AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Director: Jerry Zucker (Dir)
Release Date:   13 Jul 1990
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles opening: 13 Jul 1990; New York opening: week of 13 Jul 1990
Production Date:   began 24 Jul 1989
Duration (in mins):   127
Print this page
Display Movie Summary

Cast:   Patrick Swayze (Sam Wheat)  
    Demi Moore (Molly Jensen)  
    Whoopi Goldberg (Oda Mae Brown)  
    Tony Goldwyn (Carl Bruner)  
    Rick Aviles (Willie Lopez)  
    Stanley Lawrence (Elevator man)  
    Christopher J. Keene (Elevator man)  
    Susan Breslau (Susan)  
    Martina Degnan (Rose)  
    Richard Kleber (Mover)  
    Macka Foley (Mover)  
    Phil Leeds (Emergency room ghost)  
    John Hugh (Surgeon)  
    Sam Tsoutsouvas (Minister)  
    Sharon Breslau Cornell (Cemetery ghost)  
  Co-starring Vincent Schiavelli (Subway ghost)  
    Angelina Estrada (Rosa Santiago)  
  Co-starring Armelia McQueen (Oda Mae's sister)  
  Co-starring Gail Boggs (Oda Mae's sister)  
    Thom Curley (Workman in loft)  
    Stephen Root (Police sgt.)  
    Laura Drake (Policewoman)  
    Augie Blunt (Orlando)  
    Alma Beltran (Woman ghost)  
    Vivian Bonnell (Ortisha)  
    Derek Thompson (Ortisha's friend)  
    J. Christopher Sullivan (Man ghost)  
    Charlotte Zucker (Bank officer)  
    Tom Finnegan (Bank guard)  
    Bruce Jarchow (Lyle Ferguson)  
    Sondra Rubin (Nun)  
    Faye Brenner (Nun)  
    William Cort (Bank co-worker)  
    Minnie Lindsey (Apartment woman)  
    Mabel Lockridge (Apartment woman)  
    Said Faraj (Cab driver)  

Summary: With the help of their friend, Carl Bruner, young couple Sam Wheat and Molly Jensen renovate a New York City loft and move in together. Late one night, Sam says that he fears something bad will happen, since his life is going too well. When she cannot sleep, Molly goes to her potter’s wheel and makes a vase. Sam joins her, placing his hands on the clay, and they make love. Soon after, at the financial firm where they both work, Sam confides to Carl that there is too much money in some of his accounts. Carl offers to investigate, but Sam says that he has changed his pass code for security reasons and will handle the problem himself. After seeing a performance of Macbeth, Molly and Sam walk home. Molly comments that she always tells Sam she loves him, while he merely responds, “Ditto,” and asks him to declare his love for her more often. Their conversation is interrupted when a mugger steps out of the shadows and holds Sam at gunpoint. Sam speaks calmly to the man, who becomes aggressive. The men tussle and the mugger’s gun goes off, killing Sam. As Molly cradles his head and calls for help, Sam’s ghost watches from afar, then follows Molly to the hospital, where the ghost of an older man greets him. Sam attends his own funeral, where Molly cries and grasps Carl’s hand. The ghost of a woman waves to Sam before stepping through a gravestone. At home, Sam watches over Molly, who talks to her dead boyfriend, telling him she went to the dry cleaner’s that day and broke down in tears when the shop owner asked about him. The cat hisses at Sam when he gets too near, and Molly stops short, sensing his presence. Later, Sam observes as Carl and Molly go through boxes of Sam’s personal items. Molly sets aside various items to keep, including Sam’s address book. Carl encourages her to go for a walk with him, but Sam has a hard time passing through the door to follow them. Just then, the mugger who killed Sam breaks into the apartment. Sam watches as the man searches for something specific, to no avail. Molly returns home, and the mugger escapes. Sam follows him onto the subway, where he encounters a belligerent ghost. The ghost attacks Sam and smashes a window in the process. Sam trails the mugger to his apartment and discovers the man’s name is Willie Lopez. He overhears Lopez make a call, informing someone that he was not able to steal whatever he was after but plans to go back for it. Stunned by the realization that his murder was part of a larger scheme, Sam wanders onto the street. He hears music and enters an open door to a waiting room. A woman named Rosa Santiago is called inside a parlor and Sam follows her. There, Oda Mae Brown, a con artist posing as a psychic medium, pretends to connect with Rosa’s dead husband. Watching in disbelief, Sam voices his disapproval. Oda Mae hears Sam’s voice and panics, as she has never actually communed with the dead. Oda Mae tells Sam to leave her alone, but he refuses. At night, he keeps her awake by singing non-stop until she finally agrees to help him. The next day, they go to Sam and Molly’s apartment downtown. Although Molly initially rejects Oda Mae’s claims, she invites her in after Oda Mae reveals