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!
Michael J. Fox Almost Wasn't Marty McFly.
Eric Stoltz was originally cast for the role of Marty McFly when production of Back to the Future began on November 26, 1984. After seeing a rough cut of the film, Steven Spielberg decided that Stoltz had played the role too seriously for a comedy, and was woefully miscast. Realizing their mistake, Michael J. Fox was hired, and the seven weeks of scenes that were shot using Stoltz had to be remade, although you can still see Stoltz’s arm in a fight scene with “Biff” Tannen. That same year, Stoltz starred as Rocky Dennis in the movie Mask and ended up with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
The DeLorean Was Almost a Mustang...And a Refrigerator Early drafts of Back to the Future had Marty McFly jumping back in time in an old refrigerator, but the idea was scrapped by 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. Director Robert 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).
Doc Brown Once Had a Chimp Sidekick Called Shemp The original movie script called for Professor (later changed to Doc) Brown to have a pet chimpanzee called Shemp, not a dog named Einstein. The head of Universal, Sid Sheinberg, nixed the idea, saying that movies with chimps in them didn’t make any money. Co-writer Bob Gale pointed to the success of Every Which Way But Loose, in which Clint Eastwood starred with a simian called Clive. But that was an orangutan, Sheinberg replied. Big difference. Shemp subsequently became a dog named Einstein.
The Studio Wanted to Call the Film, Spaceman from Pluto. 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.