Robin William fans, boot up Netflix right now. One of his better, and sadder movies is there for you. What Dreams May Come is now available on the streaming service.
The 1998 film starring Robin Williams is no chill adventure. After his character, Chris Nielson, dies in an accident, he goes to heaven. In the afterlife, he finds out his wife Annie (played by The Sopranos‘ Annabella Sciorra) had committed suicide in her grief. Now, the deceased husband sets out to reunite with his wife.
It was a star-studded cast outside of Robin Williams and co-star Sciorra. The film also featured Cuba Godding Jr. who won an Academy Award for his performance in Jerry Maguire, two-time Academy Award nominee Max von Sydow, who was nominated for his performances in Pelle eroberen and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, and Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Rosalind Chao.
It was a big jump for director Vincent Ward, who previously did films like Map of the Human Heart, with his cast of stars like Robin Williams and writer, Ronald Bass, who wrote the Oscar-winning film, Rain Man. The director and writer adapted What Dreams May Come based on a 1978 novel of the same name by Richard Matheson. The author was well known decades before with his 1954 sci-fi horror novel, I Am Legend.
While Robin Williams led the film, it was the visual elements that garnered its praise and accolades. It was nominated for two Academy Awards. The one nomination that it did not win was for the art direction and set decoration, which featured Cindy Carr (Trumbo) and Eugenio Zanetti (Restoration). Zanetti got to take home an Oscar previously with Restoration, but Cindy Carr only received one other nomination in The Fisher King. The set decorators lost to John Madden’s Shakespeare in Love.
What Dreams May Come did win an Oscar for its visual effects, which consisted of Kevin Scott Mack (How the Grinch Stole Christmas), Joel Hynek (The Predator), Nicholas Brooks (The Matrix), and Stuart Robertson (The Predator). Taking home the award meant it beat out Michael Bay’s Armageddon and Ron Underwood’s Mighty Young Joe.
Regardless of starring Robin Williams and other A-list stars with an Oscar-winning writer, the films’ reception was rather mixed. Rotten Tomatoes, while far from perfect, looks at how critics and audiences clearly don’t see eye-to-eye on the film. The 68 critic reviews generated a 53 percent, giving it that signature green splat. The main issue is taken with the plot, but most reviewers seemed pleased with the visual effects. The sheer number of audience reviews makes the critics look like ants. With over 100,000 user-submitted reviews, the audience score is a popcorn bucket filled 84 percent.
Financially, nothing was able to save it, not even Robin Williams. With a budget of $85 million and releasing domestically in 2,526 theaters, the film grossed not much over $55 million. On opening, it raked in over $15 million. With its October 2 release date, it was out for a total of 98 days and increased its theater selection only slightly to get it up to 2,531.
1998 was a big year for Robin Williams. The actor starred in the Academy Award-nominated film Patch Adams and featured on two episodes of One Saturday Morning.
Before his death in 2014, Robin Williams cemented himself in the history of the film industry. He starred in beloved classics like Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin, Hook, and Jumanji. The 63-year-old actor would be nominated Emmies, Academy Awards, and more. While nominated by the Academy for his performances in The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society, and Good Morning, Vietnam, he would eventually get to take home the golden trophy in 1997 with Good Will Hunting. The film was nominated for a total of 10 Oscars but only won for Best Supporting Actor with Williams and its screenplay which was written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
On August 11, 2014, Robin Williams was found dead in his California home. His death was ruled a suicide. He is survived by his wife Susan Schneider Williams and three children Zelda, Zachary, and Cody. Unlike her brothers, Zelda would follow in her father’s footsteps as an actor. She has starred in the Avatar: The Last Airbender spinoff The Legend of Korra, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the upcoming film The Knocking.