personal information only Sam could know. Relaying a message from Sam, Oda Mae warns Molly that she is in danger. She gives her Willie Lopez’s name and address and explains that Sam’s murder was a setup. That evening, Molly shares the information with Carl, who discourages her from going to the police and offers to check out Willie Lopez himself. Sam follows Carl to Lopez’s apartment and discovers that Carl and Lopez are in cahoots. Carl, who is laundering $4 million in drug money using Sam’s clients’ accounts, needs Sam’s new pass code, which he believes he will find in Sam’s address book. If he does not gain access to the accounts, Carl will lose the $80,000 he stood to make and might be killed. Carl vows to steal the address book himself. Outside, Sam tries to punch Carl, but his hands float through Carl’s body. Molly goes to the police station, where a sergeant pulls up the file of Oda Mae Brown, who has a long history of fraud. Meanwhile, Carl breaks into the apartment and retrieves Sam’s address book. He finds the pass code and goes to the office. Sam observes as Carl successfully transfers the $4 million into one account, under the alias “Rita Miller,” with orders to transfer the money again, the following day, into an offshore account in Nassau. Carl returns to Sam and Molly’s apartment and tries to seduce her by sharing his grief over Sam’s death. Molly laments that she feels alone, and Carl kisses her. Outraged, Sam jumps on Carl, and in doing so, miraculously knocks over a framed photograph of Molly and Sam. Molly jumps up and tells Carl he must leave. Returning to the subway, Sam finds the ghost who attacked him and enlists his help. The subway ghost, who smashed a window while attacking Sam, teaches Sam how to manipulate objects with his mind. Sam returns to Oda Mae’s parlor and finds it teeming with new clients and the ghosts of their loved ones, all of whom Oda Mae can now hear. One of the ghosts jumps into her body and takes it over for a brief moment before she casts him out. Oda Mae complains to Sam that she does not want this newfound power. She orders everyone out of the parlor just as Lopez arrives to kill her. Oda Mae escapes, and Sam follows. He tells her he has a plan to get them out of danger, but he needs her help. At Sam’s behest, Oda Mae dresses up and forges a fake identification card for “Rita Miller.” She goes to a bank and sits down with Sam’s old colleague, Lyle Ferguson. As Sam whispers personal information about Ferguson into her ear, Oda Mae nervously tells the banker that she knows him and announces she is there to close her account. Despite her strange behavior, Ferguson closes the account and gives her a cashier’s check for $4 million. Molly arrives at the bank and recognizes Oda Mae from across the room. With the check in hand, Oda Mae hurries out of the building. Molly asks Lyle Ferguson about Oda Mae, but he claims her name is Rita Miller. On the street, Oda Mae rejoices at her newfound wealth, but Sam insists she get rid of the money or the criminals will trace it to her. With great reluctance, Oda Mae signs over the check to a homeless shelter. Meanwhile, Carl tries to transfer the laundered money, but panics when he finds the account closed. Sam shows up at the office and taunts Carl by moving objects across the room and typing “murderer” on his computer screen. That evening, Carl goes to Molly’s apartment in a state of distress and asks about Sam’s ghost. Molly mentions seeing Oda Mae at the bank, and tells Carl that her real name is Rita Miller. Carl leaves abruptly and heads uptown. Sam goes to Oda Mae’s apartment to warn her that she is in danger, and she hides in a neighbor’s apartment. When Carl and Lopez come searching for her, Sam scares Lopez by moving objects around Oda Mae’s apartment and writing “boo” on a foggy mirror. Lopez runs outside and is hit by a car. Sam watches as Lopez’s ghost is dragged underground by shadowy, black demons. Sam takes Oda Mae back to Molly’s apartment, where Oda Mae tells Molly to call the police. Sam expresses his desire to touch Molly once more, and Oda Mae allows him to inhabit her body. Sam and Molly share a dance, but Sam is knocked out of Oda Mae’s body when Carl breaks in and chases the women to an empty apartment. There, Sam uses his telekinetic powers to fight Carl, who tries to escape through a window but is impaled by a shard of broken glass. Carl’s ghost sees Sam just before the shadowy demons come to collect him. Sam finds Oda Mae and Molly, and asks if they are okay. However, before Oda Mae can respond, Molly answers. A heavenly light shines down and Sam’s ghost becomes visible to the women. Sam tells Oda Mae he will miss her. He kisses Molly goodbye and tells her he loves her, to which she responds, “Ditto.”  

