I like to compare the making of this film to the story of The Little Engine That Could.
When producer Brian Grazer pitched the film, he was repeatedly turned down. At the time, Warner Brothers had lined up Warren Beatty to play the star in another mermaid movie. To sweeten a prospective deal with Walt Disney Productions, director Ron Howard promised to film Splash quickly and cheaply.
Howard kept his promise and produced the film on an $8 million budget. Principal photography began on March 1, 1983 and was completed by June 30, 1983.
Splash grossed $6,174,059 in its opening weekend and finished its domestic run with $69,821,334, making it the tenth highest-grossing film of 1984.
As for the film starring Warren Beatty…it eventually fell through.
Here are 10 interesting facts about this popular film:
1. Jeff Bridges, Chevy Chase, Richard Gere, Kevin Kline, Bill Murray, and John Travolta were considered for the lead role before the producers decided upon Tom Hanks.
2. Daryl Hannah was Producers’ Choice #11. Tatum O’Neal, Michelle Pfeiffer, Lynne Frederick, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Genie Francis, Melanie Griffith, Fiona Fullerton, Diane Lane, Kathleen Turner, and Sharon Stone turned down the part of Madison.
3. The beach where Tom Hanks first encounters the nude mermaid is on the former Gorda Cay in the Bahamas.
4. During childhood, Daryl Hannah swam “mermaid” style with her legs bound together.
5. The elaborately designed mermaid tail by Academy Award-winning visual effects artist Robert Short was fully functional, allowing Daryl to swim so fast her safety team could not keep pace with her.
6. The mermaid tail had to be glued onto Daryl before being hand painted, a detailed process that took eight hours. To avoid using the bathroom, Daryl ate and drank very little. She stayed in her water tank and accepted bits of food thrown by the cast and crew.
7. Unfortunately, the tail decomposed very quickly after the movie’s release. Despite its decomposed state, it was put on display in a glass showcase at Planet Hollywood in Orlando, Florida.
8. The name “Madison” rose in popularity soon after the release of Splash. In 1990, it was the 216th most popular name for girls. Five years later, it rose to #29 and by 2000 had become the third most popular female name in the United States.
9. Well received by critics, Splash earned a 92% “Fresh” rating from the website Rotten Tomatoes.
10. Over three decades later, Daryl is still recognized by fans (many of whom have been named after her character Madison) of the 1984 romantic comedy.