The Austin Powers Joke Mike Myers Is Really Happy Worked

Dr Evil Austin Powers Pinkie

The Austin Powers movies are overloaded with jokes that managed to become mainstays of modern pop culture. There's one line in particular, however, that surprised Mike Myers in its popularity. Apparently he spent a long time wary of Dr. Evil's famous "One million dollars!" line, but was impressed by just how many people found it hilarious. He recently commented,

It is always a surprise which lines are people's favorite. The 'one million dollars' has been the one that is so satisfying because it is sort of a fragile joke. The fact that Dr. Evil has been frozen, he is out of date and a million dollars is not much money. It restores your faith in audiences. And it has really stayed in the culture.

Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year - having originally been released in 1997 - and The Hollywood Reporter has published a long oral history featuring interviews with Mike Myers, director Jay Roach, and more. During a discussion of the small-scale production and the number of things that had to be manipulated to work, Myers remarked that it was ultimately some of the small stuff that brought the most satisfaction - including the exchange where it's revealed Dr. Evil does not fully understand the concept of multi-decade inflation.

The Austin Powers scene in question takes place shortly after Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) is awoken from his 30-year-long cryogenic sleep. Immediately ready to start up his world conquering efforts yet again, he proposes an idea involving drilling a hole to the center of the Earth and dropping in a nuclear warhead... unless the governments of the world pay him what he believes is a hefty ransom. As his number two, Number Two (Robert Wagner), points out, though, his demands aren't really extreme enough at the end of the 20th century. You can watch the great sequence in the video below:

In general, the original Austin Powers is a wonderful send-up of the ridiculous 1960s spy thrillers (particularly James Bond), and there is richness in its parody being based in time-displaced plot. It allows for some legitimately clever gags, not only about inflation, but also sexual politics and gender relations. For a ridiculous '90s comedy, it's a smart film.

We aren't quite at Austin Powers 20th anniversary yet - as the movie was first released on May 2, 1997. That, however, just gives you all enough time to get your Blu-rays/digital copies organized so that you can celebrate properly.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.