Murphy assisted in developing the story with writers Barry W. Blaustein and David Sheffield, having worked with the writing duo since his days on Saturday Night Live. Murphy hired Hudlin to direct Boomerang, following the latter's success with his debut film House Party (1990). Hudlin and the writers aimed to create a romantic comedy that differed strongly from Murphy's previous comic efforts. Filming took place mainly in New York City, while other scenes were filmed in Washington, D.C.
Advertisement executive Marcus tells his assistant to send flowers to nine different women, with cards reading "only thinking of you". When he enters his office, Nelson, one of the creative minds also in Marcus' department, shows Marcus a re-cut of an ad. Marcus tells Nelson he must re-edit the risqué ad, as some of the material may be offensive to women and may also cause problems with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Nelson reluctantly agrees.
The next day, Marcus meets Lady Eloise, who will soon be acquiring the company in a business merger. She suggests that Marcus may be promoted and invites him to her home. Marcus realizes she intends to have her way with him, and, thinking of the promotion, spends the night with her. The next day at work, he meets Jacqueline Broyer (Robin Givens), a beautiful woman who tells Marcus that Lady Eloise is a figurehead who uses her image to her advantage. Marcus realizes that Jacqueline is going to be given the job he wanted and will soon become his boss.
At the merger party, Marcus tells his friends Tyler and Gerard he is considering resigning over not getting the promotion. While there, Jacqueline introduces him to Angela Lewis, who works in the art department, and tells him the two of them should be working together. Everyone is introduced to Strangé, the wild fashion diva who has been chosen as the new face of Lady Eloise Cosmetics. While looking for Jacqueline, Marcus bumps into Angela, and when he spots Jacqueline, introduces Angela to Gerard so that he can go and catch up with her. Though Jacqueline tells him she does not date co-workers, Marcus believes he will be the exception because of her flirtatiousness.
Jacqueline tells Marcus they should go over some of their work together, and Marcus suggests they do it at his place over dinner. Marcus finds out Angela and Gerard will be going out that night. Both couples meet that evening, and, Gerard, who is not as successful with women as Marcus, ends up having the better evening with Angela, while Jacqueline and Marcus eat dinner in front of the TV, which does not leave much time for them to establish any sort of chemistry. Later, the two are sent on a business trip in New Orleans, and they eventually have sex while there.
Assuming they are now a couple, Marcus is shocked when Jacqueline is unenthusiastic and suggests taking their relationship slowly. While he feels he is falling in love, he does not understand how she can be so careless and inconsiderate about his feelings. After Marcus discovers Jacqueline has discussed their personal business with Strangé, he tells Jacqueline they should take a break for a while. Jacqueline bluntly tells Marcus, "It's over." Distraught about their breakup, Marcus' work ethic begins to lag, and after he ruins a major business proposal Jacqueline gives him a few weeks off work to get himself together.
Marcus hangs out with Angela, who tries to bring him out of his funk. On Thanksgiving, Marcus, Angela, Tyler, Gerard, and Gerard's parents meet for dinner. While eating, Angela and Gerard deny being a couple when Gerard's father assumes they are. When everyone else leaves, Marcus and Angela clean up and fall asleep on the couch together. When they wake up, the two make out. While out with Gerard and Tyler, Marcus tells Gerard he and Angela are going out together, which upsets Gerard, knowing Marcus' past with women.