Production Company: Paramount Pictures  
Production Text: Paramount Pictures Presents
A Howard W. Koch Production
A Jerry Zucker Film
Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures  
Director: Jerry Zucker (Dir)
  Dirk Petersmann (Unit prod mgr)
  Michael Tadross (Unit prod mgr)
  Mark Radcliffe (1st asst dir)
  John Hockridge (1st asst dir)
  George Parra (2d asst dir)
  Steven-Charles Jaffe (2d unit dir)
  Joseph Ray (2d asst dir, 2d unit)
Producer: Lisa Weinstein (Prod)
  Bruce Joel Rubin (Assoc prod)
  Steven-Charles Jaffe (Exec prod)
Writer: Bruce Joel Rubin (Wrt)
Photography: Adam Greenberg (Dir of photog)
  Michael A. Benson (Cam op)
  Billy Clevenger (1st asst photog)
  Gavin Alcott (2d asst photog)
  Lorna Wiley (2d asst photog)
  Liz Ziegler (Steadicam op)
  Jono Kouzouyan (Chief lighting tech)
  Harold Hathaway, Jr. (Asst chief lighting tech)
  Chuck Bukey (1st company grip)
  Don Hartley (Dolly grip)
  Peter Sorel (Still photog)
  Cary Fisher (2d unit dir of photog)
  John De Blau (Chief lighting tech, 2d unit)
  Dennis Gamiello (1st company grip, 2d unit)
  Chapman (Cranes and dollys by)
  Otto Nemenz International (Cam equip supplied by)
Art Direction: Jane Musky (Prod des)
  Mark Mansbridge (Art dir)
  David J. Negron, Sr. (Storyboard artist)
  Mike Lessa (Illustrator)
  Dennis Bradford (Art dir, 2d unit)
Film Editor: Walter Murch (Film ed)
  John Watson (1st asst ed)
  Meredith Gold (Asst ed)
  Elisa Cohen (Apprentice ed)
  Reel People, Inc. (Negative cutting)
  Agnes Challe-Grandits (Asst ed, 2d unit)
Set Decoration: Joe D. Mitchell (Set dec)
  Stan Tropp (Set des)
  Horst Grandt (Prop master)
  Oscar Flores (Asst propmaster)
  Larry Phillips (Asst propmaster)
  Gary Kudroff (Lead person)
  Butch West (Const coord)
  Bob Lindsay (Const foreperson)
  William M. Hoyt (Prod painter)
  Leslie Bloom (Set dec, 2d unit)
  Richard T. Allen (Const foreperson, 2d unit)
  Tom Saccio (Prop master, 2d unit)
Costumes: Ruth Morley (Cost des)
  Dawn Jackson (Cost supv)
  Eric Harrison (Costumer)
  Kendall Errair (Costumer)
Music: Maurice Jarre (Mus)
  Robert Fernandez (Mus scoring mixer)
  Shawn Murphy (Mus scoring mixer)
  Maurice Jarre (Orch)
  The Burbank Studios (Mus rec at)
Sound: Leslie Shatz (Supv sd ed)
  Jeff Wexler (Sd mixer)
  Don Coufal (Boom op)
  Gary Holland (Cable person)
  Clayton Collins (Sd ed)
  Michael Magill (Dial ed)
  Lee Haxall (Dial ed)
  Chuck Michael (Supv Foley ed)
  Laura Graham (Foley ed)
  E. Jeane Putnam (Asst sd ed)
  Jennifer Ware (Asst sd ed)
  Jeanine Schaack (Asst sd ed)
  Renee Tondelli (Asst sd ed)
  Maryann Skweres (Asst sd ed)
  Christopher E. Bennett (Apprentice sd ed)
  Ken Dufva (Foley artist)
  David Lee Fein (Foley artist)
  Gregory Curda (Foley mixer)
  Bob Baron (ADR mxer)
  Walter Murch (Re-rec mixer)
  Leslie Shatz (Re-rec mixer)
  Steve Maslow (Re-rec mixer)
  Gary Ritchie (Rec)
  Kathy McCart (Rec)
  Douglas Greenfield (Dolby Stereo cnsultant)
Special Effects: Bruce Nicholson (ILM visual eff supv)
  John Van Vliet (Good spirits and dark spirits visual eff supv)
  Kathy Kean (Good spirits and dark spirits visual eff supv)
