|Under the Cherry Moon|
Theatrical release poster
|Screenplay by||Becky Johnston|
|Music by||Prince and The Revolution|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$10.1 million|
Under the Cherry Moon is a 1986 American musical film directed by and starring Prince in his directorial debut. The film also stars former The Time member Jerome Benton, Steven Berkoff, Kristin Scott Thomas (in her feature film debut), and Francesca Annis. The film was a critical and commercial failure, winning five Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Picture, tying with Howard the Duck. But, despite that, its soundtrack album, entitled Parade, went platinum, selling over a million copies.
Gigolos Christopher Tracy (Prince) and his brother, Tricky (Jerome Benton), swindle wealthy French women. The situation gets complicated when Christopher falls in love with heiress Mary Sharon (Kristin Scott Thomas) after planning to swindle her when he finds out that she receives a $50 million trust fund on her 21st birthday. Mary's father Isaac disapproves of the romance and provides an excellent adversary for Christopher. Christopher rivals his brother Tricky for the affection of Mary.
The film was originally slated to be directed by Mary Lambert, the director behind some of Madonna's and Janet Jackson's most popular music videos, but after disagreements about the film's direction, Prince took over directing himself. Lambert is listed as a creative consultant in the film's credits.
The cast was also changed during pre-production. Prince originally had planned to have Susannah Melvoin (sister of Revolution member Wendy Melvoin, as well as Prince's girlfriend at the time) play Mary Sharon, but it was clear she couldn't act and was replaced by Kristin Scott Thomas (in her feature debut).
Under the Cherry Moon, along with its soundtrack album, marked the first of many recorded collaborations between Prince and jazz keyboardist/composer-arranger Clare Fischer, whose orchestral arrangements had by this time become much in demand by pop and R&B acts, stemming from his initial arrangements for Rufus and Chaka Khan in the early 1970s. Appearing in the credits as "Orchestra Composed and Arranged by...," Fischer's contribution was further acknowledged by Prince in both the film's closing titles and the album's liner notes:
Under the Cherry Moon failed to gain any breakout audience, regardless of much pre-publicity including a special MTV premiere in Sheridan, Wyoming. It was held there after a fan won a contest to have the film shown in her hometown. The film earned $3,150,924 in its opening weekend from 976 venues, ranking #11 at the domestic box office (according to the Daily Variety Chart), and the fourth-highest among the weekend's new releases. At the end of its run, the film's final domestic gross was $10,090,429.
The film received generally negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it currently holds a 34% score based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 3.9/10. The site's consensus states: "Under the Cherry Moon may satisfy the most rabid Prince fans, but everyone else will be better served with this vanity project's far superior soundtrack."
In 2016, Peter Sobczynski, writing for Roger Ebert's website, wrote a reappraisal of Under the Cherry Moon, calling it a better film than Purple Rain, and stating that the film's negative reception at the time had been the result of people expecting this film to be like Prince's previous film.
The film was a multiple winner at the 7th Golden Raspberry Awards, winning five awards. The categories were: Worst Picture (tied with Howard the Duck), Worst Actor and Worst Director (Prince), Worst Supporting Actor (Jerome Benton), and Worst Original Song ("Love or Money"). It was also nominated for Worst Supporting Actress and Worst New Star (Kristin Scott Thomas), and Worst Screenplay.
Under the Cherry Moon was first released on DVD on February 8, 2005. The film was released on Blu-ray for the first time on October 4, 2016 separately in a purple case and as part of the Prince Movie Collection.