Here’s One Reason Why the BACK TO THE FUTURE Trilogy is Wonderful: Homages to the Original

by Hugh BrownstoneLeave a Comment

Have I ever mentioned that I love BACK TO THE FUTURE? I believe I have. BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II and III are fun as well (though only the first is one of the greatest films of all time). In this lovely couple of minutes we see one reason why II and III work as well as they do: the self-referential homages to the original.

As filmmakers we’re storytellers, yet most filmmakers don’t understand quite how well numbers can tell a story, too.


The original was a blockbuster; the second was a blockbuster; and the third…well I guesss you can say it was a blockbuster, too.

The original was released in the summer of 1985 and eventually grossed a tick over $381 million worldwide (about $840 million in 2015 dollars). Part II was release four years later and grossed $332 million ($637 million today). Part III grossed $244 million ($444 million after inflation) after it was released just six months after II.

That’s an almost $2 billion franchise, before taking into account ancillary rights and merchandise. To put this into perspective, on an unadjusted basis the BTTF franchise ranks #54 of all time.

So the numbers tell us that the BTTF trilogy was hugely successful (they don’t tell us but I’ll assert that the franchise is beloved).

It is all the more impressive that II and III did as well as they did (it’s always tough to top or even come close to the original because the sequels are no longer as…original). The original premise was great, the cast was great, the music was great – heck, everything was great — and all were leveraged for II and III, but what’s also true is that the BTTF team paid loving and story-appropriate homage to the original in the writing.

All of which is a too-long way of writing: watch this!

Watch the Same Locations in ‘Back to the Future' from Every Time Period in the Trilogy

Via No Film School:

The world of BTTF loves showing us the same places at different time periods, and also has a number of déjà vu moments throughout. A wonderful video from Joel Bocko for Fandor Keyframe takes a look at all of these moments:


A scene in Back to the Future II shows a shark coming out at our hero, Marty, and is a marketing device for the film Jaws 19. Even though we're never going to see that many sequels, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment decided to give us some mini-trailers for all of the Jaws films up to, and including, Jaws 19

Jaws 19 – Trailer

Read full article at No Film School “Watch the Same Locations in ‘Back to the Future' from Every Time Period in the Trilogy”

(cover photo credit: snap from No Film School)

Hugh Brownstone

Hugh Brownstone

Hugh is the founder of Three Blind Men and An Elephant Productions. He and the team write, direct, shoot, score, and edit web-centric films; conduct photo shoots; and write copy, white papers and blog posts. Hugh also writes screenplays (he recently optioned a TV pilot) and just published his first eBook (Apple's iPhone: The Next Video Revolution). If it's about telling stories, it's in their wheelhouse.

And always with the ambition of authenticity, humanity and wit.
Hugh Brownstone

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