  Richard Edlund (Boss Film Studios visual eff supv)
  Laura Buff (Visual eff prod supv)
  Terry Frazee (Spec eff supv)
  Eugene Crum (Spec eff)
  Donald Frazee (Spec eff)
  Logan Frazee (Spec eff)
  Donald Myers, Jr. (Spec eff)
  Mike Meinardus (Spec eff)
  Harrison Ellenshaw (Visual eff tech consultant)
  Jennifer C. Bell (Visual eff coord)
  Tom Cranham (Visual eff illustrator)
  Industrial Light & Magic A Division of LucasArts Entertainment, Marin County, California (Pass-through spec visual eff prod at)
  Ned Gorman (Visual eff prod)
  Susan Fritz Monahan (Eff co-prod)
  Stuart Robertson (Opt photog supv)
  Charlie Clavadetscher (Anim supv)
  Michael Gleason (Visual eff ed)
  Marty Rosenberg (Visual eff cam)
  Doug Chiang (Visual eff art dir)
  Jil-Sheree Bergin (Visual eff coord)
  Tom Bertino (Rotoscope supv)
  Lorne Peterson (Modelshop supv)
  Judith Weaver (Anim coord)
  Ed L. Jones (Exec in charge of post prod)
  Jim Morris (Exec in charge of prod)
  Scott Ross (Gen mgr, ILM)
  Sean Turner (Anim)
  Gordon Baker (Anim)
  Peter Crosman (Anim)
  Loring Doyle (Anim)
  Anthony Stacchi (Anim)
  Charlie Canfield (Spec eff cam op)
  Eric Swenson (Spec eff cam op)
  Kathleen Beeler (Rotoscope artist)
  Barbara Brennan (Rotoscope artist)
  Joanne Hafner (Rotoscope artist)
  Sandy Houston (Rotoscope artist)
  Terry Molatore (Rotoscope artist)
  Jack Mongovan (Rotoscope artist)
  Ellen Mueller (Rotoscope artist)
  Rebecca Petrulli (Rotoscope artist)
  Carolyn Rendu (Rotoscope artist)
  Jon Alexander (Opt cam op)
  Donald Clark (Opt cam op)
  Jeff Doran (Opt cam op)
  Keith Johnson (Opt cam op)
  Pat Repola (Opt cam op)
  Kenneth Smith (Opt cam op)
  Tom Smith (Opt cam op)
  Michael Cooper (Opt line-up)
  George Gambetta (Opt line-up)
  Peg Hunter (Opt line-up)
  David Karpman (Opt line-up)
  Jennifer Lee (Opt line-up)
  Greg Maloney (Opt line-up)
  Lori J. Nelson (Opt line-up)
  Tom Rosseter (Opt line-up)
  Lincoln Hu (Computer graphics)
  Mark E. R. Dippé (Computer graphics)
  John Gazdik (Visual eff cam asst)
  Robert Hill (Visual eff cam asst)
  Craig Mohagan (Stage tech)
  Ron Diggory (Stage tech)
  Alan Peterson (Model maker)
  Brian Gernand (Model maker)
  Susan Ross (Model maker)
  Roberto McGrath (Asst ed)
  Nancy Jencks (Asst ed)
  Lanny Cermak (Engineering services)
  Marty Brenneis (Engineering services)
  Available Light Ltd. (Good spirits and bad spirits visual eff by)
  Bill Neil (Visual eff consultant)
  Beverly Bernacki (Opticals)
  Beth Block (Opticals)
  Sarah Pasanen (Opticals)
  January Nordman (Scene coord)
  W. L. Arance (Dark ghost)
  Mike Jittlov (Dark ghost)
  Jeff Howard (Anim)
  Candy Lewis (Anim)
  Martine Tomczyk (Anim)
  Joseph Thomas (Motion control op)
  Robert Maine (Motion control op)
  Robert Wait (Visual eff ed)
  Marsha Carrington (Rotoscope and ink and paint)
  Nina Salerno (Rotoscope and ink and paint)
  Liz Lord (Rotoscope and ink and paint)
  Byron Werner (Rotoscope and ink and paint)
  Beth Brown (Prod asst)
  Deven Chierighino (Gaffer)
  Boss Film Studios (End seq visual eff prod by)
  Jim Rygiel (Digital eff supv)
  Steve Price (Video eff artist)
