Back to the Future (franchise)

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Back to the Future
Back-to-the-future-logo.svg
Official franchise logo
Created byRobert Zemeckis
Bob Gale
Original workBack to the Future (1985)
OwnerUniversal Pictures
Amblin Entertainment
Years1985–1990
Films and television
Film(s)
Short film(s)Doc Brown Saves the World (2015)
Animated seriesBack to the Future (1991–1992)
Theatrical presentations
Play(s)Back to the Future Day (2015)
Musical(s)Back to the Future: The Musical (2020)
Games
Video game(s)List of video games
Audio
Soundtrack(s)List of soundtracks
Miscellaneous
Theme park attraction(s)Back to the Future: The Ride (1991)
PinballBack to the Future: The Pinball (1990)
Character(s)List of characters
Official website
Backtothefuture.com

Back to the Future is an American science fiction comedy franchise created by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. The franchise follows the adventures of a high school student, Marty McFly, and an eccentric scientist, Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown, as they use a DeLorean time machine to time travel to different periods in the history of the fictional town of Hill Valley, California.

The first Back to the Future film was the highest-grossing film of 1985 and became an international phenomenon, leading to the second and third films, which were back-to-back film productions, released in 1989 and 1990, respectively. Though the sequels did not perform quite as well at the box office as the first film, the trilogy remains immensely popular and has yielded such spin-offs as an animated television series and a motion-simulation ride at the Universal Studios Theme Parks in Universal City, California; Orlando, Florida; and Osaka, Japan (all now closed), as well as a video game and a stage musical. The film's visual effects were done by Industrial Light and Magic. The first film won an Academy Award for Sound Editing.[1]

Films[edit]

Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
Back to the Future July 3, 1985 Robert Zemeckis Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale Bob Gale and Neil Canton
Back to the Future Part II November 22, 1989 Bob Gale Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale
Back to the Future Part III May 25, 1990
Back to the Future
Directed byRobert Zemeckis
Written by
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyDean Cundey
Edited by
Music byAlan Silvestri
Production
companies
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
1985–90
Running time
337 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$99 million
Box office$975.2 million

Back to the Future (1985)[edit]

Seventeen-year-old Marty McFly is accidentally sent back in time from October 26, 1985, to November 5, 1955, in a time machine built from a DeLorean by eccentric scientist Emmett "Doc" Brown, when they are attacked and Doc is apparently killed by Islamic terrorists from whom he stole the plutonium that gives the flux capacitor the 1.21 gigawatts it needs to time-travel. Soon after his arrival in 1955, Marty's mother, Lorraine, falls in love with him, rather than with his father George McFly, threatening to cause a paradox that would result in Marty ceasing to exist. Without plutonium to power the time machine, Marty must find the 1955 Doc Brown to help him reunite his parents and return to 1985.

The efforts of Biff Tannen, George's bully and supervisor, further complicate Marty's situation until Marty successfully causes his parents to fall in love and simultaneously convinces George to finally stand up to Biff. Returning to the future via a lightning strike that powers the machine, Marty discovers a vastly improved situation for the McFly family, as a much more confident George has become an accomplished science fiction author, Marty's two older siblings have better lives, he owns the car of his dreams, and an apparently-softened Biff is now an auto detailer, rather than George's supervisor. Despite 1955 Doc's insistence on not knowing details of the future, a note Marty leaves in his pocket on November 12, 1955, prevents him from being killed by the terrorists. In the film's final moments, Doc Brown appears in a modified version of the DeLorean and tells Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer Parker that they must travel to the future to fix a problem caused by Marty and Jennifer's kids.

Back to the Future Part II (1989)[edit]

The series continues as Doc Brown travels with Marty and Jennifer to the year 2015, where he has discovered Marty's family is in ruins. Shortly after rectifying the situation, Marty buys a sports almanac containing the outcomes of 50 years (1950–2000) worth of sporting events to make easy money. However, Doc talks him out of it and throws the almanac in the trash bin, where the 2015 Biff Tannen finds it. A sleeping Jennifer has been taken by police to her future home, needing Marty and Doc to retrieve her before returning to 1985. While Marty and Doc are at the 2015 McFly home, 2015 Biff steals the DeLorean time machine and gives the book to his 1955 self just before he goes to the dance at the end of the first film. When Doc and Marty return to 1985, they find that Biff has used the sports almanac's knowledge for financial gain, which allowed him to turn Courthouse Square into a casino with 27 floors, take over Hill Valley, get away with the murder of Marty's father, and later marry Marty's mother. Marty learns that Biff was given the book by 2015 Biff on November 12, 1955, so he and Doc go back to that date in order to steal the almanac from Biff before he can use it to destroy their lives. They accomplish this in a complex fashion, often crossing their own past selves' paths. When the duo is about to travel back to 1985, a lightning bolt strikes the DeLorean and activates the time circuits, sending Doc back to 1885 and leaving Marty stranded once again in 1955.

