20 Prehistoric Facts You Probably Never Knew About The Flintstones Movie
Since the 1960s, The Flintstones cartoons have entertained millions of children around the world.
Being set in the Stone Age helped to make The Flintstones timeless, so the humour lasted and we could all enjoy the show, whether we saw it the first time, or when our parents introduced us to it having grown up with it themselves.
In the mid-90s, special effects had advanced enough to allow a live-action movie version of the Flintstones to be made. And now, let’s take a look back at 1994’s Flintstones movie with some facts you may not have known.
20. Steven Spielberg wanted Danny DeVito to play Barney
Executive Producer of The Flintstones, Steven Spielberg, initially wanted Danny DeVito to star as Barney Rubble.
He even approached the star to get him on board, but to no avail.
Danny DeVito turned down the opportunity, feeling his acting style was too rough for the role.
Instead, DeVito suggested that Rick Moranis would be perfect for the role.
We can’t imagine anyone else playing the role of Barney Rubble, but we’re betting DeVito would have done a pretty good job.
19. Glass was banned from the set because the actors were playing their parts barefoot
Health and safety is of the utmost importance, and the crew went to great lengths to ensure no one was injured during the filming of The Flintstones.
If you’ve watched the film, you probably noticed that most of the characters appear barefoot throughout.
This meant that any glassware was banned from the set to prevent any potential injuries occurring.
Luckily, people in the actual Stone Age probably didn’t have to worry about stepping in glass…
However, it could be said that they had rocks to contend with.
18. Mel Blanc voices Dino – despite the actor having died five years before the film’s release
For the original Flintstones cartoons, Mel Blanc provided the voice of Dino, the Flintstones’ pet dinosaur.
Recordings of Blanc from the cartoon were used for the movie’s Dino as well.
This meant that Blanc was credited for the role in spite of having passed away in 1989, five years before the film’s release.
Dino certainly wasn’t the only high-profile animated character voiced by Blanc.
He was also the original voice of Woody Woodpecker, as well as a vocal effects man for both Tom and Jerry.
17. The bowling scene was added at the last minute
The bowling alley sequence was almost not included in the final movie.
However, it was added last minute for fear of outrage from viewers missing out on some Fred bowling action.
Fred is so well known for his ‘twinkle toes’ in the original cartoons that the producers didn’t want to leave it out.
There is also a reference to The Three Wise Monkeys during this scene: see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil.
After Fred bowls his winning strike, three men from a competing lodge pose in a particular way: one puts his hands over his eyes, the second puts his hands over his ears, and the third puts his hands over his mouth.
16. John Goodman had to shoot the film in between seasons of Roseanne
At the time of filming The Flintstones, John Goodman was a busy actor.
At the time, Goodman was best known for starring in the American sitcom Roseanne alongside Roseanne Barr.
The Flinstones movie had to be completely filmed in the break between season six and season seven of the sitcom to ensure Goodman’s availability.
Apparently, the movie would not have even been made if it were not for Goodman.
The Flintstones movie had been in the works for several years, but did not come to fruition until Goodman agreed to take part.
15. John Goodman was Steven Spielberg’s only choice to play Fred
Whilst casting The Flintstones, many actors were briefly considered for the role of Fred, some more seriously than others.
John Goodman was always the first, and only real choice to play the leading role for Steven Spielberg.
Goodman later revealed that he felt ‘sandbagged’ into taking the role after Spielberg had publicly announced he wanted him for the part.
Years prior, at a table reading for his 1989 film Always, Spielberg made an announcement, saying ‘ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to say something before we start: I’ve found my Fred Flintstone’.
According to Goodman, ‘it was ‘not a role I was looking forward to doing”, but he said the experience was ‘fun’.
14. The Bedrock set cost $4.5 million
For The Flintstones movie, a massive set had to be created for the town of Bedrock.
In total, Bedrock took two months to build and cost the production approximately $4.5 million.
This accounted for a whopping 10% of the film’s $45,000,000 budget.
This was not the only expense to eat into the film’s budget, however.
Writers Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel took home a staggering $100,000 for just two days’ work spent carrying out revisions on the Flintstones screenplay.
13. The director was a huge Flintstones fan, with museum-level memorabilia
When choosing who the producers wanted to direct the movie, Brian Levant was an obvious choice.
Still reeling from the success of the last film he directed, Beethoven, Levant was raring to go.
He was a huge Flintstones fan himself, reportedly owning a large collection of Flintstones merchandise.
His impressive collection even includes a rare 1962 Barney Rubble doll with green hair.
He also owns a replica of Fred and Wilma’s stone abode with a slab roof that when removed reveals a cereal bowl.
12. Rosie O’Donnell took her Betty inspiration from the cartoon
When auditioning for the role of Betty Rubble, Rosie O’Donnell was not considered to be a great match for the role.
However, when she auditioned she showed she had perfected some of Betty’s traits from the cartoons, including her signature laugh.
It was ultimately the director’s wife who landed O’Donnell the part, according to the actress herself.
After Alison Levant, director Brian Levant’s wife, saw O’Donnell perform, she told her husband that she had ‘found Betty Rubble’.
O’Donnell then cracked on with perfecting Betty’s trademark laugh, as well as standing exactly how Betty would.
11. Halle Berry’s role was originally named ‘Sharon Stone’, after the actor the producers wanted
In early drafts of the screenplay, Fred’s secretary was originally named Sharon Stone, and actress Sharon Stone was asked to play the role herself.
However, Stone ultimately had to turn the part of Sharon Stone down due to scheduling conflicts.
Ten years after The Flintstones movie, Berry would go on to star in Catwoman opposite the real Stone.
