Dennis the Menace: Dinosaur Hunter is a 1987 Made-for-TV Movie based on Hank Ketcham's Dennis the Menace (US) and produced by DIC Entertainment along with Coca-Cola Telecommunications. Airing in Syndication in 1987 under the title "Dennis the Menace", it got a home video release by Vidmark as "Dennis the Menace: Dinosaur Hunter". The movie stars Victor DiMattia as Dennis Mitchell, Jim Jansen as Henry Mitchell, Patricia Estrin as Alice Mitchell and William Windon as Mr. Wilson.
Dennis and his friends dig up the front yard of the Mitchell house in order to help put in a sprinkler system his father wanted. During the dig, he finds a dinosaur bone. Henry calls in an old friend, a paleontologist named Barclay Schuyler III (nicknamed "Bones"), to see if the bone is authentic. It is and things go downhill from there.Bones has a crew digging up both the Mitchells' and then the Wilsons' propery. Besides disrupting the neighborhood with a paleontological dig and unwanted tourists, things get even worse when an amusement park named Dinosaur Land is going to be built over the neighborhood which will force everyone to move.
Meanwhile, the Wilsons are approaching their fortieth wedding anniversary. Mrs. Wilson wants to go to Hawaii but Mr. Wilson doesn't want to pay for the trip. This leads to Mrs. Wilson getting a part-time job; Hilarity Ensues when Mr. Wilson has to keep house and deal with his wife's boss, Mr. Bonfigli, as a rival for her affection.
Not to be confused with the 1993 Dennis the Menace live-action movie
This movie contains examples of the following tropes:
- All Take and No Give: Bones really takes advantage of Henry and Alice's hospitality during his stay.
- Bank Toaster: A variation - at the end of the movie, Mr. Wilson breaks down and agrees to go to Hawaii with his wife for their anniversary. He mentions getting the airline tickets through a bank promotion.
- Brick Joke: Henry Mitchell talks early in the movie about putting a sprinkler system in their front yard. At the end of the movie during a luau for the Wilsons, Dennis reveals he and his friends set up sprinklers; they set them off, soaking everyone there.
- Cannot Keep a Secret: Dennis is asked by Bones to keep it a secret that he buried dinosaur bones in the Wilsons' garden. Dennis reveals this at a big press conference, thus bringing the dig and planned Dino Land park to an end.
- Community-Threatening Construction: The planned amusement park, Dino Land, becomes this as the entire neighborhood the Mitchells and their neighbors live in would be torn down.
- Colon: Cancer: The title is better known under its "Dinosaur Hunter" subtitle for home video, possibly to distinguish it from the 1993 movie.
- Covers Always Lie: The VHS cover shows an actual dinosaur but none actually appear in the movie since the plots involves bones and fossils. The Dennis on the cover looks nothing like his actor in this film, most likely being a stock actor.
- Evil Genius: Downplayed with Bones. While he is not exactly evil, he is quite selfish during his stay with the Mitchells and even plants dinosaur bones in the Wilsons' garden to make sure he can profit from the dig.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Margaret is holding the bride and groom dolls, anyone familiar with toys from The '80s should recognize her groom doll as a My Buddy doll.
- Hula and Luaus: The movie ends with a luau. In fact, the B-plot involves Mrs. Wilson wanting to go to Hawaii for her fortieth wedding anniversary; the Wilsons announce during the ending luau that they will be going there.
- Karma Houdini: Played with for Bones. While his plans to profit off the dig are foiled and his friendship with Henry is ruined, he never faces prison or any legal trouble for his schemes.
- Made-for-TV Movie: Aired in 1987 in syndication on American television
- Men Can't Keep House: Played straight when Mr. Wilson tries to do laundry and vacuum when his wife starts a part-time job.
- Product Placement: During the luau at the end, Dennis and his friends are drinking Cokes and Minute Maid brand soda. Both of these brands are owned by Coca-Cola Telecommunications.