Back to the Future Part III (1990)[edit]

After finding out that Doc Brown was trapped in 1885, Marty and the 1955 Doc find and fix the DeLorean. Learning that Doc gets shot in 1885 by Biff's great-grandfather, the outlaw Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen, Marty travels back in time to save Doc (who has become a blacksmith) and bring him back to the future. Arriving in the middle of a chase between the United States Cavalry and American Indians, Marty is forced to flee to a cave, discovering the DeLorean's fuel line is torn. Marty convinces Doc to come back with him and find a way to get back to his time before it is too late, but Doc is smitten after saving schoolteacher Clara Clayton. After running afoul of and defeating Buford Tannen and several dramatic action scenes involving using a speeding locomotive to push the DeLorean to 88 miles per hour (142 km/h), Marty returns to 1985 without Doc Brown. When the DeLorean appears in 1985, a modern train destroys it, with Marty barely escaping. Reuniting with Jennifer, Marty avoids a street race and the two visit the scene of the wreckage of the DeLorean. Suddenly, Doc, Clara and their children appear in a time-travelling steam locomotive. Doc reminds Marty and Jennifer that "[their] future is whatever [they] make it", so they must "make it a good one." The locomotive lifts off the tracks and departs from 1985, ending the trilogy.

Future[edit]

Co-writer and director Robert Zemeckis, who has final rights to all films in the Back to the Future franchise, has stated that he will block all attempts to remake or reboot the original film. Co-writer Bob Gale has stated that he did not wish to see another film in the series without the Marty McFly character nor any other actor than Michael J. Fox playing him, while acknowledging that Fox's current health condition would make this impossible. He illustrated this at a 2008 fan convention in Florida, stating "The idea of making another Back to the Future movie without Michael J. Fox – you know, that's like saying, 'I'm going to cook you a steak dinner and I'm going to hold the beef."[2] Gale also said that the Telltale video-game adaptation is the closest thing to what a fourth film could be like.[3] In an interview on October 21, 2015, the day of Marty McFly's purported arrival in the future, Christopher Lloyd stated that he would consider making a fourth film under the condition that the original cast and creative team returned, along with a story "worth telling".[4] The same day, Lloyd reprised his role as Doc Brown in a brief segment in which the character returns to announce a special message (titled "Doc Brown Saves the World"), explaining the discrepancy between reality and the future as depicted in the film.[5] In 2020, actor Tom Holland claimed in an interview with BBC Radio 1 that he was approached by an unnamed producer over a possible reboot of the franchise with him starring the lead role as Marty McFly (or a similarly new character). However, Holland stated he was reluctant to take up this offer as he described the existing films as "perfect films", though he would be interested in re-creating scenes from the films in a deep-fake homage video or short film.[6]

Related works[edit]

Short film: Doc Brown Saves the World (2015)[edit]

Doc Brown Saves the World
Produced byGlenn Sanders
Brett Levisohn
Thomas Guindon
StarringChristopher Lloyd
Salli Saffioti (voice)
CinematographyAdam Biggs
Edited byApolonia Panagopoulos
David Lizmi
Chris Salters
Production
company
Distributed byUniversal Studios
Release date
October 21, 2015 (2015-10-21TUS)
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Doc Brown Saves the World is a 2015 direct-to-video short film starring Christopher Lloyd as Emmett Brown. The short is featured on the 2015 Blu-ray and DVD release of the Back to the Future trilogy commemorating the franchise's 30th anniversary. The short was released in the United States on October 20, 2015.[citation needed]

Emmett Brown is in an undisclosed location outside Hill Valley, California. He sets a video camera to track his body in order to videotape a message for Marty McFly. He explains that it is October 21, 2015, one hour before Marty, Doc, and Jennifer Parker arrive from 1985. He explains that when he traveled to the future, he discovered that there was a nuclear holocaust that occurred on October 21, 2045. He tracked it down to four inventions: the food hydrator, self-lacing shoes, the hoverboard, and the Mr. Fusion home energy reactor.

