Addams Family Values

Addams Family Values is a 1993 American comedy film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and written by Paul Rudnick, based on the characters created by Charles Addams. It is the sequel to The Addams Family (1991). The film features many cast members from the original, including Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci, Carel Struycken, Jimmy Workman, and Christopher Hart. Joan Cusack plays a serial killer who marries Uncle Fester (Lloyd) intending to murder him for his inheritance, while teenagers Wednesday (Ricci) and Pugsley (Workman) are sent to summer camp. Included in the soundtrack is "Supernatural Thing", which was a chart success for Ben E. King.

Addams Family Values
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBarry Sonnenfeld
Produced byScott Rudin
Written byPaul Rudnick
Based onThe Addams Family
by Charles Addams
Music byMarc Shaiman
Ralph Sall
CinematographyDonald Peterman
Edited byArthur Schmidt
Jim Miller
Scott Rudin Productions
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • November 19, 1993 (1993-11-19)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$47 million[1]
Box office$48.9 million[2]

Compared to its predecessor, which retained something of the madcap approach of the 1960s sitcom, Addams Family Values is played more for macabre laughs.[3] The film was well received by critics, in contrast to its predecessor's mixed critical reception. However, unlike the first movie, it did average business by earning $48.9 million recouping its $47 million budget.


Gomez and Morticia Addams hire a nanny named Debbie to take care of their newborn son Pubert after his older siblings Wednesday and Pugsley's failed attempts to murder him. Unbeknownst to them, Debbie is a serial killer who marries rich bachelors and murders them to collect their inheritances.

After Debbie seduces Uncle Fester, Wednesday becomes suspicious of her intentions. To maintain her cover, Debbie tricks Gomez and Morticia into believing that Wednesday and Pugsley want to go to summer camp. They are sent to Camp Chippewa, managed by the overzealous Gary and Becky Granger, where they are singled out by the counselors and popular girl Amanda Buckman for their macabre appearance and behavior. Joel, a nerdy bookworm and fellow outcast, becomes attracted to Wednesday.

Debbie and Fester become engaged. At their bachelor and bachelorette parties, Debbie is horrified by the Addams family's relatives. On their honeymoon, she tries to kill Fester by throwing a boombox into the bathtub, but she fails. Frustrated, Debbie forces him to sever ties with his family; when they try to visit Fester at Debbie's mansion, they are removed from the premises. The Addams are alarmed to find that Pubert has transformed into a blue-eyed, rosy-cheeked, golden-haired baby. Grandmama diagnoses this as a result of his disrupted family life, and Gomez becomes horribly depressed.

At camp, Wednesday is cast as Pocahontas in Gary's Thanksgiving play. When she refuses to participate, she, Pugsley, and Joel are forced to watch upbeat, heartwarming Disney and family films. Afterwards, Wednesday feigns cheerfulness and agrees to take part. During the performance, she stages a coup, captures Amanda, Gary, and Becky, and setting the camp on fire. She, Joel, and Pugsley escape via a camp van, and Wednesday and Joel share their first kiss.

Debbie tries to kill Fester by blowing up their mansion but he survives. She then pulls a gun and tells him she is only interested in his money; Thing intervenes and helps Fester escape. Fester apologizes to Gomez, and Wednesday and Pugsley return, reuniting the family. Debbie arrives and ties the family to electric chairs, explaining--while the Addamses listen with sympathy and compassion--that she killed her parents and previous husbands for incredibly selfish and materialistic reasons. Upstairs, the returned-to-normal Pubert escapes from his crib and is propelled into the room where the family is being held. Debbie throws the switch to electrocute them, but Pubert manipulates the wires and electrocutes her instead, incinerating her into a pile of ash.

Months later at Pubert's first-birthday party, Fester laments Debbie's loss but becomes smitten with Cousin Itt and Margaret's nanny, Dementia. In the Addams family graveyard, Wednesday tells Joel that Debbie was a sloppy killer, and she would instead scare her husband to death. As Joel lays flowers on Debbie's grave, a hand erupts from the earth and grabs him; he screams and Wednesday smiles.


Cameo roles


The "family values" in the film's title is a tongue-in-cheek reference by writer Paul Rudnick to an infamous 1992 speech ("Reflections on Urban America") made by then-Vice Presidential candidate Dan Quayle. In the speech, Quayle had blamed the 1992 Los Angeles riots on a breakdown of "family values", which caused much controversy and derision afterwards.[4]

According to Anjelica Huston, during the filming of Addams Family Values it became increasingly clear that Raul Julia's health was deteriorating. He had trouble eating, and was losing weight as a result.[4] He died within a year after the film was released.

Sequoia National Park, particularly Sequoia Lake, in the Sierra Nevada of California, was the site of the movie's "Camp Chippewa".[5]


Critical response

I’m of the firm belief that the Addams Family are the most loving, caring, and connected family that has ever graced the silver screen. They are wildly devoted to each other, show an interest in what the others are doing, and spend tons of quality time together. In all honesty, there’s quite a bit to be jealous [of] when watching them.