  Howard Stein (Visual eff ed)
  Garry Waller (Spec element photog)
  Virgil Mirano (Spec element photog)
  Ellen Somers (Prod supv)
  Christine Sellin (Prod coord)
  David S. Williams, Jr. /Illusion Arts (Addl composites by)
  Post Group (Video eff composited at)
  Dianna Incorvaia (Post Group coord)
  Randall Balsmeyer (Motion control supv)
  Steven Kosakura (Motion control op)
  Edward Moyer (Motion control asst (L.A.))
  Donald Canfield (Motion control asst (N.Y.))
  Balsmeyer & Everett, Inc. (Motion control cam system)
  Video Image (Video and graphic displays by)
  Chris Walas, Inc. (Spec creative props by)
  Pacific Title (Opticals by)
  Wayne Fitzgerald (Title des)
Make Up: Ben Nye, Jr. (Supv make-up artist)
  Marietta A. Carter (Ms. Goldberg's make-up artist)
  Dione Taylor (Supv hairstylist)
  Julia L. Walker (Ms. Goldberg's hairstylist)
Production Misc: Jane Jenkins (Casting)
  Janet Hirshenson (Casting)
  Faye Brenner (Scr supv)
  Blaine Converse (Asst to Jerry Zucker)
  Sheila Barnes (Prod coord)
  Diane Edquist (Asst to Sheila Barnes)
  Laura Tateishi (Prod secy)
  Michael Risoli (Prod asst)
  Carlos Sanchez (Prod asst)
  Winston Quitasol (Prod asst)
  Martin Elfalan (Prod asst)
  Susan Montgomery (Prod auditor)
  Marie Elder (Asst prod auditor)
  Patti Hawn (Unit pub)
  Eric Klosterman (Loc mgr)
  Laurie Abdo (Asst to Howard W. Koch)
  Pam Halstead (Asst to prod)
  Lee Simchon (Asst to exec prod)
  Judy Welchel (Asst to Bruce Joel Rubin)
  Alvin Mears (Animal trainer)
  Gene Johnson (Transportation coord)
  Bill Hogue (Transportation capt)
  John S. Moy (Craft service)
  Charlie Zalben (Loc mgr, 2d unit)
  Terry Ladin (Prod coord, 2d unit)
  Sylvia Faye (Extras casting by, 2d unit)
  Justin Moritt (Prod asst, 2d unit)
  Allison Procacci (Prod asst, 2d unit)
  Brigid Lundt (Prod asst, 2d unit)
Stand In: Charles Picerni (Stunt coord)
  Gary Charles Davis (Stunt coord)
  Bob K. Cummings (Stunt player)
  Ramiro Gonzalez (Stunt player)
  Shane Dixon (Stunt player)
  Andy Duppin (Stunt player)
  Harry Madsen (Stunt player)
  James Thompson (Stunt player)
  Peter Hock (Stunt player)
  Gary McLarty (Stunt player)
  Sandy Berumen (Stunt player)
  Kym Washington (Stunt player)
  Gene McLaughlin (Stunt player)
  Jeff Ward (Stunt player)
  William James (Stunt player)
Color Personnel: Tom Shaffer (Col timer)
  Technicolor® (Col by)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "Unchained Melody," by Alex North & Hy Zaret; "I'm Henry VIII, I Am," by Fred Murray & R. P. Weston; "Kyrie Opening," by David Hykes, performed by David Hykes & The Harmonic Choir, courtesy of The Harmonic Arts Society, Inc.; "No Hiding Place," arranged by Evelyn Starks & Dorothy Love Coates, performed by Dorothy Love Coates and The Original Gospel Harmonettes, courtesy of Specialty Records, Inc.; "Since I Fell For You," by Buddy Johnson, performed by The Righteous Brothers, courtesy of Polygram Special Products, a division of Polygram Records, Inc.; "Unchained Melody," by Alex North & Hy Zaret, performed by The Righteous Brothers, courtesy of Polygram Special Products, a division of Polygram Records, Inc.