The former three inventions led to the world becoming lazy and obese, leading to widespread waste. The invention of hoverboards led to hovercars, which led to people throwing their trash out of the windows, causing a great trash storm in 2021. All of this trash needed to be disposed of, which led to 100 million Mr. Fusion units being manufactured. All of the Mr. Fusion units had a tiny nuclear reactor inside, and all of them detonated on October 21, 2045. The chain of events that led to this happening began less than twenty-four hours after Marty caused Griff Tannen to crash his hoverboard into the Hill Valley Courthouse when Griff was sentenced. He vowed to get back at the world for laughing at him and planned to do it through a company that he would found, GriffTech.

Doc holds up a tablet computer with a digital version of the Hill Valley Telegraph. On June 13, 2032, GriffTech invented a social media network called ThingMeme, which secured funding from Douglas J. Needles. ThingMeme allowed inanimate objects to post selfies on the internet. However, it was a scam, as it allowed Griff to gain access to every object on Earth. On the 30th anniversary of his arrest, on October 21, 2045, he uploaded a virus that was supposed to flash the word "butthead" on everything. However, it short-circuited the Mr. Fusion network, causing nuclear explosions in 100 million homes worldwide.

Doc Brown travels to an unknown date to ensure these inventions are never created, which will prevent the nuclear explosion. He leaves his camera on, which captures the inventions being erased from history. He arrives back in 2015, in a winter jacket and ski goggles, declaring that the mission was more complicated than he calculated, but declaring it a success. He holds up the tablet computer, where the headline on the Hill Valley Telegraph changes from "Griff Tannen Founds Grifftech" to "Griff Tannen Found Guilty".

Doc's excitement is short-lived, however, as he reaches in his pocket. He pulls out the Quantum Mind Jar, which he thought he disposed of in 2075. He is worried that not doing so will unravel everything they accomplished. The artificial intelligence of the Quantum Mind Jar tells Brown that they need to go back to the future, which he dismisses as he does not want to risk further time travel.

Another Emmett Brown then arrives, also declaring his experiment a success. Both versions of Brown, along with the artificial intelligence of the Quantum Mind Jar, are shocked at discovering that there are two Emmett Browns present.

Episodic video game[edit]

Back to the Future: The Game is an episodic graphic adventure based on the films. The plot of the game was widely praised in published reviews, as depicting a full-fledged plot and storyline, for the established characters of the franchise.[7][8] As one reviewer said, "The story was really interesting too. I really did feel like I was playing through a whole new set of Back to the Future movies."[9]

The game is split-up into five episodes available on multiple gaming platforms, the first episode released for Microsoft Windows and OS X on December 22, 2010. PlayStation 3 and iOS versions followed in February 2011. Episodes 2 through 5 were released throughout February to June 2011, with the final episode released on June 23, 2011. The ports feature updated voice work from Tom Wilson, who played Biff Tannen in the films (Biff was voiced by Kid Beyond in the original release).[10]

The game was developed and published by Telltale Games as part of a licensing deal with Universal Pictures. Bob Gale, the co-creator, co-writer, and co-producer of the film trilogy, assisted Telltale in writing the game's story. Original actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd allowed the developers to use their likenesses in the game for the lead characters Marty McFly and Doc Brown, respectively. Although Lloyd reprises his role as Doc, A.J. Locascio plays the role of Marty, while Fox later appeared to voice two cameo roles in the final episode, reprising his role as future versions of Marty McFly in addition to playing his forefather William.[11] Tom Wilson did not play Biff in the original release, but voiced Biff in the re-release of the game in 2015.

The plot of the video game depicts Marty traveling back to 1931 to help Doc, who is in trouble again. The video game depicts several trips by Marty and Doc back and forth from 1931 to the present, due to multiple disruptions to the timeline. In several separate differing timelines, various altered outcomes are shown for the McFly family, and then separately for the entire Hill Valley region. At the conclusion of the game, the timeline is largely restored by Marty and Doc, although with some small differences from the "original" timeline.

TV series Back to the Future (1991–1992)[edit]

Series Seasons Episodes First released Last released Showrunner(s) Network(s)
Back to the Future 2 26 September 14, 1991 December 26, 1992 TBA CBS, France 2

An animated television series, Back to the Future: The Animated Series, lasted two seasons, each featuring 13 episodes, and ran on CBS from September 14, 1991, to December 26, 1992.

