‘I thought you’d be bigger’ are five words frequently repeated throughout Rowdy Herrington’s cult action movie Road House, but its star, to which the sentence was directed, could not be any bigger at the time of the film’s release. Patrick Swayze was one of Hollywood’s hottest properties at the time, mostly thanks to his turn as the rebellious dance instructor Johnny Castle in teen-romance sleeper Dirty Dancing. A very different film, targeted at a very different audience with recurrent violence, frequent nudity and common expletives, Road House was very much going after the adult male, and succeeded with more than $30 million in the bank during its U.S. theatrical run – all from an estimated budget of $10-15 million.
“Pain don’t hurt.”
Road House rolled into production in the spring of 1988. By that point, Dirty Dancing had made well over $200 million around the world