35 years after it premiered, this Disney movie hit may finally be getting a long-awaited sequel!

35 years ago, Honey I Shrunk the Kids became one of Disney's biggest live-action hits! Are we finally going to see a long-awaited new sequel?
Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas
Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas / Mark Mainz/GettyImages

After 35 years, we may finally be getting a sequel to one of Disney’s best live-action summer movie hits! Josh Gad has given an update on the possibility of Rick Moranis returning to Honey I Shrunk the Kids!

1989 was arguably one of the best summer movie seasons ever, packed with hits like Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Dead Poets Society, and more. So it’s not surprising not many thought Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was going to do as well as it did. 

To be fair, Disney had been a bit hit and miss with live-action films in that period and this appeared to be a story that seemed more attuned to the quirky fare of the 1970s. Michael Eisner wanted that, and popular director Stuart Gordon whipped up the story, originally titled “Teeny Weenies” and then “Grounded.”

Sadly, Stuart became ill and had to drop out, but luckily, Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Joe Johnston was able to step in. The film was shot in New Mexico with large sound stages to handle the FX and music by the late, great Oscar-winning composer James Horner. 

The plot focuses on Wayne Szalinski, played by Rick Moranis, who was then on a career high thanks to Ghostbusters and Spaceballs. The good news is that after years of failed inventions, Wayne finally gets one working: a ray that can reduce anything to the size of an insect.

The bad news is that the ray accidentally shrinks Wayne’s kids Amy and Nick, as well as neighbor kids Russell Jr. and Ron, who are then swept into the garbage. They have to survive a trip through the backyard, which, at their size, is like crossing the Amazon with giant bugs and other dangers. 

The film rests on the comedy of the kids lost in the woods and clashing a bit but trying to survive a drink spill the size of a lake, a flight on a bee and more. There’s also a fun turn with Marcia Strassman as Wayne’s wife handling this while Russell has to overcome his rather overbearing father (Matt Frewer). In short, it’s just what Eisner wanted: a throwback to Disney classics of the past with fun special effects and compelling characters. 

Made for just $18 million, the movie opened June 23, 1989 to good critical response. Its opening weekend was okay, but the good word of mouth (and having a Roger Rabbit cartoon short as the opener) helped it gross a fantastic $227 million worldwide, which would be like half a billion dollars today. 

The legacy of Honey I Shrunk the Kids

The film’s success led to a new push for live-action Disney movies that would sustain the company through the 1990s. It inspired a segment in the original tram ride at the DIsney-MGM Studios where folks could “ride” the type of giant bee from the film. The park later opened a great playground giving guests the chance to enjoy the oversized backyard area. 

Naturally, a sequel followed, 1992’s Honey I Blew Up The Kid, but it didn’t quite match the success of the first film. There was another addition in 1993 with the Honey I Blew Up the Audience 3-D movie at the Journey Into Imagination pavilion at Epcot. The effects of mice flowing into the theater and a giant snake lunging out wowed fans while Moranis, Marcia Strassman and others reprised their movie roles. 

The film even inspired a TV show with different actors that had the Szalinskis go on various comedic adventures. Johnston has gone on to direct The Rocketeer and the first Captain America film. However, it’s been quiet on that front despite various attempts. 

Are we getting a third Honey I Shrunk the Kids film?

In 2019, among a bevy of announced projects, it was stated that Disney was working on Shrunk, a brand new sequel with Moranis as Wayne and Josh Gad as his grown son Nick (played by Robert Oliveri in the original films). The plot has Nick following in his dad’s footsteps right down to accidentally shrinking his own kids and needs Wayne’s help to restore them. 

This was notable as Moranis had stepped away from live-action movies in 1997 to focus on his family after his wife passed away from cancer. He’s done some voice acting roles but resisted live-action films, including the recent Ghostbusters sequels. 

Johnston was also confirmed to direct the new film, but just as things were getting underway, the COVID-19 pandemic brought Hollywood to a standstill. The various scheduling conflicts with Gad and other issues have delayed it, which Gad confirmed on Twitter. 

A lot of u ask me what’s going on with this film. Truth is, we were inches from starting and then COVID hit, inches from starting again & then my schedule exploded with conflicts, inches from starting again & budget got the best of us. If you want it, let your local @disney  know.

The 2023 Hollywood strikes were another blow so it’s possible the film might actually have been canceled like other Disney projects. Which would be a shame as there’s no better time than after its 35th anniversary for a follow-up. Special effects have grown by leaps and bounds so making the kids shrunk down would be more believable and lead to funnier adventures.

It would also be wonderful to finally see Moranis on screen again as the man has been missed by many comedy movie fans. So, while it’s on the backburner now, 35 years after the original became such a success, it’d be great to get Shrunk once more for movie buffs.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids streaming on Disney+.