The TV series Back to the Future was an animated science-fiction comedy adventure television series for television, based on the live-action film trilogy.[12] Although the series takes place after the films, creator Bob Gale stated that the animated series and the comic books take place in their own 'what if' and alternate timelines.[13]

The show lasted two seasons, each featuring 13 episodes, and ran on CBS from September 14, 1991 to December 26, 1992 with reruns until August 14, 1993. The network chose not to renew the show for a third season (citing low ratings).[14] It was later rerun on Fox, as a part of the FoxBox block, from March 22 to August 30, 2003.[15] This show marked the debut television appearance of Bill Nye on a nationally broadcast show.

The central premise of the TV series was that, after the conclusion of Back to the Future Part III, in 1991, Dr. Emmett Brown moved into a farm in Hill Valley with his wife Clara, their sons Jules and Verne, and the family dog, Einstein. As with the films, time travel was achieved through the use of a modified DeLorean, which had apparently been re-built after it was destroyed at the end of the trilogy.[16] The DeLorean now has voice-activated "time circuits" and can also travel instantaneously to different locations in space and time, in addition to folding into a suitcase. The characters also travel through time using the steam engine time machine Doc invented at the end of the third film.

Although Marty McFly is the show's main character and Jennifer Parker makes occasional appearances, the show focused primarily on the Brown family, whereas the films focused on the McFly family. The film's villain, Biff Tannen, also appeared frequently. In addition, relatives of McFly, Brown, and Tannen families were plentiful in the past or future parallel time zones visited. Unlike the films, which took place entirely in Hill Valley and the surrounding area, the series frequently took the characters to exotic locations. At the end of every episode, Doc Brown would appear to do an experiment, often related to the episode's plot. The first season also included post-credits segments with Biff Tannen telling a joke related to the episode, alluding to Thomas F. Wilson's career as a stand-up comedian.

Board game[edit]

The Back to the Future: Back in Time board game was released in 2020. It is a fully cooperative game, in which each player is a character in the film, and must collect items to help Marty McFly and Doc to return from 1955 to their own time, as depicted in the first film in the trilogy.[17][18]

Cast and crew[edit]

Cast and characters[edit]

List indicator(s)

This section shows characters who will appear or have appeared in two or more installments in the franchise.

  • An empty, dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film, or that the character's official presence has not yet been confirmed.
  •  A indicates an appearance through archival footage.
  •  E indicates an appearance not included in the theatrical cut.
  •  O indicates an older version of the character.
  •  P indicates an appearance in onscreen photographs.
  •  V indicates a voice-only role.
  •  Y indicates a younger version of the character.
  •  S indicates an appearance as a character's singing voice.
Characters Films Ride Animated series Video game Short film Musical
Back to the Future Back to the Future Part II Back to the Future Part III Back to the Future: The Ride Back to the Future Back to the Future: The Game Doc Brown Saves the World Back to the Future: The Musical
Season 1 Season 2
Martin "Marty" McFly Michael J. Fox
Mark CampbellS[19]
Michael J. Fox Michael J. FoxA David KaufmanV A. J. LocascioV
Michael J. FoxV[a]
Olly Dobson
Emmett "Doc" Brown Christopher Lloyd Dan CastellanetaV
Christopher Lloyd[b]
Christopher LloydV
James Arnold TaylorVY
Christopher Lloyd Roger Bart
Biff Tannen Thomas F. Wilson Thomas F. WilsonV Kid BeyondV
Thomas F. WilsonV[c]
Aidan Cutler
George McFly Crispin Glover Jeffrey Weissman Jeffrey Weissman Michael SommersV Hugh Coles
Crispin GloverA
Lorraine Baines-McFly Lea Thompson Aimee MilesV Rosanna Hyland
Jennifer Parker Claudia Wells Elisabeth Shue Cathy CavadiniV Claudia WellsV Courtney-Mae Briggs
Einstein Tiger Freddie Freddie Danny MannV Appeared
TigerA
Gerald Strickland James Tolkan Photograph Mark Oxtoby
3-D Casey Siemaszko Shane O'Riordan
Match Billy Zane
Skinhead J. J. Cohen
Marvin Berry Harry Waters Jr. Cedric Neal
David "Dave" McFly Marc McClure Marc McClureE Marc McClure Will Haswell
Linda McFly Wendie Jo Sperber Wendie Jo Sperber Emma Lloyd
Goldie Wilson Donald Fullilove Cedric Neal
Griff Tannen Thomas F. Wilson Thomas F. WilsonV Thomas F. WilsonP
Douglas J. Needles Flea
Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen Thomas F. WilsonP Thomas F. Wilson Intro cameo
Clara Clayton Mary Steenburgen Mary SteenburgenV
William McFly Michael J. FoxP Michael J. FoxV
James Strickland James Tolkan Photograph
Jules Brown Todd Cameron Brown Joshua KeatonV
Verne Brown Dannel Evans Troy DavidsonV
Copernicus Uncredited dog Foster
Beauregard Tannen Thomas F. WilsonV Owen ThomasV

