I love a movie with a gimmick. We talked recently about one of my favorites, Clue.
Today I want to talk about Million Dollar Mystery another oddball film with a completely different gimmick:
This was no ORDINARY movie it was also a contest.
AND A COMMERCIAL FOR TRASH BAGS.
Million Dollar Mystery: THE CONTEST was cosponsored by Dino De Laurentiis and Glad Bags, offering a million bucks a lucky moviegoer.
First, let me tell you about Dino De Laurentiis. Dino is a crazy old man who is partially responsible for just about every action film ever made.
He actually had little to do with this film, but was ALL over the gimmick.
Here is the basic plot of the film:
A bunch of oddball characters are eating in a diner when a man named Sidney Preston has a heart attack. Before he dies, he tells them about $4 million bucks that he received from the Libyan government. He also mentions that he hid it in four bags under bridges across the country.
At the end of the film three of the four bags of cash have been claimed. This left ONE MILLION DOLLARS to the person clever enough to figure out where it was.
All moviegoers were given a game card when they entered the theater. The card was shaped like a dollar bill, only instead of George Washington it featured Dino De Laurentiis.
The stars of the film were a unique gaggle of comic actors including Rich Hall and Eddie Deezen. It also featured Tom Bosley as Sydney Preston.
Tom Bosley was the spokesman for Glad Bags at the time so it shouldn't surprise anyone that he chose to use Glad Bags to hide the money in. In fact Glad Bags are the real star of the film as they get more mentions and screen time than any of the actors involved.
The REAL million dollars was not ACTUALLY hidden any place, but it was awarded to a California woman who correctly guessed that it was hidden under the bridge of the Statue of Liberty's nose.
By the way, watching the film really doesn't give you that many clues to go on. To actually find the money you needed to buy Glad Bags to get more clues.
So, was the contest a success? Well, it grossed $989,033 at the box office.
I am not really good at math, but let me see if I can figure out if the film made any money:
$989,033 (gross of film)
-$1,000,000 (prize money)
+$500 (in free trash bags given to the crew)
-$500 (Rich Hall's salary)
+ PRICELESS (Dino's face on the one dollar bill)
= Over 50 BILLION DOLLARS!!!
Congratulations to Million Dollar Mystery for becoming the biggest film of all time! We at bunchojunk.com salute you!