When some of us were kids, there was no internet. You actually had to buy the newspaper or go to your local movie theater and see what was playing and what show you wanted to catch. Reserved seats? think again Watching your favorite movie was a mix of stale popcorn, warm cola and large crowds trying to fit into a small space where far away digital projections were a dream. The summer was the same, only compounded by crowds of vacationers, who sometimes just used the cinema to rest from the scorching heat.
There will never be a film summer like 1982. That’s for sure. Several blockbusters that tie in with previous posts, Spielberg dominating the industry and horror films that show why it was so big in the 80s. You might think this compares to the current trend of multiplexes always showing an MCU movie or a Disney animated production, but we guarantee you that’s not the case. There was no streaming and the VHS technology isn’t even comparable. You had to go to the theater, and when you weren’t going to school it seemed like a great idea to catch your next favorite movie on the big screen.
We could time this thing, but we’d rather take a turn and give you an idea of how the summer of 1982 went by genre.
The Epic (and two long-awaited sequels)
In the ’80s, Rocky Balboa was a staple of pop culture. He had become America’s boxer and sports film frontman. The first two films were huge successes and the third another one Rocky III was no exception. This pitted Sylvester Stallone’s Balboa against Mr. T’s Clubber, with Survivors Eye of the Tiger running in the background. Talk about an effective prescription. Since it was released on May 28, it’s no wonder it became the second highest-grossing film of 1982 anywhere in the world.
But a few days earlier, America had met Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan the Barbarian. Released on May 14th, the film presented an epic fantasy film with enough violence to leave everyone hungry for more swordsmen. Curiously, the producers initially thought of Charles Bronson for the lead role, as did Stallone. His casting would have made this summer his summer.
star trek also returned to theaters that year and made a great statement in the form of a sequel that is still considered one of the best in cinematic history. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was released on June 4th and was a huge box office hit. It cost a lot less than the first and gave a dramatic backbone to a franchise that didn’t have as much presence in film. Of course, the producers were very happy with the result. That and the audience feeling mesmerized by fantastic special effects and a great haircut by Ricardo Montalbán.
Panic screams could also be heard in the cinemas in the summer of 1982. But it was all good. You were by your family’s side when they were released poltergeist on June 4th. Spielberg and Hooper fought for the PG rating that allowed it to blow minds of kids around the world. This was the highest-grossing horror film of 1982, and it confirmed that Spielberg’s influence was important and effective. It was so successful that it was actually re-released on Halloween that year. And what did the people do? They were there to see the Freelings confront unimaginable beings from other realms.
But all was not well in 1982 in terms of box office earnings. John Carpenters the thing was released on June 25th and might be an excellent feature, but it wasn’t a hit with audiences this summer. This actually resulted in Carpenter losing his directing job fire starter. But can you imagine that? Watch after the thing in 1982? It’s one of those experiences that some of us dream of. The texture, the special effects, the cold, and the blood drawing scene. What a great horror film!
Then, on August 13, all bets were off and Jason Voorhees smashed expectations at the box office. Friday the 13th Part III was in 3D, it promised to end the trilogy (hah! we were suckers), and it was the most violent of them all. This actually lasted poltergeist fell short of number one and became the second highest-grossing horror film of 1982. A double feature film starring these two could well have been a dream for a 13-year-old.
The science fiction
In 1982 we could also see other worlds. With the further development of special effects, science fiction promised to be a huge success. A certain friendly alien paved the way for dreams to come true, even if they meant saying goodbye to your best friend.
ET the extraterrestrial hit theaters on June 11 and changed cinema. It hampered success war of stars and quickly the highest-grossing film of all time. Spielberg had proved once again that aliens weren’t that bad, and the thing didn’t even let us shy away from the idea. This one had it all. Cool kids, BMXs, great use for Speak & Spell and Reese’s Bites. We can only imagine watching ET and Elliott fly by the moon for the first time with John Williams’ score in the background. We don’t know if people cheered or watched in awe as Spielberg’s blockbuster concept was reworked yet again.
blade runner was released on June 25th and the reason is simple. Producer Alan Ladd Jr. thought 25 was a lucky number, giving him previous hits in the form of War of stars. However, Ridley Scott’s fantastic sci-fi film didn’t fare as well as its summer partners. It was a much more complex film and not as family friendly as its peers. For those of you who were lucky enough to see it back then, we can only guess which version you saw. Yes, in the theatrical version blade runner already suffered from edits and cuts that make the franchise confusing in terms of version. Definitely imagine a double feature show with this and the thing.
Then, on July 9th, mind was broken when Steven Lisberger Tron was published. No one fully understood computers, and Disney’s major live-action film put the characters in a mainframe. In any case, it was the great special effects that made people want to go to the cinema and enjoy the adventures of a very intelligent man in a world that only he understands. To this day we have not forgotten the sound of a forgotten light cycle.