In honor of Detroit celebrating its first ever RoboCop Day this month, Museum staff thought it would be fun to shed some light on this futuristic cop character and the making of the RoboCop movies. How much do you know about the part-man, part-machine phenom known as RoboCop?
When wearing the full RoboCop costume, actor Peter Weller was too bulky to fit into his police car. That’s why most shots show him exiting the car or preparing to get into it. When he needed to be in the car, he only wore the top part of the costume and sat in his underwear.
Concerned that various police forces would object to the scene of the title character throwing his nemesis, Clarence Boddicker, through glass while reading his rights, the producers had a preliminary screening for an audience of police officers. It turns out that the officers were delighted at the sight of the hero getting tough with a murderer in a way that they couldn’t.
In Sacramento, California a robbery suspect fled into a darkened movie theatre to escape pursuing police. He became so engrossed in the movie playing on screen—RoboCop—that he failed to notice that police had evacuated all other patrons from the theatre. When the lights flipped on, the stunned man was taken into custody.
Even though the movie was set in Detroit, Michigan, most urban scenes in RoboCop were filmed in Dallas, Texas, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. RoboCop 2 was filmed mostly in Houston, Texas, and RoboCop 3 was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia.
While filming the scene of the first movie where RoboCop catches a set of car keys, the foam rubber hands of Peter Weller’s costume made grasping the keys quite a challenge. It took around 50 takes and a day’s worth of filming to finally get the scene right.
The RoboCop suit for RoboCop 2 (which can be seen in the Museum when it opens) is constructed out of Fiberglass. It made it easier for actor, Peter Weller, to move in the suit and gave it a more metallic look.
One of the major plot elements of RoboCop 2 is when the city of Detroit must declare bankruptcy, something the city actually ended up doing in 2013.