Additional crew[edit]

Role Film
Back to the Future
(1985)
Back to the Future
Part II

(1989)
Back to the Future
Part III

(1990)
Doc Brown Saves the World
(2015)
Director Robert Zemeckis
Writers Robert Zemeckis
Bob Gale
Producers Neil Canton
Bob Gale
Executive producers Steven Spielberg
Kathleen Kennedy
Frank Marshall
Cinematographer Dean Cundey
Editors Harry Keramidas
Arthur Schmidt
Composer Alan Silvestri
Production company Amblin Entertainment
Distributor Universal Pictures

Reception[edit]

Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office gross Budget Ref.
North America Other territories Worldwide
Back to the Future July 3, 1985 $210,609,762 $178,444,035 $389,053,797 $19,000,000 [20][21][22]
Back to the Future Part II November 22, 1989 $118,450,002 $213,500,000 $331,950,002 $40,000,000 [23][24]
Back to the Future Part III May 25, 1990 $87,727,583 $156,800,000 $244,527,583 $40,000,000 [25]
Back to the Future Day October 21, 2015 $1,650,000 $3,200,000 $4,850,000 [26]
Total $420,087,347 $555,044,035 $970,381,382 $99,000,000
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (by Box Office Mojo).

As of June 2011, the Back to the Future series is the 14th-highest-grossing trilogy of all time at the domestic market (adjusted for inflation),[27] 17th-highest-grossing trilogy of all time at the domestic market (not adjusted for inflation),[28] and the 13th-highest-grossing trilogy of all time, worldwide (not adjusted for inflation).[29]

The trilogy was re-released in certain countries worldwide on October 21, 2015, to commemorate the date traveled to by the protagonists in Back to the Future Part II and generated $4.8 million on its opening day.[30] In the United States and Canada, it earned $1.65 million from ticket sales across 1,815 North American theaters on its opening day.[30][31] Germany opened with $1.4 million and the United Kingdom with $345,000. Revenues from other territories such as Australia, Austria, France, Italy were moderate.[30]

The first movie in the trilogy returned to certain countries once again for the 35th anniversary of the first film. In the United Kingdom, this was originally scheduled to begin on May 29, 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the opening dates of various cinemas were delayed, and on a cinema-by-cinema basis slowly reopened. Many cinemas also showed the rest of the trilogy, partially due to the coinciding 30th anniversary of Part III.[32]

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Critical Public
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore[33]
Back to the Future 96% (84 reviews)[34] 87 (26 reviews)[35]
Back to the Future Part II 63% (63 reviews)[36] 57 (17 reviews)[37] A-
Back to the Future Part III 80% (45 reviews)[38] 55 (19 reviews)[39] A-

Marty McFly and Doc Brown were included in Empire's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time, ranking No. 39 and No. 76 respectively.[40][41]

Cultural impact[edit]

Back to the Future Day[edit]

OCT 21 2015.png
The replica Toyota Tacoma concept based on the original Toyota truck, on display during the Pittsburgh International Auto Show at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in 2016.

October 21, 2015, the date used for the setting of the future events during the first act of the second film, has been called "Back to the Future Day" by the media.[42][43][44][45][46] The year 2015 also commemorated the 30th anniversary of the release of the original film.

