Lethal Weapon (franchise)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Lethal Weapon (film series))
Jump to: navigation, search
Lethal Weapon
Lethal Weapon collection Blu-ray cover
Directed by Richard Donner
Produced by Richard Donner
Joel Silver
Screenplay by Lethal Weapon:
Shane Black
Lethal Weapon 2:
Jeffrey Boam
Lethal Weapon 3:
Jeffrey Boam
Robert Mark Kamen
Lethal Weapon 4:
Channing Gibson
Story by Lethal Weapon 2:
Shane Black
Warren Murphy
Lethal Weapon 3:
Jeffrey Boam
Lethal Weapon 4:
Jonathan Lemkin
Alfred Gough
Miles Millar
Starring Films:
Mel Gibson
Danny Glover
Joe Pesci
TV series:
Clayne Crawford
Damon Wayans
Keesha Sharp
Music by Michael Kamen
Eric Clapton
David Sanborn
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
Country United States
Language English
Budget $215 million
Box office $955,237,243

Lethal Weapon is an American buddy cop action comedy franchise created by Shane Black that focuses on Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detectives, Martin Riggs, Roger Murtaugh, and their fast-talking sidekick Leo Getz (who debuts in the second film). The franchise consists of four films released during the 1980s and 1990s, as well as a television series in 2016. All four films in the series were directed by Richard Donner and also share many of the same core cast members, while the television series recast the main roles with younger actors instead.


Lethal Weapon (1987)[edit]

Anxious with age and retirement, homicide detective Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is partnered with young and suicidal narcotics officer Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson). Together, they work the case of the alleged suicide of Amanda Hunsaker, daughter of a wealthy businessman who served with Murtaugh in Vietnam. Murtaugh and Riggs soon discover that Hunsaker was involved in a heroin-smuggling scheme led by a retired general (Mitchell Ryan) and his lead enforcer (Gary Busey).

Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)[edit]

During a car chase, Riggs and Murtaugh stumble upon a trunk full of smuggled South African Krugerrands, this sparks a series of attempts at their lives, forcing them to take a less dangerous case, protecting Leo Getz (Joe Pesci), a loud-mouthed whistleblower with whom they gradually form a bond. However, they realize that Getz was involved in the same South African illegal activities, as a result, the three men become entangled in a drug-smuggling operation involving South African diplomats in Los Angeles, using their immunity and biting wit as a shield. Riggs kills the murderer of his wife who is among the criminals.

Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)[edit]

As Murtaugh, who is one week from retiring, and Riggs investigate a robbery committed using a duplicate armored car, they find themselves in the middle of an Internal Affairs investigation led by Sergeant Lorna Cole (Rene Russo). With assistance from Leo, they learn that the subject of the investigation is a rogue AWOL cop (Stuart Wilson) who is stealing impounded weapons and selling them on the black market, during the investigation, Murtaugh shoots and kills a teenager who attacks him and Riggs; he turns out to be a friend of his own son. This prompts Murtaugh to capture the man responsible for the distribution of illegal firearms and to rethink his retirement.

Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)[edit]

While both Lorna, and Murtaugh's daughter Rianne are pregnant, Riggs, Murtaugh, and Leo team up with rookie Detective Lee Butters (Chris Rock) to investigate a Chinese immigrant smuggling ring. Wah Sing Ku (Jet Li) is a ruthless enforcer who personally attempts to murder Murtaugh's family by burning them alive in their own home, as the story progresses, Murtaugh discovers that Lee is the father of his daughter's unborn child. Murtaugh and Riggs slay dozens of Chinese gangsters and ultimately manage to catch up with the boss of the smuggling ring.


