Roads? Back to the Future turns 30, blazes a path for movie and theme park standards


When this baby hits 88 mph…Those are the infamous lines that Doctor Emmett Brown said that would forever change the course of time. Back to the Future made it’s debut on July 3rd, 1985, and brought about a new age of movies, and would eventually change the path of theme parks. The film became one of the highest grossing films of the time, and spawned two sequels that would take us to the future, and the old west. The legacy of the films have left a legion of fans, many of which still clamor for more from the franchise.


Back to the Future was directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Bob Gale, and produced by Steven Spielberg and his Amblin Entertainment. The film had a shaky start, with Eric Stoltz slated to play Marty McFly. In fact, the film had been shooting for several months when the producers, directors, and Stoltz himself agreed to part ways.
Michael J. Fox was the original choice for Marty, and reworked his schedule on the show Family Ties, so that he would be able to film both the TV show and the movie.
The film also was originally slated for May, but was pushed back until August. Test audiences loved the film so much that producers pushed to get the film ready for July 3rd. The film was a huge succes, earning Oscar nominations for the film’s songs and special effects.

Fast forward a bit into the future,  and Steven Spielberg having a conversation with friend and fellow director of legendary films, George Lucas. Lucas had just shown Spielberg his new ride at Disney, Star Tours. When Spielberg told Lucas he was working with Universal to bring a new King Kong attraction to the Studio Tour, and possibly other attractions,  Lucas famously told him “Universal will never be able to make rides as good as Disney”. He reportedly also urged Spielberg to jump ship and partner with Disney.
Spielberg had a vested interest in Universal, so jumping ship wasn’t an option. Instead he made a suggestion to Universal to create an attraction based on Back to the Future.  At tba5t point, Universal Florida was pretty much a dead project.  Spielbergs suggestion is believed to be what put Universal Studios Florida on track for opening.
The ride was originally going to be a roller coaster, but execs felt that a coaster would not be the best way to tell the story. Instead, simulators were created,  using massive IMAX screens. The ride created a new story, and brought back Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown, and Tom Wilson as Biff. The ride used stop motion animation to create much of the effects, since computer animation was still in it’s infancy, and too expensive. The attraction opened to rave reviews,  and became the standard to which many simulators and other attractions were created.
The park has gone on to become a main competitor with Disney, and a huge presence in the amusement industry.

Today the ride is gone from two of the three Universal parks, but it’s legacy lives on.
Doc Brown still peddles through the street of Universal Studios Florida, where a Delorean and Train still sit. Universal Studios Hollywood is rumored to be bringing a major new part of the Studio Tour to life, featuring Back to the Future.
There’s also the mysterious #BTTF2015 Hashtag,  which indicates something big is coming.
Plus, on October 21st, 2015 tge future will officially be here. That’s the date that Marty travels to the Future.  While we’re a ways off from flying cars, Back to the Future predicted a lot of technology that has come to pass.

What will the future hold for Back to the Future? We will have to wait and see.

Stay tuned for more fun, and be sure to get social with us on Facebook and follow along with us on Twitter @BehindThrills for the latest updates!

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