Many promotions were planned to mark the passing of the date, with many playing to the depiction of the future in the film, including:

  • Universal Pictures created a trailer for Jaws 19, the fictional 3D film advertised in the future setting.[47][48]
  • Universal and Mattel produced an advertisement for the hoverboard seen in the film.[49]
  • Pepsi produced a limited run of the "Pepsi Perfect" soft drink, including the unique bottles, which sold out before October 21, 2015.[50]
  • The Ford Motor Company allowed users configuring a Ford Focus on their website to add a Flux Capacitor as a $1.2 million option.[51]
  • Nintendo released the game Wild Gunman, which Marty is seen playing in the Cafe '80s scene, on the Wii U's Virtual Console service.[52]
  • The October 22, 2015 edition of USA Today used a mock-front page which was a recreation of the one seen in the film on that date. The back of the mock page contains an advertisement for Jaws 19, as well as ads for the 30th anniversary Back to the Future box set and The Michael J. Fox Foundation. On the real front page, the USA Today blue dot is replaced with a drone camera like the one seen in the film.[53] The print edition of this edition sold out in record time, according to USA Today.[54]
  • Nike revealed that they had recreated the Nike Mag shoes that Michael J. Fox wears in the film, complete with self-lacing power laces (a 2011 design was based on the same shoes, but lacked the power laces).[55] Although the laces operated more slowly than those seen in the film, they were nonetheless shown to work as intended in an eight-second video featuring Fox wearing the shoes.[55] Pairs of the shoes were sold via auction in 2016 to benefit The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.[55]
  • Toyota and Universal Pictures celebrated the 30th anniversary of the film series with a Toyota Tacoma Concept that was inspired by the original 1985 pickup that Toyota created for the 1985 film. The 2016 Tacoma 4WD was recreated using the same features and black color paint trim, KC HiLite driving lamps (modified with LED lighting), modified headlights and taillights (matching the 1985 version), the Toyota badging to the truck's tailgate, as well as the same D-4S fuel injection, the 1985-inspired mudflaps, and customized license plates matching the 2015 vehicles in Part II. The only difference between the 1985 original and the 2016 concept is the tires: Goodyear was featured in the 1985 film, while BF Goodrich is used on the concept. Toyota notes that this is a one-off concept as there are no plans to offer it as a package or level trim.[56] Toyota also produced a promotional video starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd and featuring many of the locations depicted in the film series, wherein the DeLorean's Mr. Fusion is used as a comparison for Toyota's hydrogen powered Mirai.[57]
  • Universal re-released all three films on DVD and Blu-ray disc on October 20, 2015.[58]
  • Telltale Games re-released their licensed Back to the Future the Game in a 30th Anniversary edition for newer consoles a week in advance of October 21.[59] Several video games released downloadable content related to Back to the Future to coincide with October 21, 2015, including Rocket League and LittleBigPlanet 3.[60][61]
  • Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History is an officially licensed book which includes 224 pages of behind-the-scenes stories, interviews, rare and never-before-seen images, concept art, storyboards, photos, and special removable replicas of paper items from the films,[62] written by Michael Klastorin with Randal Atamaniuk. The book was released on October 16, 2015.

Cast members appeared on Today and Jimmy Kimmel Live! on October 21, 2015.[63][64] Nearly 2,000 theaters worldwide showed back-to-back screenings of the Back to the Future trilogy on October 21 and continuing through that weekend, which earned over $4.8M in single day ticket sales.[65] Universal Studios offered location tours of the various filming locations around the date.[66][67] The town of Reston, Virginia, temporarily changed its name to "Hill Valley" to commemorate the series during its annual film festival.[42][68] Esquire Network aired the trilogy all day that day, plus all weekend.

Music[edit]

Soundtrack title Release date Composer(s) Label
Back to the Future: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack July 20, 1985 MCA
Back to the Future Part II: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack November 22, 1989 Alan Silvestri
Back to the Future Part III: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack May 29, 1990 Varèse Sarabande
The Back to the Future Trilogy September 21, 1999
Back to the Future: Intrada Special Collection November 24, 2009 Intrada
Back to the Future: The Musical (Original Cast Recording) February 18, 2022 Alan Silvestri, Glen Ballard Masterworks Broadway

Home media[edit]

2002 DVD and VHS release: "The Complete Trilogy"[edit]

In July 1997, Universal Studios announced that Back to the Future would be one of their first ten releases to the new format, though it ended up being delayed for five years.

The films were finally released on DVD and VHS on December 17, 2002[69] in both Widescreen (1.85:1) and Full Screen (1.33:1).[70][71] The widescreen DVDs had to be reissued a year later because of framing errors in converting the Open Matte into Widescreen format.