There has been talk of a fifth Lethal Weapon film, although both Mel Gibson and Danny Glover have expressed a lack of interest. In 2007, Moviehole.net received word from sources that Warner Bros. were in the early stages of trying to relaunch the Lethal Weapon series sometime in 2009 or later.[1] A spec script treatment was written by Shane Black,[2] leading to rumors that the sequel was on fast track by Warner Bros. with Black in the director's chair. Actor Columbus Short said he was being considered for the role of Murtaugh's son.[3] Director Richard Donner was not involved with these plans, but had his own ideas for a Lethal Weapon 5. According to the LA Times, Gibson refused to reprise his role as Martin Riggs for the fifth time, which Donner thought was out of personal loyalty because Donner is not involved.[4] Joel Silver later confirmed Gibson’s lack of interest in the project.[5] "We talked about it, but it was something that Mel didn't want to do now," he explained. "It doesn't mean that he doesn't want to do it ever, but as of right now, he doesn't."[6] There are presently no plans for a fifth movie, it was reported by The Tracking Board that the studio was planning to reboot the film series with the working title "Lionhunters", with Justin Lin directing, Will Beall writing, Black involved in the new film and Chris Hemsworth on the producers' radar for the starring role.[7] The movie reboot with Hemsworth has been put on hold because of the TV series reboot; in November 2017, Mel Gibson hinted that a fifth movie might happen and that himself along with Richard Donner and Danny Glover have discussed the idea to return. In December 2017, Donner confirmed in an interview on the Spocklight podcast that Gibson and Glover have agreed to return as Riggs and Murtaugh respectively and that he has a story all set, the only obstacle is Warner Bros. Pictures greenlighting the film and Donner has recruited Channing Gibson, the original screenwriter from the fourth film, to begin writing the script, the story will take place in present day and will be the final film in the series.[8]


Lethal Weapon (2016–present)[edit]

Deadline reported that Matthew Miller will create and co-executive produce a Lethal Weapon TV series with Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz for Fox;[9] in February 2016, The Hollywood Reporter reported that FOX had officially picked up the Lethal Weapon pilot, with McG directing and Clayne Crawford as Riggs and Damon Wayans as Murtaugh.[10][11] The cast was further expanded in February and March, with Keesha Sharp replacing Golden Brooks as Trish, Jordana Brewster as Dr. Maureen Cahill, Kevin Rahm as Captain Brooks Avery, Chandler Kinney as Riana Murtaugh, Dante Brown as Roger "R.J." Murtaugh, Jr. and Johnathan Fernandez as Scorsese.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18] Fox gave Lethal Weapon a series order on May 10, 2016.[19]


The series is notable as having significant continuity within its cast, with every recurring character in each film being played by the same actor or actress throughout. Even relatively minor characters, such as Roger Murtaugh's younger family members and his L.A.P.D. co-workers, are played repeatedly by the same people (although some of these characters are killed off as the series progresses).


Characters Film
Lethal Weapon
Lethal Weapon 2
Lethal Weapon 3
Lethal Weapon 4
Martin Riggs Mel Gibson
Roger Murtaugh Danny Glover
Trish Murtaugh Darlene Love
Rianne Murtaugh Traci Wolfe
Nick Murtaugh Damon Hines
Carrie Murtaugh Ebonie Smith
Captain Ed Murphy Steve Kahan
Dr. Stephanie Woods Mary Ellen Trainor
Gen. Peter McAllister Mitchell Ryan  
Mr. Joshua Gary Busey  
Michael Hunsaker Tom Atkins  
Leo Getz   Joe Pesci
Arjen Rudd   Joss Ackland  
Pieter Vorstedt   Derrick O'Connor  
Rika van den Haas   Patsy Kensit  
Mickey McGee   Jack McGee  
Lorna Cole   Rene Russo
Jack Travis   Stuart Wilson  
Lee Butters   Chris Rock
Wah Sing Ku   Jet Li
Uncle Benny Chan   Kim Chan
Detective Ng   Calvin Jung

Television series[edit]

Characters Lethal Weapon
1 2
Martin Riggs Clayne Crawford
Roger Murtaugh Damon Wayans
Trish Murtaugh Keesha Sharp
Captain Brooks Avery Kevin Rahm
Dr. Maureen Cahill Jordana Brewster
Scorsese Johnathan Fernandez
Detective Sonya Bailey Michelle Mitchenor
Leo Getz Thomas Lennon
Karen Palmer Hilarie Burton
Detective Alejandro "Alex" Cruz Richard Cabral  
Miranda Riggs Floriana Lima  
Ronnie Delgado Tony Plana  


Position Film
Lethal Weapon Lethal Weapon 2 Lethal Weapon 3 Lethal Weapon 4
Director Richard Donner
Writers Shane Black Robert Mark Kamen Jonathan Lemkin
  Jeffrey Boam Alfred Gough & Miles Millar
  Warren Murphy   Channing Gibson
Producers Richard Donner
Joel Silver
Composers Eric Clapton
Michael Kamen
  David Sanborn
Director of Photography Stephen Goldblatt Jan de Bont Andrzej Bartkowiak
Editors Stuart Baird Robert Brown & Battle Davis Dallas Puett, Kevin Stitt, Eric Strand & Frank J. Urioste
Production Designer J. Michael Riva James Spencer J. Michael Riva


