Baby's Day Out

Baby's Day Out is a 1994 American family comedy film directed by Patrick Read Johnson and written by John Hughes. Starring Joe Mantegna, Lara Flynn Boyle, Joe Pantoliano and Brian Haley, the plot centers on a wealthy baby's abduction by three kidnappers, his subsequent escape and adventure through Chicago while being pursued by the kidnappers.

Baby's Day Out
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPatrick Read Johnson
Produced by
Written byJohn Hughes
Music byBruce Broughton
CinematographyThomas E. Ackerman
Edited byDavid Rawlins
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 1, 1994 (1994-07-01)
Running time
99 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$48 million[1]
Box office$16.7 million[1]

Baby's Day Out was released on July 1, 1994 by 20th Century Fox in the United States and was a critical and commercial failure, grossing only $16.7 million against a $48 million budget. Despite this, it enjoyed tremendous popularity in India and other South Asian markets.


Bennington Austin "Bink" Cotwell IV (Adam Robert and Jacob Joseph Worton) is the son of socialites Laraine (Lara Flynn Boyle) and Bennington (Matthew Glave), lives in a huge mansion in a suburb of Chicago, and is just about to appear in the social pages of the newspaper. Three klutzy would-be kidnappers, Edgar "Eddie" Mauser (Joe Mantegna), Norbert "Norby" LeBlaw (Joe Pantoliano) and Victor "Veeko" Riley (Brian Haley), disguise themselves as the photographers from the paper and kidnap him, demanding a $5 million ransom. After the kidnapping, however, the kidnappers have difficulty controlling Bink. Norby attempts to put Bink to sleep by reading Bink's favourite book, "Baby's Day Out", only to fall asleep himself from boredom, leaving Bink unattended. Looking through the book, Bink notices a bird on the page and then by the window. He follows it out and successfully gets away from his kidnappers. The ensuing chase culminates in Eddie falling off the building and into a garbage bin. Norby and Veeko find Eddie and the three begin relentlessly pursuing Bink across the city.

The FBI arrives at the mansion, headed by Dale Grissom (Fred Dalton Thompson), where they try to piece together clues along with Bink's parents and his nanny Gilbertine (Cynthia Nixon). Meanwhile, Bink, now outside on the ground and crawling about, finds another part of his book – the blue bus, which he then boards. The kidnappers realize he is escaping and start chasing the bus in their van, but their efforts are in vain. Meanwhile, on the bus, Bink crawls into the bag of an obese lady (Robin Baber), who gets off at her stop shortly afterwards. By the time the trio catches the bus, they realize Bink is not on board and follow the lady. An altercation ensues after she catches them. In the distraction, Bink crawls up to a revolving door at the entrance to a department store and is forced inwards by its momentum. He is stopped by a worker (Dawn Maxey) who works for the store's day care center, believing he is another baby who escaped from there. He later escapes the store and eventually crawls into traffic after a ride on a taxi cab. The kidnappers attempt to follow him but keep getting injured in the process as he makes his way to the city zoo. They are shocked to find him in the ape house with a western lowland gorilla, which shows a maternal side and does not injure him. The kidnappers try to retrieve him, but the gorilla notices and pounds Veeko's hand, throws Norby into the air using a mop as a catapult, and hurls Eddie against the bars of the opposite cage and roaring loudly at him.

The kidnappers eventually corner and catch Bink in the zoo's park, but are confronted by two friendly police officers, who have noticed that their van's engine is still running. During the conversation, Eddie hides Bink under his coat in his lap, but he reaches Eddie's cigarette lighter, sets his crotch on fire, and sneaks off as soon as the officers are gone. Veeko extinguishes the fire by stomping repeatedly on Eddie's groin. They follow Bink to a construction yard, but are still unable to catch him, with Veeko getting thrown off the building and into the back of a garbage truck, Norby falling into a vat of wet cement, and Eddie getting stranded on a crane after being drenched in glue. The sun sets as Bink and the construction crew leaves the construction yard. The kidnappers manage to escape, but decide to give up and go home.