Stone was not the only actress to be offered the part before Berry, either.
The part of Sharon Stone was also offered to Nicole Kidman, while Anna Nicole Smith was also considered.
10. The film was written by approximately 35 different screenwriters
According to industry estimates, director Brian Levant hired a record-breaking number of screenwriters to work on the Flinstones movie.
In total, some 35 screenwriters worked on the screenplay, although only three were actually credited.
The 35-strong screenplay crew was formed when Levant was hired, after which he put together an ‘all star’ writing team.
This consisted of writers who had worked on projects such as Family Ties, Night Court and Happy Days.
After each draft of The Flintstones was written, a ’round table’ ensued, each one attended by a new talent to add their ideas and perspective.
9. It was Elizabeth Taylor’s final movie
Elizabeth Taylor is one of the most iconic actresses of the 20th century, having started her career as a child actress in the late 1940s.
Having conquered Hollywood in the 50s and 60s, however, by the 90s Taylor’s acting career was somewhat dwindling.
In order to entice her into taking a role in The Flintstones movie, the studio promised to donate the proceedings from the premiere to her AIDS foundation.
Taylor readily agreed, the film marking her return to the big screen after a six-year hiatus.
The Flinstones would be Taylor’s final appearance in a theatrical feature film before her death in 2011.
8. Elizabeth Taylor was paid in extravagant gifts
While not officially a queen, Elizabeth Taylor was still, as Hollywood royalty, considered somewhat regal in her day.
It seems people’s doting attitudes towards her extended on to the Flinstones set, too.
On her first day, Taylor was presented with 30 bouquets of flowers (we can only hope she didn’t suffer from hay fever).
Taylor also received a Cartier watch, a prehistoric bowling ball with her name engraved on it and a bottle of her own Passion perfume.
The perfume was actually redesigned in Bedrock-style fashion and can be seen in the film.
7. It was one of the first films to feature a CGI furry
These days, we’re used to seeing an influx of sophisticated CGI animals and even people on-screen.
Back in the early 90s, however, such a sight wasn’t quite as common, owing to the limits of technology at the time.
The Flintstone’s sabre-toothed cat was one of the first, if not the first, CGI furry creature to be featured in a movie.
Realising the creature was no easy feat, and required a lot of planning and high tech equipment.
A complex algorithm had to be developed in order to calculate the movement of every single piece of hair on the cat.
6. John Candy was considered for the role of Fred
John Candy is often thought of as the ‘funny man’ of the 80s, and is a firm childhood favourite for many eighties kids.
Perhaps best known for his role as the lovable but troubled Uncle Buck in the movie of the same name, Candy reduced his audiences to fits of laughter.
Before Goodman was scouted for the role, Candy was a strong contender for the role of Fred Flintstone.
The original TV series had been Candy’s favourite cartoon, but sadly he passed away in March 1994, two months before the live-action movie was released.
In a curious twist of fate, Goodman was also considered for the role of Uncle Buck before Candy landed the part.
5. There is a reference to Uruguayan Air Force Flight 71
When Fred first arrives home from the quarry in the Flinstones movie, he sits in his recliner and starts to read the newspaper.
Eagle-eyed viewers might just have spotted the headline that reads Pterodactyl Crashes into Andes, Eats Rugby Team to Survive.
This is a reference to Uruguayan Air Force Flight 71 which made news when it crashed into the Andes mountains on Friday, October 13th, 1972.
The team were trapped on the mountainside for 72 days, quickly running out of food and water.
This meant that the survivors resorted to eating the dead, who had given permission prior to their deaths.
4. The film received negative reviews
Despite being based on a much-loved classic, the film failed to make the impact it intended.
The movie received largely negative reviews, with one major complaint being that the storylines were not appropriate for the audience.
This included topics such as extramarital affairs, office problems and mother-in-law disputes, which it was felt children wouldn’t understand.
However, it wasn’t all bad news. Some critics praised the film’s loyalty to the original cartoon, the costumes and Goodman’s performance.
Alas, the consensus on Rotten Tomatoes still reads: ‘The Flintstones wastes beloved source material and imaginative production design on a tepid script that plunks Bedrock’s favourite family into a cynical story awash with lame puns.’
3. McDonalds built a massive marketing campaign around the movie
After the film’s release, McDonald’s decided to use The Flinstones to their advantage and market a number of promotions.
This included the return of the McRib sandwich and the Grand Poobah Meal combo.
They also threw in a line of premium glass mugs, and toys based on characters and locations from the film.
In the commercials and released items for the Flintstones promotion, McDonald’s was renamed ‘RocDonald’s’.
The ads featured Stone Age imagery, which bore stark resemblance to other businesses and names in the Flintstones franchise.
2. It was a box office smash
Despite its failure to gain critical approval, the film performed surprisingly well at the box office.
The Flinstones grossed $130,531,208 domestically, including the $37,182,745 it made during its 4-day Memorial Weekend opening weekend in 1994.
The film’s international performance was even more successful, surpassing all expectations.
The Flinstones made another $211,100,000 internationally, making a total of $341,631,208 worldwide.
This meant that the film raked in more than seven times its original budget of $46 million.
1. There was a prequel
You might have thought the reception to the Flinstones film might have put the producer off making a prequel.
However, The Flinstones also made a lot of money, so of course producers were inspired to have another shot.
The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas was released in 2000, although it did not feature the original cast.
Rosie O’Donnell returned to provide the voice of an octopus who gives younger versions of Wilma and Betty a massage.
The film received marginally more positive reviews than its predecessor, although it was unsuccessful at the box office, ending any chance of a franchise.