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Honey, They Shrunk the Screen

The sequel is Disney's first live-action direct-to-video feature. Star Rick Moranis thinks it's a great idea.


Walt Disney Pictures has just released "Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves," the newest entry in the popular comedy series starring Rick Moranis as the shrink-happy scientist Wayne Szalinski.

But don't look for this "Honey" at a theater near you. The sequel to 1989's "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" and 1992's "Honey, I Blew Up the Baby" made its big premiere Tuesday at video outlets.

The comedy-adventure, which lists for $23, is Disney's first live-action direct-to-video feature. Previously, Disney scored a big success with "The Return of Jafar" and "Aladdin and the King of Thieves," its direct-to-video sequels to the 1992 animated "Aladdin."

Dennis Rice, senior vice president of marketing, says many factors go into deciding which Disney franchise would make a viable direct-to-video project.

"Certainly we have had a tremendous amount of success with the 'Honey' series," Rice says. "If there is prior equity in a story or an awareness of a concept or a franchise, it really makes a lot of sense to consider that for direct-to-video. People will want to own it, and they'll want to watch it over and over and over again."

In this outing, Wayne, his wife (Eve Gordon), his brother (Stuart Pankin) and sister-in-law (Robin Bartlett) accidentally are shrunk by Wayne's ray gun shrink machine.

Attempting to return to normal size, they experience a wild Hot Wheels ride and come in contact with giant cockroaches and a cuddly daddy longlegs. Meanwhile, their kids are unaware that their microscopic-sized parents are actually watching their every action.

Moranis thought it was a "really great idea" when Disney approached him to star in the direct-to-video "Honey."

"I had known about the success of 'Return of Jafar,' and I thought it was a really good business idea," says Moranis, who came to fame on the classic TV series "SCTV."

"Movies have gotten ridiculously expensive, and once you spend that much money on a movie, you feel obligated to spend that much on marketing," Moranis says. "This is high-quality family entertainment, and it's a perfect opportunity to bring it in at a decent cost and reach a much larger audience than you can hope on an opening weekend of a movie."

Making the film, Moranis says, was a "really unique and pleasant experience. It was only five weeks of shooting. There was a latitude creatively. It moved much quicker than [a feature film], which can tend to be unbelievably boring."

Besides, Moranis was thrilled to finally get shrunk. "I always wanted to be shrunk," he says, laughing. "These movies are enjoyable to do and they seem to attract nice people."

The scope of this "Honey," he says, is "narrower" than the two previous films and "kind of justifies the medium it's being created for. I don't know how it would play on the big screen, but it was never intended for that. Everybody cared a lot, but the stakes weren't as high. You're painting pictures, but the canvas isn't that big."

Moranis enjoys playing the good-natured Wayne but acknowledges, "It's a relatively easy reach from me to that character. It doesn't require a whole lot of back story and subtext or a lot of transformation for me to become it. It's not Hannibal Lecter or anything. But he has a kind of exuberance and there's a kind of levity to the whole show."

Disney has several other direct-to-video movies in the pipeline. The animated "Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin" bows Aug. 5 and "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas" is set for release later this year. Disney is filming "The Jungle Book: Mowg-li's Story," a live-action prequel to "The Jungle Book," and a sequel to "Toy Story" is also in production.

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