Released in 1984, and starring a pre-Robocop Peter Weller, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension didn’t catch on during its initial release, but currently enjoys a devoted following.
Banzai was directed by W.D. Richter, who wrote a number of wonderfully quirky movies in the ’70’s and ’80’s that deserve a second look today, like the comedy Slither, the ’78 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the ’79 remake of Dracula with Frank Langella, the prison drama Brubaker, and John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China.
Recently, Richter spoke to Moviefone about Banzai as the movie hit its anniversary, and also mentioned that no, Big Trouble in Little China was not a sequel to Banzai.
As such, there’s still interest in a sequel, which was promised at the end of the film, and “if the movie had gone out to make a fortune, we would have made it.”
Warner Brothers wants to do an adult animated version of the character, but Richter said “the paper trial for the rights is almost impossible to follow.”
Whether Banzai will ever return or not, Richter told Shock Cinema magazine, “The thing that amazes me is that Buckaroo’s fans are not just geeks. I find they’re a much more eclectic assemblage of people. There’s a sensibility it cuts across, and I can’t predict anymore who is going to like it and why they’re going to like it, but it does get under people’s skin. It hits people in a lot of ways, but the best way it hits them is when it appeals to this sense of community that says you and your friends can do good things, do decent things, and have a ball doing it.
“There’s something undeniably appealing about it, and that’s what caused all the fan-clubs to come together,” Richter continues. “They talked to each other in code names. ‘We can call ourselves the Blue Blazer Regulars or Team Banzai. It’s like play acting in a fun way, and that’s why on the DVD we treat it as if Buckaroo is real, so that you’re saying to the fans: ‘Come on board. It’s a big fantasy world. Have fun with it.’ It’s like joining Captain Midnight’s club, you can get a decoder ring!”