Marcus, now much more relaxed and confident, becomes very attractive to Jacqueline again, and as he had not put away his feelings for her, the two sleep together. The next day, Angela confronts Marcus about his whereabouts. Upset by how Marcus makes himself out to be the victim, Angela angrily leaves. Marcus tries to go back to Jacqueline, then realizes his feelings for her are not the same as his love for Angela. Later, Marcus talks to Gerard, and Gerard tells him that Angela got a promotion at a new company. Marcus apologizes to Gerard, and the two make up for their argument. He goes to Angela's new job, and though at first she is very cold towards him, she finally forgives him, and the two get back together.Eddie Murphy as Marcus GrahamRobin Givens as Jacqueline BroyerHalle Berry as Angela LewisDavid Alan Grier as Gerard JacksonMartin Lawrence as Tyler HawkinsGrace Jones as Helen StrangéGeoffrey Holder as NelsonEartha Kitt as Lady EloiseChris Rock as Bony TTisha Campbell as YvonneLela Rochon as Christie
Eddie Murphy created the original idea for the film, which he took to writers Barry Blaustein and David Sheffield, both of whom he had been working with during his days at Saturday Night Live. After they finished the first draft of the script and were given the greenlight on the project, Murphy offered the directing job to Reginald Hudlin, who had previously found critical and commercial success with his debut film House Party. For Boomerang, Hudlin said that, from a creative standpoint, he really wanted to take Murphy "somewhere where he's never been before," and that he and the writers' goal was to "put Eddie through paces. To have him have an arc like most characters in movies do, where he's not just the Br'er Rabbit character starting trouble," and to put him in a situation that "allows him to have a genuine obstacle."
Woody Omens, the cinematographer of the film, was insisted upon by Murphy, who had previously worked with him on Harlem Nights. Earl Watson worked as the film's main editor, and had previously worked with Hudlin on House Party. Francine Jamison-Tanchuck worked as the film's costume designer.
The intention was to give Murphy's character Marcus Graham a cool, yet sophisticated style. "So typically when it comes to black characters, either you have to be a successful, smart business person, or you're hip, but you're never both," said Hudlin. "And one of the reasons why the movie has had such enduring popularity is because the character is both. He's much more in the Cary Grant mode of business person." While working on the characterization of the main character, Hudlin came up with the foot gag, which was used as a plot device to show the arc of the character's growth. It originated from a joke between the director and his friends about a man who's so picky about women that he even looks at their back teeth. "So it's like, how do we define that Eddie's a back teeth kind of guy? So I came upon the idea of showing feet. That no matter how beautiful this woman is, if she has messed up feet, he's out of there." Also, Hudlin said that "we know he's evolved into a higher level of consciousness when he doesn't even notice what Halle Berry's feet look like." The character Angela's art class was an idea the filmmakers had to put Murphy in a context where he could interact with kids, which he hadn't done prior to this film.
The cast rehearsed for two weeks before production started, which the director said "really created that sense of team, and everyone playing off each other and everyone having that comfort level." Murphy even told Hudlin that he hadn't rehearsed since his days at SNL, and that he was going to rehearse for all of his movies from then on.
The scene in which Marcus changes his mind while with Jacqueline was a major rewrite to the script. According to Hudlin, in the original draft, Eddie's character Marcus "never decides anything, things are decided for him by the different women. So, we finally realized he had to make an affirmative choice. Going through the script with a buddy of mine, we talked about it, and my buddy Tre said 'look, he's got to make a decision.' And I said, 'you're right. He's got to reject her, and choose her.' And it seems so obvious now, I'm like 'what's wrong with me? What was wrong with all of us that it took us so long to figure out what we really needed to do to fix the movie?'
Hudlin knew immediately that he wanted Halle Berry for the role of Angela after she came in and did the reading, and was nervous that Murphy wouldn't like her. Berry had appeared in a couple of films prior to being cast in Boomerang. However, after Berry performed her screen test, Murphy told Hudlin "well, that's it. There's no need to see the other two actresses because she's the part." Executives at Paramount Pictures were nervous about Robin Givens being cast in such a major role in the film, as she was disliked by many in the general public at the time because of her past relationship with Mike Tyson. Hudlin however, "thought that actually made her perfect for the role, that she was this formidable person, and a match for Eddie Murphy, who also had an increpid reputation as a ladies' man. So, I wanted the audience to feel like this would be a fair fight."
