Exclusive Excerpt From “Movies Go Fourth” Image

Exclusive Excerpt From “Movies Go Fourth”

By Film Threat Staff | June 16, 2023

Mark Edlitz’s book, Movies Go Fourth, is an examination of fourth movies in the most popular film franchises of all time and available at https://tinyurl.com/9rejnues. It offers behind-the-scenes stories of fourth films from such beloved series as Star Wars, Star Trek, and James Bond. It also explores infamous fourth films, including Jaws: The Revenge, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, and Batman & Robin. This book reveals the inside scoop on some of the biggest films in horror (Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street), sci-fi (Highlander, Terminator, Planet of the Apes), action (Die Hard, Rambo), and comedy (Police Academy).  The book also explores some notable unmade fours, including Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 and The Godfather Part IV.

However, not all of the movies are nearly as well-known or beloved as the above examples. Take the Meatballs series. 1979’s Meatballs is a beloved comedy that turned Bill Murray into a movie star. Conversely, 1992’s Meatballs 4: To The Rescue is a low-budget film starring that you might not even be aware exists. It stars Corey Feldman (Lost Boys), Jack Nance (Eraserhead), and Sarah Douglas (Superman II). Perhaps, more surprisingly, Meatballs 4 was never intended to be the fourth Meatballs film.

Meatballs 4 started as a script entitled Happy Campers. The film went into production as Happy Campers, starring Feldman. But part way through the shoot, Feldman and writer-director Bob Logan were informed that plans had changed. They were no longer making Happy Campers. Instead, they were told that they were making Meatballs 4. Needless to say, the news was a shock. In the following interview, writer-director Bob Logan explains how he unwittingly wound up making Meatballs 4

You did not intend to direct the fourth Meatballs film. What happened?

You should have been on a set when I found out.

Let us start at the beginning when you were making a movie called Happy Campers.

Don Borchers (Children of the Corn) bought a company called Moviestore Entertainment, an independent film company. I had recently made a film called Repossessed (1990), a spoof of The Exorcist, with Leslie Nielsen and Linda Blair. Out of the blue, Don called me and asked, “Do you want to make a movie? It’s about the lake and craziness with the kids.” Don did not mention anything about Meatballs, but he did not know about it at the time. I said, “Send the script over.” Don said, “There is no script.” I said, “What’s the story?” He goes, “We don’t have a story.” I asked, “When do we start production? Two or three months from now?” He goes, “We are starting pre-production in six weeks. So it would be nice to have a script.” 

I said, “You’ve got no script, you got no story, and you want to complete a movie and three months.” He said, “Give me a script next week. “I went to the Beverly Garland Hotel and locked myself in for a week. Finally, at the end of seven days and nights, I finished the script. I sent it to Don, and he read it. He called me and said, “Let’s start pre-production.” I had three weeks to put the film together. 

How did Happy Campers become Meatballs 4?

That is about halfway into shooting the film. One night, after we broke, we had dinner. A guy by the name of Ken Badish, who was from the movie store, came up to the location. Ken tells me, “We’re doing a little change in the film.” I said, “How are you going to change it. We were still shooting the damn thing. What are you talking about?” He said, “We have to guarantee that we’re going to make money. People know what [the phrase] “happy camper” means. But audiences want a title from an established movie. So, we paid to get the rights to the title Meatballs.” 

I gave him one of those looks and he realized I was not too pleased. But he said, “That’s what we’re going to do. We’ve already made the decision.” I said that I did not sign up for Meatballs 4. At the time I had already done two movies. I was building my career up, so I did not want to be associated with a film that had a “four” at the end of the title.

I was quite upset, and I threatened to walk. We were halfway through the film and, of course, Ken did not want that. Don and I had a long talk and it was basically, “What are we going to do? We are being paid. Put it out, Bobby. Who cares? Don’t worry it is not going to hurt your career. The movie is going to do either really well with the title or no one will remember it.”

I tried to rationalize it because I did not want to leave my crew. My crew is my family. I did not want to leave the family high and dry. So I stuck with it. I was not pleased, but I stuck with it. 

What was the cast’s reaction? From what I have read, Corey Feldman did not seem pleased. 

No, Corey was not pleased. Corey was not pleased at all. This was a comeback for him. He wanted to be in something unique to him. But now that we were part four, we were not the starting line-up for the baseball team. Now, they are bringing in the Triple-A guys to finish off the game.

The subtitle to Meatballs 4 is To the Rescue.

I had nothing to do with that. 

I do not understand what it means.

I don’t either. I don’t either.

Pick up your copy of Movies Go Fourth at https://tinyurl.com/9rejnues.

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