2009 DVD reissue[edit]

On February 10, 2009, Universal released each of the Back to the Future films individually. The first film was released as part of a 2-disc set featuring the documentary Looking Back to the Future and Back to the Future: The Ride.[72]

2010 DVD and Blu-ray release: "25th Anniversary Trilogy"[edit]

In June 2008, a special screening of the trilogy was held in Celebration, Florida. Bob Gale told the crowd they were seeing the digitally remastered version that was going to be used for the Blu-ray version of the movies. Gale also spoke to potential supplemental features on a Blu-ray version of the trilogy, saying only that never-before-seen bonus materials may appear, though he stopped short of offering any specifics.[73] On June 28, 2010, Universal announced that the Blu-ray edition of the films would be released on October 26, 2010, twenty-five years to the day from the date of the fictional events from the first film.[74] There have been numerous complaints about the R1 packaging,[75] leading to the release of an instruction sheet on how to safely remove and insert discs.[76]

2015 DVD and Blu-ray release: "30th Anniversary Trilogy"[edit]

On October 20, 2015, one day before the date of the fictional events transpiring in the 2015 segment of Part II, the trilogy was once again released on Blu-ray and DVD. A bonus disc was included, which featured new bonus material such as Outatime which is a look into the restoration of the time machine from 2012; Doc Brown Saves the World!, a new short movie starring Christopher Lloyd; Looking Back to the Future, a nine-part retrospective documentary from 2009; two episodes from The Animated Series; two novelty commercials about Jaws 19 and the Hoverboard from 2015; and other additional features.[77][78]

2020 Blu-ray, Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD release: "The Ultimate Trilogy"[edit]

In July 2020, a new release was announced via press release for The Ultimate Trilogy, a new set for Blu-ray, Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD featuring newly remastered picture and sound, never before released content and store exclusive collectible packaging for Target and Best Buy including three newly designed steelbooks and a Limited Edition Gift Set with a collectible levitating replica of the Hoverboard featured in Part II.[79]

Other media[edit]

Comic books[edit]

A comic book series was published by Harvey Comics in 1992 detailing further adventures of the animated series. Only seven issues were produced. IDW published a mini-series which presents the first meeting of both Marty and Doc Brown and is written by co-screenwriter Bob Gale, which was released in stores on October 21, 2015, the same date that Marty travels with Doc Brown to the future depicted in the storyline for Part II. In issue 3, it was revealed that it had become an ongoing monthly comic due to popular demand.

Beginning in issue #6, the original format of one or two untold stories per issue was replaced with a multi-issue ongoing story arc. The original subtitle for the comic, "Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines", was used for the trade paperback which contained the first five comics in the series. The series has now gone on to what IDW calls "chapter 2" of the series with "Tales from the Time Train." This is a series of stories detailing where Doc and the Brown family went after time traveling at the end of Back to the Future Part III. Other mini-series published by IDW include "Citizen Brown", which adapts the Telltale video game, and "Biff to the Future", which depicts Biff Tannen's rise to power after being given the almanac by his future self. The latter is also co-written by Gale.

Transformers/Back to the Future is a four-issue crossover comic miniseries published by IDW Publishing, to commemorate the 35th anniversaries of Back to the Future and Hasbro's Transformers franchise. It was published from October 7, 2020, to May 12, 2021.

A Japanese light novel adaptation was announced in August 2021.[80]

Books[edit]

Each film in the trilogy also received a novelization that expanded on the movies by adding scenes, characters, and dialog, often culled from early-draft scripts.[81]

In 2012, Hasslein Books released A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon, written by Rich Handley.[82] The book was released in cooperation with BTTF.com, the official Back to the Future website.[83] A second volume, Back in Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Chronology, by Greg Mitchell and Rich Handley, was released in 2013.[84]

Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History is an officially licensed book which includes 224 pages of behind-the-scenes stories, interviews, rare and never-before-seen images, concept art, storyboards, photos, and special removable replicas of paper items from the films.[62] The book was written by Michael Klastorin, who was the production publicist on Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III, with Randal Atamaniuk. The book includes a foreword by Michael J. Fox, preface by Christopher Lloyd, introduction by Bob Gale and an afterword by Robert Zemeckis.[62] It was released on October 16, 2015, to coincide with Back to the Future Day, and was published by Titan Books in the UK and Harper Design in the US. It was reissued on November 3, 2020, with added contents, to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the trilogy.[85]

Video games[edit]

Various video games based on the Back to the Future movies have been released over the years for home video game systems, including the Atari ST, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Master System, Genesis, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Famicom, Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii, iOS, Xbox 360 and Xbox One platforms.