David Alan Grier and Martin Lawrence were cast as Murphy's best friends in the film. At the time, Grier was well known for the show In Living Color. About him, Hudlin said, "I think he is an absolutely underrated genius. I think he is Steve Martin level funny, and it's too bad more people don't know how to use his comic gift, because he is absolutely brilliant." Lawrence was brought on to the project after first working with Hudlin on House Party, which was his first major role in a film. Bebe Drake-Massey and John Witherspoon had played a couple in House Party, and were reunited for the film, this time playing the character Gerard's parents. Tisha Campbell also worked with Hudlin on House Party, and was brought on board to play Murphy's obnoxious, and somewhat obsessive, neighbor. While on the set, Hudlin would always rave about Campbell and Lawrence, and Murphy suggested Hudlin do a film with the two of them. Lawrence, who was developing his television show at the time, overheard the two actors talking, and decided to cast Campbell as his girlfriend and later wife, Gina, for his hit sitcom Martin.
Grace Jones was cast in a role that was essentially written as a parody of herself. Of her work ethic, Hudlin said that "she was always 100% committed, and would do the absolute craziest thing at any given time. She was absolutely perfect for the role. It was written for her, and she came in very humble, very sweet."
Eartha Kitt was the hardest person to cast for the film, as she was somewhat offended by her character's tone in the original script. Eventually she accepted the role, after some of the more tasteless jokes in the script were changed or removed. Hudlin however did say that "she was great to work with," and that "she really got into the spirit of it, and was a lot of fun."
Lela Rochon, who was known for her role in Murphy's 1989 film Harlem Nights, was brought back for a small role in Boomerang. Chris Rock, who was a protege of Murphy's, and had acted in small roles in a few other films at the time, was also given a bit part. The role of Lady Eloise's butler was played by Jonathan Hicks, a friend of the director's, who replaced a sick actor at the last minute. Hicks was a reporter for The New York Times, not an actor, and took the role as a favor to Hudlin.
Three of the actors in this film have starred in the James Bond 007 films. This includes Geoffrey Holder (Baron Samedi from the film Live and Let Die), Grace Jones (May Day from the film A View to a Kill), and Halle Berry (Giacinta "Jinx" Johnson from the film Die Another Day).
The majority of the film was shot in New York City during the winter. Although it was very cold, the director said that it was still "great to actually be in the city and get that authentic New York flavor." Most of the film was done on real location as well. Interior scenes which took place at Marcus' workplace were shot in the old Univision building that had been repainted for production. The scene in Lady Eloise's bedroom was shot at the Park Plaza Hotel, in a suite personally redesigned by Ivana Trump, which accounts for the unique styling.
Although director Hudlin was willing to let his actors improvise, he made sure to keep boundaries and rules to it, so that the jokes wouldn't lead to nowhere. He explained that once the actors "get a sense that someone will tell them if something doesn't work, or that we're getting too far afield, then they feel comfortable doing what they do. So, that's the balance that we struck."
Production went very well, and as expected with so many comic actors and personalities around, was very lively. During production, Hudlin said that whenever David Alan Grier and Martin Lawrence worked, the film's crew usually worked a little slower because wherever they were, there would be so much comedy being generated and they were so funny that everyone wanted to hang out near where they were throughout the day. In the scene where the new fragrance is being presented to Strangé, the director said that "what Grace was doing on the set while we were shooting was so funny that I remember Halle crying off camera, cause she was trying to keep a straight face but she couldn't. So whenever she was off-camera, she would just be literally crying because she was laughing so hard. And fortunately, for her reaction shots she was able to recover."
An extra scene, involving Jones taking off her chain-metal dress which is ringing off the metal detectors and walking through them naked, was shot in Newark Airport. However, the filmmakers felt it to be too shocking, to the point where it threw the rhythm of the picture off, so they only used it in the small clip being edited for the perfume commercial.
The scene late in the film where Grier, Lawrence, and Murphy hug in front of the Empire State Building was shot around one or two o'clock in the morning, when the lights are usually shut off. If the filmmakers had them shut off at their command, it would have cost them $40–$60,000, so instead Hudlin had the three hug, and the lights were eventually shut off as usual. When editing the film, they simply reversed the footage to make it appear as if the lights were being turned on. The filmmakers even thought about ending the movie at this point, deciding instead to go with Marcus attempting to win back Angela's affection. For this, an alternate ending was shot where Angela is teaching the kids at the school and Marcus comes, talks to her and eventually wins her back; the filmmakers thought it was slow and uninteresting, and eventually came up with the released version.
