INT. SILVER PICTURES, Warner Bros., early October 1986. Joel Silver, a senior SP exec (“SSPE”) and a Warner Bros. distribution guy (“WBDG”) are discussing the previous night’s premiere of Jumpin’ Jack Flash, a Penny Marshall/Whoopi Goldberg film. The critics are probably going to hate it, or so they suspect.
Silver: The critics don’t matter. This is a popcorn flick. Whoopi is cool and funny. People know that.
WBDG: Is Lethal Weapon popcorn?
Silver: Of course it is.
WBDG: What I mean is, will it reach people where they live? Or is it too flipped out?
SSPE: Are you serious? Lethal Weapon is simultaneously popcorn and a groundbreaker. The first cop flick in which the cop…well, one of the cops is crazier than the bad guys.
Silver: You know about Angel Heart, right? Opening the same day, March 6th, five months from now, and almost the exact same idea except it’s a crazy private eye in the ’50s. A few things are different, we’re looser and funnier but Mickey Rourke is playing an investigator who needs to be investigated.
WBDG: I don’t know. Maybe. But we have to make double-sure Lethal Weapon is a soother. So the dumb people feel cool about it.
Silver: It’s not that kind of film. It’s about thrills, adrenaline and loose screws.
WBDG: Okay, but what about a nice soulful pop song over the end credits?
Silver: It’s not that kind of film!
SSPE: We have a song — “Jingle Bell Rock.” A ’50s song, but family-friendly and unknown to younger audiences.
WBDG: An end credit song, I mean. You know Honeymoon Suite?
WBDG: Canadian band. They’ve written a song that might fit. Could you just listen to it? If you don’t like it, forget it.
Silver: You’re scaring me. A Lethal Weapon love song?
WBDG: A hurtin’ love song. A “Martin Riggs in pain” love song.
Silver: You’re serious.
SSPE: How do the lyrics go? “I put a gun in my mouth today, but I couldn’t pull the trigger”?