—Jonathan Barkan, Bloody Disgusting, 2015[6]

Addams Family Values was well received, receiving significantly better reviews than the first film.[7] On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 76% based on 50 reviews, with an average rating of 6.53/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "New, well-developed characters add dimension to this batty satire, creating a comedy much more substantial than the original."[8][9] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 62 out of 100 based on 20 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[10] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B+.[11]

Janet Maslin of The New York Times wondered if "the making of this sequel was sheer drudgery for all concerned", then answered herself by writing, "There's simply too much glee on the screen, thanks to a cast and visual conception that were perfect in the first place, and a screenplay by Paul Rudnick that specializes in delightfully arch, subversive humor."[12] Leonard Klady of Variety was slightly less enthusiastic: "It remains perilously slim in the story department, but glides over the thin ice with technical razzle-dazzle and an exceptionally winning cast."[13]

Richard Schickel, writing for Time, called the film "an essentially lazy movie, too often settling for easy gags and special effects that don't come to any really funny point."[14]

Both Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert disliked the first film. Siskel gave this film a mixed review and accused Sonnenfeld of caring more about how the film looks than how the jokes play. Ebert thought that unusually for a sequel, it was better than the first film and he enjoyed the various subplots, and recommended the film.[15][16]


The film was nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Art Direction (Ken Adam, Marvin March),[17] and Huston was nominated for the 1993 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her performance as Morticia, a reprise of her Golden Globe-nominated performance in the 1991 original. The film won also a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song for the Tag Team track "Addams Family (Whoomp!)".

Addams Family Values was nominated for AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs.[18] In 2016, James Charisma of Playboy ranked the film #15 on a list of 15 Sequels That Are Way Better Than The Originals.[19]

Box office

Addams Family Values opened at #1 at its initial weekend with a reported total of $14,117,545.[20] In its second week, the film dropped to #2 behind Mrs. Doubtfire, and in its third week to #3 behind Mrs. Doubtfire and A Perfect World.[21]

Its final domestic box office take was $48,919,043, a significant decline from the previous film's domestic total of $113,502,426.[2] These figures are only based on the US box office and does not take into account that the film was financially very successful internationally.


Michael Jackson's involvement

American popular singer Michael Jackson was supposed to feature a song in the film called Addams Groove/Family Thing.[22] The song is mostly rumored to have been removed due to the child sexual abuse allegations against Jackson; in reality, it was because of contractual differences with Paramount Pictures.[23] The song has since been leaked online.

Home media

The film was released on DVD in 2000 with two theatrical trailers as special features. It was re-released in 2006 with the first film on a single disc, with no new features. On October 1, 2019 Paramount Pictures released on Blu-ray Paramount Movies for the first time a double feature of both Addams Family and Addams Family values.[24]

In Australia, the film was released on VHS by Paramount Home Entertainment (Australasia) in 1994. In 2002 the film was released on DVD with theatrical trailers in the extra features.


  1. "AFI Catalog - Addams Family Values". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  2. "The Addams Family box office totals". Box Office Mojo.
  3. Levy, David (December 20, 1993). "Charles Addams Might Grimace at This 'Family'". LA Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  4. Anjelica Huston (2014). Watch Me. Scribner's. p. 262=263.
  5. "Addams Family Values Filming Locations". Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  6. Barkan, Jonathan (April 14, 2015). "Which Addams Family Member Are You?". Bloody Disgusting. The Collective. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  7. Brew, Simon (September 29, 2014). "The huge behind the scenes problems on The Addams Family". Den of Geek.
  8. "Addams Family Values (1993)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
  9. Rainer, Peter (November 19, 1993). "Let's Have a Hand for 'Addams Family Values'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  10. "Addams Family Values Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  11. "Cinemascore :: Movie Title Search".
  12. Janet Maslin (November 19, 1993). "Addams Family Values (1993)". The New York Times.
  13. Leonard Klady (November 13, 1993). "Addams Family Values". Variety. Retrieved November 24, 2009.
  14. Richard Schickel (November 29, 1993). "Looking for Mr. Goodfather". Time Inc. Archived from the original on 4 November 2009. Retrieved November 24, 2009.
  15. Siskel & Ebert "Addams Family Values/The Snapper/Dangerous Game/The Saint of Fort Washington/Like Water for Chocolate" airdate (20 November 1993). Season 8 Episode 11
  16. Roger Ebert (November 19, 1993). "Addams Family Values". It's the rare sequel that is better than its original
  17. "The 66th Academy Awards (1994) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-04.
  18. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees" (PDF).
  19. Charisma, James (March 15, 2016). "Revenge of the Movie: 15 Sequels That Are Way Better Than The Originals". Playboy. Archived from the original on 2016-07-26. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  20. "Weekend Box Office Results for November 19–21, 1993". Box Office Mojo.
  21. "Addams Family Values (1993) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo.
  22. Halstead, p. 8.
  23. Halstead, Craig, 1959- (2003). Michael Jackson ... the solo years. Cadman, Chris, 1961-. Hertford: Authors Online. ISBN 0755200918. OCLC 52975896.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  24. "Addams Family & Addams Family Values". Addams Family Values and The Addams Family Blu-ray Releases Announced]. 8 July 2019.
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