Composer: David Hykes
  Buddy Johnson
  Fred Murray
  Alex North
  R. P. Weston
  Hy Zaret
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Paramount Pictures Corporation 1/10/1990 dd/mm/yyyy PA480788

PCA NO: 30013
Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Stereo® in selected theatres

Genre: Romance
Sub-Genre: Suspense
Subjects (Major): Deception
Subjects (Minor): Apartments
  Drug dealers
  Hired killers
  Impersonation and imposture
  Money laundering
  New York City
  New York City--Wall Street

Note: End credits include the following statements: “The Producers gratefully acknowledge the following for their assistance and cooperation: The New York City Mayor's Office of Film, Television, and Broadcasting; The Members of the New York City Police Department Motion Picture and Television Unit; The New York City Transit Authority Special Projects Division; News Footage Courtesy of NBC News Video Archives”; and, “Special thanks to Lindsay Doran.”
       According to an 18 Jul 1990 HR “Hollywood Report” column, director Jerry Zucker stated that Paramount Pictures executive Lindsay Doran first sent him Bruce Joel Rubin’s script after a discussion at ShoWest, where Zucker was promoting The Naked Gun from the Files of Police Squad! (1988, see entry). Doran, who touted Ghost as the best script at Paramount, initially assumed Zucker would not be interested in the subject matter, due to his background in comedy. Zucker claimed that his wife read the screenplay first and urged her husband to read it right away. Soon after, Zucker expressed interest in the project, but had to win over Bruce Joel Rubin, who had envisioned Milos Forman or Stanley Kubrick as the potential director, as stated in a 13 Jul 1990 LAT article. Despite Zucker’s background in comedy, Rubin met him for dinner and the two got along. They collaborated on nineteen drafts of the screenplay, with Zucker adding more levity and “twists and turns.” Ghost marked Zucker’s first solo feature film directorial effort, after co-directing Airplane! (1980, see entry), Top Secret! (1984, see entry), and Ruthless People (1986, see entry) with his brother, David Zucker, and Jim Abrahams.
       A 16 Nov 1993 Long Beach Press-Telegram item stated that actress Nicole Kidman lobbied for the role of “Molly Jensen.” According to Rubin, Kidman was given “important consideration” despite the fact that she was relatively unknown at the time. Tony Goldwyn also heavily pursued the role of “Carl Bruner,” as stated in a 20 May 1990 LAT brief, but was told that Zucker would only meet with “big names” in person. Goldwyn sent in a videotaped audition, and after months of casting, Zucker finally met with him and gave him the part.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files noted that principal photography began 24 Jul 1989 in Los Angeles, CA. Five weeks of shooting took place in New York City in the fall of 1989, at locations including Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, the SoHo district in Manhattan, Wall Street, and the subway.
       A 7 Jan 1991 HR “Hollywood Report” column cited the budget as $23 million. Although the film relied on special effects, John Van Vliet of Available Light, Ltd. stated that costs were kept to a minimum by relying on animated effects. Van Vliet pointed to the sequence in which “Sam Wheat” dies and becomes a ghost, saying that the heavenly light and “little angel dots” were animated.
       An advertisement in the 8 Jul 1990 LAT announced a sneak preview of Ghost taking place that night, when the movie was set to play on a double bill with Days of Thunder (1990, see entry) at numerous Los Angeles-area theaters.
