Great Scott! 'Back to the Future' is no longer in the future
October 21, 2015 marks the date the cast travels to in the future, and fans worldwide are turning the event into an epic day of celebration.
On Thanksgiving weekend in 1989, millions of moviegoers rushed to see the opening of "Back to the Future II" at their local cineplex. They saw flying cars, holograms and hoverboards. The future they witnessed, still decades away, was October 21, 2015. Which means we've now officially arrived in the future.
All around the world, from Amsterdam to Atlanta, fans of the beloved trilogy will be celebrating Back to the Future Day on Wednesday. In New York City, Verizon and Lyft have imported a fleet of DeLoreans. Lyft app users who choose to be picked up in "McFly Mode" will get a 20-minute ride in the iconic vehicle. Similar time machine rentals are available throughout the country, including in Los Angeles and Minneapolis.
Of course, there will be special screenings of the trilogy as well. In Pittsburgh, a library showing the film will have chemists from the Carnegie Science Center on hand to show how liquid nitrogen and metal can be used together to create a hovering effect as seen in the movie. In Tel Aviv, Israel, close to 2,000 people have signed up to attend a "Back to the Future" party and screening at an open-air cinema where attendees will be dressed in 1980s-era costumes. Oron Shamir, a professor of film and television at Tel Aviv University, will lead a discussion at the event about fact vs. fiction in the 2015 depicted in the film.
"It's crazy, but I know there are people who have not seen the 'Back to the Future' trilogy, so we have to educate them," Shamir told From The Grapevine. He also says that his event isn't the only one happening tomorrow night in Israel. In the coastal city of Holon, there will be another "Back to the Future" gathering featuring a trilogy marathon and talks about the history of the DeLorean and the future of fashion.
Last year, a month-long event in London saw an estimated 75,000 people, most dressed in 1950s attire, descend upon a fairgrounds that had been transformed into a replica of the film’s famed Hill Valley, complete with stores, barber shops, a town square and a high school. Secret Cinema, the company behind the immersive movie experience, now says it plans on recreating the event in other cities.
But it's not just fans that are embracing this special occasion. This summer, in preparation for the anniversary, Penguin Random House released the instant bestseller "We Don't Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy." Among other things, the book revealed that Johnny Depp and Charlie Sheen were considered for the lead role of Marty.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is using the opportunity to raise awareness for its Parkinson’s research. Pepsi is releasing limited-edition bottles of Pepsi Perfect, a drink that appeared in the film's version of the future. Toyota is riding the wave by having the films' actors appear in a commercial for a new car.
Speaking of cars, many are using the anniversary to discuss which 2015 predictions from the movie have actually come true. While we still don't have flying cars or sneakers with power laces, the film was prescient when it came to video conferencing and drone photography. Of course, with the Chicago Cubs possibly on track to win a World Series title, sports almanac enthusiasts are hoping the infamous Back to the Future prophecy comes to fruition.
And then there are the hoverboards. A New York Times reporter covering the invention of a working hoverboard in 2014 said it was "25 years in the making." This August, Lexus unveiled an actual hoverboard to much fanfare. Its promotional video has already been viewed more than 11 million times.
For those who can't make it to any of the special events worldwide on Wednesday, you'll still have plenty to keep you busy. The Esquire Network and the Discovery Family Channel, among other TV networks, will be airing the trilogy non-stop throughout the day. As well, New York-based filmmaker Jason Aron has produced a highly anticipated behind-the-scenes look at the films. The documentary, which features interviews with the entire cast and crew, will become available for streaming at midnight tonight. Here's a sneak peek:
So why does this trilogy have such a hold on moviegoers?
Melissa Miller, a pop culture buff from Santa Barbara, Calif., was 11 in the summer of 1985 when the original film was released. "It's amazing to think that that summer I saw 'Goonies,' and 'Pee Wee's Big Adventure,' and 'The Legend of Billie Jean,' and 'Teen Wolf' and 'Back to the Future,'" she told From The Grapevine. "It was a summer made for preteens asserting their independence, solving problems larger than themselves, and finding their way through life."
Shamir, the Tel Aviv University film professor, agrees about the life lessons culled from the 'Back to the Future' trilogy. "They're beautifully made," he says. "It's the overall coming-of-age experience that we all wish we had. Even the simple concept of making up for mistakes or going back in time to fix one mistake. It's like the 'Control-Z' for real life," he says, referring to the keyboard stroke that people use to undo an error. "We all wish we could do half of the things that are in the movie."
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