Saturday Night Live is a sketch comedy show that airs on NBC and dates back to its premier on October 11, 1975. The show was created by Lorne Michaels and has aired for 36 seasons, with the most recent premiering in September 2013. The series had many ups and downs throughout the years, with some cast members being better remembered then others. It is one of the longest running television shows and has also provided some of the most memorable characters including, “Pumping up with Hanz and Franz” and “Weekend Update”. Some of these characters became so popular that they were given their own spin-off feature film. With the exception of two films, for the most part, a lot of the sketches turned film were met with mixed reviews and poor box office performance. Regardless, many have gained a cult following and are considered favorites for many fans. Here is a look at five Saturday Night Live sketches turned into film.
5) A Night at the Roxbury – October 2, 1998
All that brothers Steve (Will Ferrell) and Doug Butani (Chris Kattan) really want in life is to go clubbing, meet women and never ever wear blue jeans. The sketch featuring the two brothers debuted on March 23, 1996 and would feature their trademark head bob to the song ‘What is Love?’ by Haddaway. The sketch was so popular that they eventually got their own feature film, directed by John Fortenberry and written by Chris Kattan, Will Ferrell and Steve Koren. The plot followed the two brothers as they attempt to get into the famed club, The Roxbury and try to achieve the dream of opening their own nightclub. However, their father, who owns a plant shop, hopes that Steve will marry Emily (Molly Shannon) whose father owns the lighting store next door, and merge the two businesses. This eventually comes between Doug and Steve and for awhile, they go their separate ways, until reuniting at the end and finally getting into The Roxbury. The film brought in $30,331,165 at the box office on a budget of 17 million and received mixed reviews from critics that felt the film was simply the sketch drawn out for 90 mins; regardless, the film is one of the most popular SNL films among fans.
4) ) MacCruber – May 21, 2010
Will Forte starred as MacCruber in both the sketch and film, which was a parody of the hit action adventure series MacGyver, from 1985. The sketch began appearing in 2007. It featured MacGruber and his assistant, played by Maya Rudolph in the sketch, and Kristen Wiig in the film, would be trapped in a room with a bomb just seconds from detonating. Much like the series, MacCruber would use ordinary objects to try and save the day. However, the bomb usually denotes while he is explaining how he will use each one. The film follows MacCruber as he tries to get a warhead back from Dieter Van Cunth (Val Kilmer). The script was written by Will Forte, Jorma Taccone and John Soloman, and directed by Jorma Taccone. The film has gotten mixed reviews and brought in $9,333,895 at the box office.
3) Superstar – October 8, 1999
The feature film, Superstar was based off of the popular SNL character, Mary Katherine Gallagher that was created by then cast member, Molly Shannon. The film was directed by former Kids in the Hall cast member, Bruce McCulloch and written by Steve Koren. The film features the social outcast Mary trying to win over school hunk Sky Corrigan (Will Ferrell) at her Roman Catholic High School. She does so by winning a talent contest with the rest of her special education classmates, but after kissing Sky, she realizes she wants to be with best friend, Eric (Harland Williams). Superstar received the same criticism from critics that many of the SNL films do. Some critics considered the film to be very funny and well acted, but felt like it was a 90 minute version of the sketch. The film made $30,636,478 on a budget of $14 million and the character’s breakthrough success would lead to the hiring of more female writers on SNL.
2) Wayne’s World – February 14, 1992
Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) were two metal loving best friends that hosted their own public access television show from the basement of Wayne’s parent’s home. The first Wayne’s World sketch appeared in the 1988 season and proved popular with viewers so much that Wayne and Garth became recurring characters in the show. In 1992, a feature film was released, it was co-written by Mike Myers, Terry and Bonnie Turner, and directed by Penelope Spheeris. The plot for the film featured shady television executive, Benjamin Kane (Rob Lowe) scamming Wayne and Garth and steals the rights to their TV show; also, he tries to steal Wayne’s love interest Cassandra (Tia Carreree). In the end, Wayne and Garth save their show and help launch Cassandra’s career. The film was a massive success and still remains the highest grossing SNL sketch turned film, with 121.6 million on a budget of 20 million. The film is also notable for using the song, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen and took it to number 2 on the Billboard 100 Singles list, 20 years after its original release. The success of this film gave Lorne Michaels the confidence to produce more spin-offs based on SNL sketches and would also spawn the sequel, Wayne’s World 2 in 1993.
1) The Blues Brothers – June 20, 1980
The very first SNL sketch turned into a film was the highly successful cult classic, The Blues Brothers, which starred John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as blood brothers Jake and Elwood Blues. The film had its origins in a sketch that appeared on January 17, 1976 where John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd dressed as Bees and joined, “Howard Shore and The All Bee Band” to perform “I’m a Bee King”. Dan Aykroyd had a strong love for blues music that went back to his days growing up in Ottawa and Toronto. He then introduced blues music to John Belushi and the two would form, The Blues Brothers. They began to tour and released their first album, Briefcase full of Blues in 1978 that was a huge success, charting at number 1 on the Billboard 200 and went double platinum. They were the musical guests on SNL on April 22,1978 and made their final appearance on the November 18, 1978. By this point, The Blues Brothers had successful careers, most notably John Belushi who was quickly becoming a mega star. When Aykroyd and Belushi decided to make a Blues Brothers movie, there was actually a bidding war between the studios that eventually went to Universal studios. Dan Aykroyd wrote the script and it took him nearly six months to complete 324 pages. It took director, John Landis two weeks to rewrite the script. The film revolves around Jake, recently released from prison and Elwood trying to get the band back together in order to raise enough money to save the orphanage that they grew up in. The Blues Brothers was a very successful film, it’s the second highest grossing SNL film bringing in $115.2 million at the box office. Despite the success of the film, Lorne Michales did not feel confident that other sketches could be turned into a film. That changed with the release of Wayne’s World.
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