Based on a 1902 novel of the same name, Brewster's Millions starred Richard Pryor as minor league pitcher Monty Brewster, who stands to inherit $300 million of his great uncle's fortune if he can spend $30 million in 30 days without retaining any assets. John Candy co-starred alongside Pryor as his best friend and teammate Spike Nolan.
Despite primarily negative reviews, the film did well at the box office and was a mainstay on cable television over the years, making it beloved by those who were watching the likes of TBS in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
1. THE NOVEL HAS BEEN ADAPTED SEVERAL TIMES.
George Barr McCutcheon's novel Brewster's Millions was adapted for the screen in the United States in 1914, 1921, 1935, and 1945, as well as in 1926 as Miss Brewster's Millions. In England, it was remade as Three on a Spree (1961). In the earlier incarnations of Brewster's Millions, the titular character was required to spend just $1 million.
2. PETER BOGDANOVICH WAS SET TO DIRECT.
Peter Bogdanovich was reportedly going to make it similar to director Allan Dwan's 1945 version. Bogdanovich interviewed Dwan about his films, including Millions, which Dwan called "one of the best pieces of material" he ever had.
3. WALTER HILL DIRECTED IT FOR THE MONEY.
Walter Hill, director of The Warriors and 48 Hrs., admitted in 1988 that at the time the only film he didn't make out of passion was Brewster's Millions. As the Chicago Tribune put it, Hill made the movie to "improve his bank account and success quotient."
4. JENNIFER BEALS WAS CONSIDERED FOR THE FEMALE LEAD.
The filmmakers wanted Flashdance star Jennifer Beals to co-star with Pryor as accountant Angela Drake. Instead, Lonette McKee (Pryor's co-star in Which Way Is Up) got the role.
5. HILL WAS SURPRISED THAT JOHN CANDY WANTED TO DO IT.
John Candy agreed to take the part once he heard that Pryor was starring and Walter Hill was directing. When Candy came to visit Hill on the set of Streets of Fire (1984), Hill—a fan of SCTV—told Candy: “I'd love to have you in the picture. I'm afraid the way the script stands there isn't much for you to do. But I'll do my best to expand the part for you."
6. THEY HAD TO STOP SHOOTING BEFORE THE OLYMPICS BEGAN.
Shooting began on April 30, 1984 in Los Angeles and had to conclude before July 28, to ensure it wouldn't interfere with the 1984 Summer Olympics. Location shooting continued in New York City and ended on August 8, 1984.
7. PRINCESS ANNE VISITED THE SET.
Anne, Princess Royal, only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, was in Los Angeles and paid a visit to the set of Brewster's Millions as part of her itinerary. She was greeted by Candy and producer Joel Silver; Candy and the princess discussed a fire that had recently broken out at Pinewood Studios in England. She was scheduled to visit a scene involving Richard Pryor, but it was shot a day earlier, as Hill had production ahead of schedule. "I don't think she even knows Richard Pryor," an observer was quoted as saying. "I'm sure she was more excited at meeting John Candy, who's a Canadian citizen."
8. PRYOR HAD AN ISSUE WITH CANDY.
According to Paul Mooney's Black is the New White, Candy was jealous of Pryor and Eddie Murphy's instant friendship on the set of Brewster's Millions (Candy brought Murphy on set as a guest of his). Candy confessed to Mooney that he thought Pryor "hated him." Mooney told him otherwise, but wrote that the truth was "Richard cannot stand the man."
9. YAKOV SMIRNOFF WAS TYPECAST, ACCORDING TO YAKOV SMIRNOFF.
"I was not only typecast as a Russian, but I was typecast as Yakov Smirnoff," the comedian said in 1992 of his roles in Heartburn (1986), The Money Pit (1986), and Brewster's Millions. "This is understandable, and I was very happy to get the roles, but it would be nice to be in a movie where I could be someone else."
10. ANOTHER REMAKE IS POSSIBLY FORTHCOMING.
In 2015, Entertainment Weekly reported that Robert Townsend (Hollywood Shuffle) is set to direct a new version of Brewster's Millions.