Critically mauled on release, this box-office turkey shouldn’t have much to recommend, however it’s good old fashioned fun, and whilst not in the same league as other 80s gems as Gremlins and Back to the Future, there is much to enjoy in Howard the Duck.
The film was directed by Willard Huyck, who wrote the screenplay along with his wife Gloria Katz. The pair were long-time George Lucas collaborators and screenwriters of American Graffiti, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and the little seen 1990s Lucas effort, The Radioland Murders. After Howard, Huyck never returned to the director’s chair.
Howard the Duck is an iconic film. The problem being that it is an iconic film for all the wrong reasons. Released in 1986, Howard (which is based on a 1970s Marvel Comic) had a huge budget, it was produced by Star Wars mastermind George Lucas and it was expected to be a huge earner at the box office.
This sadly wasn’t the case and the $37 million budgeted film only grossed $16 million in US cinemas, placing it in the capable company of Ishtar as one of the 1980s legendary duds. Not only that, but the critics took to the film like a duck to oil and savaged the film.