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With What About Bob?, Disney buried subtle references to stealing money from Richard Dreyfuss into the film itself

No longer content with taking the baby steps advocated by his therapist alter-ego Dr. Leo Marvin, Richard Dreyfuss has decided that Disney doesn’t deserve the kind of gentle hand-holding that the actor has never been known for anyway. Deadline reports that the actor, along with the widow of Turner & Hooch producer Raymond Wagner, are suing the company for not letting a firm audit the studio to see what profits they might potentially be owed. What nobody seems to be noticing, however, is that What About Bob? was always a densely coded text that secretly explains Disney’s plan to strip noted actor Richard Dreyfuss of his finances.

The 1991 movie casts Bill Murray as psychiatric patient Bob Wiley (because, like Disney’s money-hungry and clever executives, he’s “wily”—you see the dominoes starting to fall already). Wiley’s desperate need for acceptance and desire to overcome his many phobias sends him out to take over the life and family of Dr. Leo Marvin (Dreyfuss). As Marvin’s family members—clearly a visual representation of the easily-gullible public—fall hard for Wiley’s charms and turn on their increasingly embattled patriarch, Dreyfuss slowly loses his mind, ending the film reduced to a gibbering wreck in a wheelchair. You see, all of it was a hidden-in-plain-sight plan to ruin a proud actor and seize his property, much as “Bob” metaphorically seized control of the filmic family.


But Dreyfuss, whom we assume has finally had the scales lifted from his eyes and is seeing the film the “right” way at last, is fighting back with a bluntly worded lawsuit, as you can see for yourself:

Motion picture and television companies detest having to pay net and gross profit participants and have consistently and historically withheld significant amounts of profits from participants. This is why profit participation auditors in the motion picture and television industries exist; these auditors oftentimes find monies due to profit participants.

Interestingly, this lawsuit also reveals that Dreyfuss and his co-plaintiff seem to be far from the only people who want to audit the financial ledgers that Disney probably keeps under a thick layer of Frozen Blu-rays. The filing claims that there is currently a three-year waiting list to do an audit on Walt Disney properties.

Respectively, What About Bob? and Turner & Hooch made $64 million and $72 million at the domestic box office, which doesn’t include proceeds from home video, international sales, or television distribution rights. Some have suggested that Turner & Hooch’s inclusion in this lawsuit means that it, too, is part of this nefarious cabal, but cooler heads understand that it’s just a delightful Tom Hanks movie about a goofy dog, and looking for deeper meaning in something like that is ridiculous.


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