5 Things You Didn't Know About Back to the Future

On July 3rd, 1985, Back to the Future, starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, hit theaters. The movie spent 11 weeks at number one and went on to become the highest grossing movie of the year. You can take your own time travel adventure with these five facts about the movie!


The Studio Wanted to Call the Film, Spaceman from Pluto. # Logo for the film. Image source: WikiCommons Co-creator Bob Gale had to shop the Back to the Future script for quite a while before getting a bite from Universal Pictures (Gale claims he was rejected more than 40 times). And the studio was understandably concerned about certain aspects of the movie—namely that one scene with Marty and his mom in the back of the car and the film's title. Executives had seen a trail of recent time-travel movie flops and were concerned Zemeckis's film would suffer the same fate, so they suggested an alternate name: Spaceman from Pluto. Executive producer Steven Spielberg quite literally laughed in their face about it.

Michael J. Fox Almost Wasn't Marty McFly. It's hard to imagine anyone but Fox playing the film's protagonist, but Robert Zemeckis almost had no choice. Though his original choice was Fox for the role, the actor's obligations to his popular television show, Family Ties, got in the way of scheduling. Zemeckis then hired Eric Stoltz for the role, but quickly realized he'd made a huge mistake. Stoltz was an accomplished young actor, but he didn't quite have the comedic chops needed to capture McFly. The studio eventually negotiated a contract for Fox with Family Ties, and the rest is history.


The DeLorean Was Almost a Mustang...And a Fridge. # A replica of Doc Brown's DeLorean at ComicCon 2011. Image source: WikiCommons Early drafts of Back to the Future had Marty McFly jumping back in time in an old refrigerator, but the idea was scrapped by Zemeckis and his producers in favor of the now-famous DeLorean. Once filming began, Universal Studios received a call from Ford offering $75 million for the DeLorean to be swapped with a Mustang. Zemeckis reportedly responded: "Doc Brown doesn't drive a [expletive] Mustang!" The creator of the DeLorean wrote a "thank you" note to the writers for their inclusion of his car. 

President Reagan was a Big Fan. Anyone who has seen the film likely recalls the shout out President Reagan receives in the film. But Reagan reportedly found the scene so funny that he had the projectionist rewind the movie to watch it a second time. Later, Reagan quoted the movie during his 1986 State of the Union address: "where we're going, we don't need roads," and producers offered him a role in Back to the Future III (he declined).

Crispin Glover Sued the Studio for Using his Likeness in the Sequel. It's no secret that Glover is a bit of an eccentric guy. For one, Lea Thompson claims she once went to his house to run lines and found it painted completely black with no furniture but a stainless steel operating table. Yikes. But when Glover refused to star in the sequel to the film, Zemeckis breathed a sigh of relief—Glover had been a notorious pain on set, and he was happy to replace him. So, he hired an actor to wear a mask that resembled Glover in Back to the Future II. Glover didn't take kindly to that and sued the studio. Despite the fact that the move was completely legal, Universal's legal team settled out of court for $500,000 to avoid the hassle and any negative press about the film.

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