       According to the 18 Jul 1990 HR, the film took in $12.1 million on 1,101 screens in its opening weekend. It was immediately deemed a “sleeper hit.” After 115 days of release, the 6 Nov 1990 HR reported that Ghost had surpassed Pretty Woman (1990, see entry) as the top-grossing film of the year, with box-office earnings of $180.6 million. A 5 Aug 1990 LAT article named Ghost and Pretty Woman as “the two big sleepers of 1990,” and stated that the films proved that “relatively inexpensive romantic fantasies” had as much box-office potential as costlier fantasy adventure pictures, and that females had more of a say in American movie-going habits than previously assumed. The 11 Dec 1990 HR reported that Ghost’s domestic gross was set to exceed $200 million, with a box-office gross to date of $199,942,490 after 151 days. Eight months later, an advertisement in the 6 Aug 1991 DV listed the worldwide theatrical gross as $505,000,000.
       According to the 22 Mar 1991 DV, Paramount’s home video division shipped a record-breaking 641,967 home video units, with the retail price listed at $99.95 per unit. The Ghost home video was only the second to be priced that high, after The Hunt for Red October (1990, see entry). Net profits from video sales were expected to exceed $20 million, and a $3 million advertising campaign accompanied the release, as noted in a 4 Feb 1991 HR brief
       Composer Maurice Jarre received a gold record for the soundtrack album, which sold more than 750,000 units in the U.S. and Canada as of 31 Oct 1990, according to a DV item of the same date. The Righteous Brother’s Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley experienced a resurgence of success based on the soundtrack’s popularity, according to a 24 Oct 1990 DV item. Their 1965 recording of “Unchained Melody” was number one on the adult contemporary charts at that time. Although they would not profit from soundtrack sales, as their royalty rights on previously recorded songs had been signed away, the duo re-recorded a “note-for-note replica” of “Unchained Melody” for Curb Records, as stated in a 21 Sep 1990 LAT article, to be released as a single. The Righteous Brothers were also recording a new album of their hits from the 1960s, titled The Righteous Brothers, 1990, and were set to perform several dates at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, NV.
       Ghost won Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Whoopi Goldberg), and Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen). The film also received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Film Editing, and Best Music (Original Score). In addition to her Academy Award, Whoopi Goldberg won a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by An Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, and a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. As stated in a 27 Jun 1991 DV news brief, the film won three awards at the 17th Annual Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films’ Saturn Awards: Best Fantasy Film, Best Actress (Demi Moore), and Best Supporting Actress (Whoopi Goldberg).
       A musical based on the film debuted in London, England, in Jun 2011, according to a 23 Aug 2011 LAT item, which stated that the production would begin previews on Broadway in Mar 2012. Ghost the Musical debuted at New York City’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on 23 Apr 2012, and closed four months later on 18 Aug 2012. The screenplay was adapted for the stage by Bruce Joel Rubin, and songs were written by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard.
       A 13 Nov 2013 item in HR announced an upcoming television series based on the film, to be written by Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner, and produced by Paramount’s recently re-launched television division. No further mentions of the series were found as of the writing of this note (23 Jan 2015).

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   9 Jul 1990   p. 2, 42.
Daily Variety   24 Oct 1990.   
Daily Variety   31 Oct 1990.   
Daily Variety   22 Mar 1991   p. 1, 9.
Daily Variety   27 Jun 1991.   
Daily Variety   6 Aug 1991.   
Hollywood Reporter   9 Jul 1990   p. 10, 38.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Jul 1990.   
Hollywood Reporter   6 Nov 1990   p. 1, 94.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Dec 1990.   
Hollywood Reporter   7 Jan 1991.   
Hollywood Reporter   4 Feb 1991.   
Hollywood Reporter   13 Nov 2013.   
Los Angeles Times   20 May 1990   Calendar, p. 29.
Los Angeles Times   8 Jul 1990   Calendar, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times   13 Jul 1990   p. 1.
Los Angeles Times   5 Aug 1990   Calendar, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times   21 Sep 1990   Calendar, p. 19.
Los Angeles Times   23 Aug 2011   Calendar, p. 4.
Long Beach Press-Telegram   16 Nov 1993.   
New York Times   13 Jul 1990   p. 8.
Variety   11 Jul 1990   p. 30.

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.