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Hops and Box Office Flops: ‘TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III – A Not So Tubular Trip through Time’

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In the 1980s and into the 90s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a legitimate phenomenon. Based on a comic of the same name, the immense popularity of the “Heroes in a Half Shell” would spawn countless action figures, a cartoon series (that ran for 10 seasons!), a concert tour/album, a live-action television show, and, of course, big screen movies.

If that sounds like the over-commercialization of something, well, that’s because it was. By the time Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III hit screens, the titular protagonists had jumped the Street Sharks (just one of the many properties they inspired). 

Premiering in 1993, six years after the cartoon version began, III would gross just over $42 million. On a budget of roughly $21 million, that doesn’t sound too bad. Yet if you consider that it made over $35 million less than The Secret of the Ooze (its predecessor) and nearly $100 million less domestically than the original, a disturbing trend appears. Unlike the brothers insatiable love for pizza, the audience had had its fill.

And like the box office receipts, reviews had also started to sag. Deservedly so. III is a mess of a movie. Nonsensically plotted, it’s nothing more than poorly scripted pop culture jokes layered atop increasingly cheap looking creature effects. As a child obsessed with these characters, it was a deflating watch then and remains so now. 

This may all sound a bit drab, but III is good for one thing: Spirited comedic banter about its many faults!

So sit back, grab a SuperEIGHT Super Gose from Dogfish Head, sharpen up those nunchaku skills (unless you’re in the UK), and enjoy, as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla wax our shells to throw down with a host of bland, generic samurai, who offer zero of the nostalgia from Ninja Turtles lore!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – Major league butt kicking is back in town! Its target: the train wreck that is this movie. (00:00)
  • Our Awesome, Righteous, Bossanova … Chevy Nova Turtles Trivia Challenge – Noting this film’s distinct lack of T-U-R-T-L-E Power, I challenge Capt. Cash and Chumpzilla to trivia about all other things TMNT-inspired. (43:18)
  • Recommendations and Our Most Coveted Turtles Toy – Along with our picks for the week, we share the Ninja Turtles action figure that we prized the most. (1:11:17)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—the Turtles day-time talk show appearance, which famous TV producer wrote the cartoon’s themeMaster Tatsu’s video game debut, and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!

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Thomas L. Kelly

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