Near the production's end, some scenes that still needed to be shot were done in Washington, D.C., where Murphy was also shooting The Distinguished Gentleman. Originally, some of the film was to take place in the Caribbean, and scenes were to be shot there. However, the setting was changed to New Orleans, and the scenes taking place there were shot in D.C.
Marcus Miller produced the original score for the film, while Antonio "L. A." Reid and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds worked on the soundtrack. With such a wealth of new material, director Hudlin said, "sometimes we used score, sometimes we'd use a song by L.A. and Face, or sometimes Marcus would take some of the songs they had written and do score interpolations of it. For example, one of the songs, "Love Shoulda Brought You Home", is a great example. That came from a line of dialogue where Halle is furious with Eddie, says 'love should've brought your ass home last night,' slaps him. At that time, L.A. leans over to me and goes 'that's a great song title.' I said, 'great idea.' They write a song, "Love Shoulda Brought You Home". I said, 'well, who we going to get to sing it?' And they said 'well you know, we've got this great young singer who sang the demo, Reggie. If you like the demo then we can use her.' And I said 'great, let's use her.' So that was Toni Braxton's debut. And I remember when I finally met Toni at Babyface's wedding, L.A. said, 'you owe your career to this guy, he gave you your big break,' which was really sweet."
The soundtrack album reached the number 4 spot on the Billboard 200, and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It included multiple singles that charted in their own right, the most successful of which was Boyz II Men's "End of the Road", which went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and stayed there for thirteen weeks, breaking Elvis Presley's previous record of eleven weeks with his version of "Hound Dog".
The production was very demanding, including an expensive wardrobe budget, which Hudlin felt was completely worth the price. "The clothing in the movie is incredible, for both the men and the women. Eddie looks great, Robin and Halle look great. Great hair, great makeup work for all concerned, cause we wanted it to look fantastic. We wanted to give people a level of production value they hadn't seen for Eddie's first foray into true romantic comedy."
François Truffaut's Jules and Jim was an influence on the story arc between the characters Angela, Gerard and Marcus. Director Hudlin explained, "I remember when I saw Jules and Jim when I was a kid, and that awkward, awkward feeling of two guys, one has a better time with girls than the other, and they both fall in love with the same woman. And I remember the agony of watching the emotional stakes of that picture. And, this is just a fun movie, not trying to compare myself to Truffaut on any level, but, at least, that's what inspired the moment."
The pacing and rhythm of Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday was a big influence on the pictures style. Woody Allen's Annie Hall was also very influential while Hudlin worked on the project because, according to Hudlin, "if you talk about contemporary romantic comedy, you're really talking about Annie Hall."
On its opening weekend, the film earned $13,640,706, and ranked #3 at the box office. It also ranked #3 the two following weekends. By the end of its theatrical run, the film had grossed over $70 million domestically, and $61 million outside of the U.S., making a total of $131,052,444. It was the 18th highest grossing film in the U.S. in 1992.
At Allmovie, the film was given 2½ stars, and called "imbalanced" and "uneven." At Metacritic, it has averaged a 45% rating from critics. Based on 29 reviews, the film has been given a 38% rating from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film and its stars positive reviews, calling the movie "predictable but enjoyable all the same." In 2005, the film was ranked number 21 on BET's Top 25 Movies In the Last 25 Years list.
Awards and nominations1993 BMI Film & TV Awards
Most Performed Song from a Film: Antonio "L.A." Reid, Daryl Simmons
, and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds for End of the Road
)1993 MTV Movie Awards
Best Breakthrough Performance: Halle Berry (nominated)Best Comedic Performance: Eddie Murphy (nominated)Best Movie Song: Boyz II Men, End of the Road
(nominated)Most Desirable Female: Halle Berry (nominated)