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office revenue Box office ranking Budget Reference
North America Other territories Worldwide All time domestic All time worldwide
Lethal Weapon March 6, 1987 $65,207,127 $55,000,000 $120,207,127 #795 $15 million [20][21]
Lethal Weapon 2 July 7, 1989 $147,253,986 $80,600,000 $227,853,986 #190
#323 $25 million [22]
Lethal Weapon 3 May 15, 1992 $144,731,527 $177,000,000 $321,731,527 #199
#189 $35 million [23]
Lethal Weapon 4 July 10, 1998 $130,444,603 $155,000,000 $285,444,603 #255 #236 $140 million [24]
Total $487,637,243 $467,600,000 $955,237,243 $215 million(E)
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film.
  • (E) indicates an estimated figure based on available numbers.
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Lethal Weapon 84%[25] 67[26] A
Lethal Weapon 2 83%[27] 70[28] A+
Lethal Weapon 3 56%[29] 36[30] A–
Lethal Weapon 4 52%[31] 37[32] A–
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film.


  1. ^ Kegar, Kirby (August 6, 2007). "Will Lethal Weapon be reloaded?". Moviehole. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved October 27, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Gibson and Glover Up for Lethal Weapon 5?". ComingSoon.net. August 6, 2008. Retrieved October 27, 2009. 
  3. ^ Vejvoda, Jim (October 6, 2008). "Lethal Weapon 5 Exclusive". IGN. Retrieved October 27, 2009. 
  4. ^ Boucher, Geoff (October 13, 2008). "Richard Donner says 'Lethal Weapon 5' is 'dead in the water'". Los Angeles Times blog. Retrieved October 27, 2009. 
  5. ^ Douglas, Edward (November 9, 2008). "Joel Silver & Susan Downey on Sgt. Rock & More". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved October 27, 2009. 
  6. ^ "'Lethal Weapon 5' is NOT Dead". WorstPreviews. November 10, 2008. Retrieved October 27, 2009. 
  7. ^ Barnes, Madison (May 8, 2014). "{TB EXCLUSIVE} CHRIS HEMSWORTH OFFERED A "LETHAL WEAPON" IN FRANCHISE REBOOT". The Tracking Board. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  8. ^ https://spocklight.podbean.com/e/supplemental-6-interview-with-richard-donner/
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 2, 2015). "Lethal Weapon TV Series From Forever Creator Set At Fox As Put Pilot". Deadline.com. Retrieved October 3, 2015. 
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 10, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon': Clayne Crawford To Star As Mel Gibson's Martin Riggs In Fox Pilot". Deadline.com. Retrieved March 11, 2016. 
  11. ^ Stanhope, Kate; Goldberg, Lesley (February 12, 2016). "Damon Wayans Sr. to Star in Fox's Lethal Weapon Pilot". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 14, 2016. 
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 19, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Pilot: Golden Brooks Cast". Deadline.com. Retrieved March 9, 2016. 
  13. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 3, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Pilot: Jordana Brewster To Co-Star". Deadline.com. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  14. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 7, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon': Kevin Rahm To Co-Star In Fox Pilot". Deadline.com. Retrieved March 7, 2016. 
  15. ^ Petski, Denise (March 16, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Casts Chandler Kinney; Sarayu Blue Joins 'No Tomorrow'". Deadline.com. Retrieved March 16, 2016. 
  16. ^ Ge, Linda (March 15, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Pilot Casts Newcomer as Murtaugh's Son (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Retrieved March 16, 2016. 
  17. ^ Petski, Denise (March 17, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Pilot Casts Johnathan Fernandez; Tommy Savas In 'The Fluffy Shop'". Deadline.com. Retrieved March 17, 2016. 
  18. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 17, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Fox Pilot: Keesha Sharp Set For Co-Starring Role In Recasting". Deadline.com. Retrieved March 17, 2016. 
  19. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 10, 2016). "'The Exorcist', 'Lethal Weapon', 'Making History', 'Pitch', 'The Mick' & 'APB' Get Fox Series Orders". Deadline.com. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved May 11, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Lethal Weapon (1987)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Lethal Weapon - Production Budget". The-Numbers. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  24. ^ "Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  25. ^ "Lethal Weapon". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Lethal Weapon (1987): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  27. ^ "Lethal Weapon 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  28. ^ "Lethal Weapon 2 (1989): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  29. ^ "Lethal Weapon 3". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  30. ^ "Lethal Weapon 3 (1992): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  31. ^ "Lethal Weapon 4". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 2, 2009. 
  32. ^ "Lethal Weapon 4 (1998): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 2, 2009.