Back to the Future: The Game (2010) was released from December 22, 2010, to June 23, 2011, by Telltale Games.[86] The game was released as five episodes,[87] The game was released as five episodes, with Christopher Lloyd reprising his role as Emmett "Doc" Brown, Claudia Wells reprising her role as Jennifer Parker, and Michael J. Fox making two cameo appearances. A. J. Locascio provided the voice for Marty McFly and Bob Gale assisted with the script.[88] Thomas Wilson reprises his role as Biff Tannen in the 2015 re-release.

Lego Dimensions (2015) features two Back to the Future-themed toy packs. The Level Pack adds a bonus level that adapts the events of the first film and includes a Marty McFly Minifigure, along with a constructible DeLorean and Hoverboard. The Fun Pack includes a Doc Brown Minifigure and a constructible Time Train from Part III. Both unlock access to an in-game open world set in Hill Valley. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd reprise their roles as Marty McFly and Emmett "Doc" Brown respectively.[89]

Pinball[edit]

Two pinball adaptations of the film trilogy were released. The first pinball adaptation was a physical one produced by Data East, available in 1990, and titled Back to the Future: The Pinball. Over two decades later, Zen Studios developed and released a new, digital pinball adaptation in 2017, available as add-on content for Pinball FX 3 along with two other tables based on iconic classic films from Universal Pictures, Jaws and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.[90] The latter table behaves differently than the original Data East version and features 3-D animated figures and visual effects that are impossible to reproduce on a physical table.

Musical[edit]

Back to the Future: The Musical is a stage musical with music and lyrics by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard, and a book by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, adapted from their original screenplay. The show features original music alongside hits from the film, including "The Power of Love" and "Johnny B. Goode".

The musical originally was slated to make its world première in London's West End in 2015,[91] the year to which the film trilogy's characters traveled in Part II.[92] However, after director Jamie Lloyd left the production in August 2014, due to "creative differences" with Zemeckis, the production's release date was pushed to a 2016 opening.[93] In May 2019, it was announced the show would receive its world premiere at Manchester Opera House in February 2020, ahead of an expected West End transfer. The show stars Olly Dobson, playing the role of protagonist Marty McFly, originally portrayed by Michael J. Fox. Tony Award winner Roger Bart plays Emmett "Doc" Brown, originally portrayed by Christopher Lloyd. The cast recording was set to be released on November 26, 2021, but was ultimately released on March 11, 2022.[94]

Automotive commercials[edit]

In 2015, Fox and Lloyd starred alongside popular YouTube science personality Go Tech Yourself in an extended Toyota commercial for Toyota's new fuel cell vehicle, the Mirai, entitled Fueled by the Future. The commercial doubled as a tribute to the franchise and illustrated how the idea of converting trash into fuel had become reality. The commercial was released on October 21—the same date to which Marty, Doc and Jennifer traveled in Back to the Future Part II.[95]

Theme park ride[edit]

Back to the Future the Ride was a simulator ride based on and inspired by the Back to the Future films and is a mini-sequel to the 1990s Back to the Future Part III. The original attraction opened on May 2, 1991, at Universal Studios Florida. It also opened on June 2, 1993, at Universal Studios Hollywood and on March 31, 2001, at Universal Studios Japan. The rides in the United States have since been replaced by The Simpsons Ride. The ride in Japan remained operational until May 31, 2016.

Documentaries[edit]

In the fall of 2015, after a successful Kickstarter project, the Back in Time documentary film was released.[96][97] The film features interviews with the members of the cast and crew along with the cultural impact of the trilogy 30 years later.

In 2016, the OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine documentary film was released and presents the efforts of Bob Gale, Universal Studios, and a team of fans as they work to restore one of the original screen-used DeLorean time machines. Like the Back in Time documentary, OUTATIME was also successfully funded by a Kickstarter project.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Fox provided the voice of three versions of future Marty McFly in the games' final chapter.
  2. ^ Christopher Lloyd portrayed Doc Brown in the series' live-action segments
  3. ^ Thomas F. Wilson replaced Kid Beyond as the voice of Biff Tannen in the game's 2015 re-release.

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External links[edit]