Bink's parents are notified of various sightings of him in the city and Gilbertine deduces that he has been following "Baby's Day Out" (or "Boo-boo", as he calls it), and will most likely head for the Old Soldiers' Home next. They find him there, but on the way home, he begins to call out "Boo-Boo" toward the kidnappers' flat. The FBI move in and arrest the kidnappers, who return Bink's book. Back home, Bink is put to bed by his parents. As they discuss having his picture taken by a normal photographer in the morning, he wakes up and gets ready to read another book, titled "Baby's Trip to China".



Critical response

Baby's Day Out was panned by critics, and holds a 20% "rotten" approval rating at the review website Rotten Tomatoes, with 3 positive reviews from 15.[2]

On the Siskel & Ebert show, critic Roger Ebert wrote that "Baby's Day Out contains gags that might have worked in a Baby Herman cartoon, but in live action, with real people, taxis, buses, streets, and a real baby, they're just not funny. The Worton twins are adorable as Baby Bink, however; the audience produced an audible coo the first time they saw him on the screen." He gave the film 1 1/2 stars.[3]

His partner, Gene Siskel, however, liked the film because he thought that young children would love it for the humor. Hal Hinson, writing for the Washington Post, wrote: "The pace is quick and efficient but never frantic...almost everything in the picture is just right, including the two-bit crooks who abduct the superhero toddler and end up bruised and begging hilariously for mercy. Best of all, though, is the Binkman himself, whose tiny face is so expressive that he brings new meaning to the phrase 'conquering with a smile.'"[4]

Box office

The film opened with takings of $4,044,662 at the start of July 1994.[5][6][7] The film finally grossed $16,827,402 at the domestic box office, a disappointing return considering the $48 million production budget for the film. It ranked at #83 for the best performing films of 1994.[1]

It was also the 26th best performing PG-rated family film of the year in 1994.[1]

Popularity in South Asia and remakes

Baby's Day Out was tremendously popular in South Asia, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In India, it was played at the largest theatre in Calcutta for over a year. Recalling a trip to Calcutta, Roger Ebert said, "I asked if Star Wars had been their most successful American film. No, I was told, it was Baby's Day Out".[8] It was remade twice, first in Telugu in 1995 under the title Sisindri and then in Malayalam in 1999 under the title James Bond.[9]

Video game

A video game version of the film was planned, completed, and slated to be released on Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis and Game Boy in October 1994,[10][11] but was cancelled at the last minute. Two prototypes of the Genesis port can be found for download on several ROM sites. One is a near completed version while the other is a very early beta. Instead of playing as Bink, the player controls what appears to be Bink's guardian angel to guide Bink to safety in the vein of Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures.

Home media

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the film on VHS on April 4, 1995. The film was released on DVD on January 29, 2001. It includes Patrick Read Johnson's commentary, a featurette, and a trailer for the film. The film was re-released on DVD on October 11, 2011.


  1. "Baby's Day Out (1994)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 19, 2009.
  2. Baby's Day Out at Rotten Tomatoes
  3. Ebert, Roger (July 1, 1994). "Baby's Day Out review". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved June 19, 2009.
  4. Hinson, Hal (July 1, 1994). "'Baby's Day Out'". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 19, 2009.
  5. "Weekend Box Office Results for July 1–4, 1994". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 19, 2009.
  6. "Fourth of July Weekend Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. July 7, 1994. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  7. "Baby's Day Out – Box Office Data". The Numbers. Archived from the original on May 23, 2009. Retrieved June 19, 2009.
  8. Ebert, Roger (August 6, 2009). "John Hughes: In Memory". Retrieved February 23, 2015.
  9. Kurp, Joshua (September 28, 2011). "The Legacy of Baby's Day Out, the Only Comedy Movie I've Ever Walked Out On". Vulture. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  10. videoreviewchris (August 6, 2013). "Baby's Day Out-Video Game Trailer". YouTube. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  11. "ProReview: Baby's Day Out". GamePro (64). IDG. November 1994. p. 104.
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