Million Dollar Mystery

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Million Dollar Mystery
File:Million dollar mystery.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Fleischer
Produced by Stephen F. Kesten
Written by Rudy De Luca
Tim Metcalfe
Miguel Tejada-Flores
Music by Al Gorgoni
Cinematography Jack Cardiff
Edited by John W. Wheeler
Distributed by De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Release dates
June 12, 1987 (1987-06-12)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10 million
Box office $989,033

Million Dollar Mystery (also known as Money Mania) is a 1987 American film released with a promotional tie-in for Glad-Lock brand bags. This was the final feature-length film directed by Richard Fleischer.

Plot summary

Sidney Preston, a disgruntled White House aide, takes off with $4 million that belonged to the government. While on the run, he stops at a roadside diner and has their world famous chili. He suffers a fatal heart attack and before dying, reveals to onlookers the location of the first million dollars.

The occupants of the diner head out on a mad dash to find the loot. When they find the money, they lose it in a mishap. They follow clues to the next million and lose it as well. After finding and losing the third million, the movie ends. During the closing credits, one of the characters informs the audience that there is a million dollars somewhere in the USA and if they follow the clues in specially marked Glad-Lock bags, they have the chance to win $1 million.

The plot was like the 1963 film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.


While performing a routine stunt for this film, legendary stuntman Dar Robinson died on November 21, 1986.


Producer Dino De Laurentiis conceived the idea for Million Dollar Mystery when he visited New York and saw a row of people lining up for what he presumably thought was a movie. A companion told De Laurentiis that they were actually lining up for lottery tickets.[1]

Glad Bags sponsored a sweepstakes timed for the film's release. The company gave away entry forms, and the audience would fill out these forms with their answer to where the last million is hiding, based on clues given in the film. De Laurentiis said of the film: "This is a really broad comedy with car chases, designed for the young major moviegoing audience, about 12 to 24 years old. The sweepstakes gives us the potential to reach even more people – the infrequent moviegoer, the person more interested in winning a million dollars than in going to the movies, and these are the kind of people who use Glad Bags, housewives who maybe go to the movies once or twice a year."[2]

De Laurentiis had high expectations for the film, but it did not turn out to be a hit. The winner of the contest ended up being 14-year-old Alesia Lenae Jones of Bakersfield, California, who successfully guessed that the loot was hidden in the nose of the Statue of Liberty.[3][4][5] Apparently, thousands of contestants had arrived at the same answer, and her entry was chosen in a random drawing.[6]

Award nominations

Golden Raspberry Awards


  1. Frankel, Mark. "The Little Producer That Couldn't." Spy (August 1989).
  2. Darnton, Nina. "Million Dollar Mystery (1987): At the Movies." New York Times (May 1, 1987).
  3. "Film flop a bonanza for girl, 14." Chicago Sun-Times (April 7, 1988).
  5. Movies April 06, 1988, LA Times.
  6. "Million Dollar Mystery" movie review, accessed 9/4/15.

External links

See also