HOLLYWOOD, CA—A spokesperson for Paramount Pictures confirmed Tuesday that the studio will make a feature-length film version of the wildly popular "Abdomenizer®" television infomercial.
"Next summer, Bruce Willis is The Abdomenizer, a marked-for-death federal agent with nothing to lose but those unsightly love handles," Paramount vice-president of development Irwin Shuler said. "On July 4, 1999, get ready for explosive firming and toning action."
The Abdomenizer, which begins shooting next month, will star Willis as Jack Tyler, an FBI munitions expert who struggles daily with overpriced exercise equipment that just doesn't deliver. As the twin crises of losing muscle tone and turning 40 hit Tyler, a mysterious young woman comes into his life and introduces him to the Abdomenizer® muscle-toning system. As the film builds to a thrilling climax, terrorists announce that a nuclear bomb will devastate Los Angeles unless Willis can lose 10 pounds of ugly stomach flab in 48 hours.
In addition to Willis, the film will feature Gary Oldman, Lauren Holly and Kurt Russell, who appears in a supporting role as a rival munitions expert who is still using those ineffective, "gimmicky" spot-reducing devices.
Said Shuler: "The climactic scene, in which Willis rushes to defuse the bomb as Russell discovers just how easy and fun The Abdomenizer® is, will renew moviegoers' faith in the beauty of life and in their ability to lose unsightly inches off the tummy, hips and thighs in just 12 minutes a day."
Greg Renker, executive producer of The Abdomenizer, described the process by which the infomerical was brought to the big screen.
"I was very skeptical when [screenwriter] Jonathan Auster told me his idea for the film," Renker said. "I thought, 'Come on, turn an infomercial into a movie?' It sounded too good to be true! So just imagine my delight when he came up with a fantastic screenplay—the script he wrote really works!"
The $85 million film will be accompanied by a major merchandising campaign, including a line of official The Abdomenizer Abdomenizers®.
Anticipation over The Abdomenizer is so high that rival studios are already developing their own infomercial-to-film adaptations. New Line Cinema recently paid Tim Burton $22 million for his Juiceman screenplay, and Orion Pictures is in negotiations with George Foreman for a film version of The George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine.