... 100 Laughs list.
2. IT WAS EXECUTIVE PRODUCED BY STEVEN SPIELBERG.
Spielberg also executive produces Hanks’ 1990 film Joe Versus the Volcano. Hanks and Spielberg have gone on to collaborate on a number of much more serious films and miniseries, including Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, The Pacific, and Bridge of Spies.
3. SCREENWRITER DAVID GILER ALSO WROTE ALIENS.
David Giler has quite the range, switching from The Money Pit (1986) and Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) to Aliens (1986) and Tales from the Crypt. (He executive-produced 93 episodes of the latter.)
4. KATHLEEN TURNER TURNED DOWN THE ROLE OF ANNA.
She opted to make The Jewel of the Nile (1985), the sequel to Romancing the Stone (1984), instead.
5. THE FIELDINGS' HOUSE WAS REAL!
Filming took place at a real, eight-bedroom mansion on Long Island. The property spans 5.5 acres and includes a six-car garage, eight fireplaces, and a 1300-foot driveway. In 2014, the house hit the market for $12.5 million.
6. THE HOUSE WAS OWNED BY A PUBLISHER/OLYMPIAN.
At the time the movie was filmed, the estate was owned by Eric Ridder, the publisher of a New York-based business newspaper and a member of the 1952 gold medal-winning American yachting team. His family co-owned Knight-Ridder, a former media company that was the second-largest newspaper publisher in the U.S.
7. LATER OWNERS OF THE HOUSE FOUND THAT LIFE IMITATED ART.
Rich and Christina Makowsky purchased the estate in 2002, not realizing how much work the home needed. “The house was falling apart when you went from room to room. We definitely could have done the sequel,” Rich said. The couple invested millions in extensive renovations and is currently selling the house for $8 million, $4.5 million less than they asked for in 2014.
8. IT INSPIRED A TV SHOW THAT HAS YET TO HAPPEN.
In 2013, NBC announced that it was partnering with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment to create a sitcom based on the movie. Justin Spitzer, a writer-producer of The Office, was attached to write the adaptation. It was shelved in 2014 after execs had trouble casting the lead roles.
9. ROGER EBERT HATED THE MOVIE.
The renowned critic gave the film one star, calling it “a movie that contains one funny scene and 91 minutes of running time to kill.” He was particularly appalled by the scene where Hanks falls through the floor and gets stuck there due to the rug. “He screams all the wrong things, until we aren’t laughing, we’re groaning. Didn’t it occur to anybody that the smarter the characters were, the funnier their troubles would be? Make them into idiots, and who cares if their house falls down?”
10. TOM HANKS AGREED WITH EBERT.
In a 1989 interview with Playboy, Hanks was asked to play critic for some of his biggest films. The Money Pit wasn’t one of his favorites: “Some parts of that are absolutely hilarious, but, for the most part, it just doesn't cut it. All right? For a while, it made a ton of money, and then it stopped.”