In October 1984, when Back to the Future would’ve been in early-development stages, a producer gave a friendly suggestion to remedy one of the biggest flaws in the project. The script was “terrific”, everything was fine, but that title. Wouldn’t something along the lines of Space Man from Pluto have a smoother flow, make more sense to audiences, and convey what the movie’s actually about much more succinctly?
When Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg last made a war film, they produced Saving Private Ryan, which was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, and features what’s widely considered one of the greatest battle scenes ever captured on film. They’ve worked together since, including on Catch Me If You Can, one of the best movies of either man’s career, but Bridge of Spies might be considered a kind of spiritual sequel to Ryan. That was Hanks and Spielberg’s World War II picture. This is their Cold War one.
On June 20, 1975 a movie about an angry fish opened in about 500 theaters around the country. It was called Jaws, it was directed a guy named Steven Spielberg, it was scary as hell, and it changed the world forever. Its unique release strategy (wide instead of limited), intense television marketing campaign, and record-breaking box office essentially created the summer movie season (and made Spielberg a household name). 40 years later, regardless of its impact, Jaws remains a masterpiece, and a much better and more interesting movie than the vast majority of so-called summer blockbusters that it birthed.
Well, this was unexpected. After a few years of development, Warner Bros. is officially moving forward with a big screen adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One and they’re doing so with the director most likely to break the brains of the novel’s biggest fans: Steven Spielberg. Yes, Spielberg is going to direct a science fiction story powered by raw ‘80s nostalgia for the same studio where he produced Gremlins and The Goonies.