Howard the Duck (titled Howard: A New Breed of Hero in the UK) is a 1986 American science-fiction comedy film directed by Willard Huyck and starring Chip Zien, Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, and Tim Robbins. Produced by Gloria Katz and written by Huyck and Katz, with George Lucas as executive producer, the screenplay was originally intended to be an animated film based on the Marvel comic book of the same name, but the film adaptation became live-action because of a contractual obligation. Although several TV adaptations of Marvel characters had aired during the preceding 21 years, this was the first theatrical released film after the serial Captain America.
Lucas proposed adapting the surrealist comic book following the production of American Graffiti (1973). Following multiple production difficulties and mixed response to test screenings, Howard the Duck was released in theaters on August 1, 1986. Upon its release, the film was a critical and commercial failure. It was nominated for seven Razzie awards, and made about $15 million domestically compared to its $30 million budget. Contemporary critics saw the decision to shoot the film in live action instead of as an animated film and the appearance of Howard as primary obstacles to its success, while more recent commentators tend to focus on the film's writing. Despite the criticism, it has gained a cult following among fans of the comic-book series.