In 1982, seven major science fiction films were released in the month and a half span stretching from May 21 through July 9. These seven movies were The Road Warrior, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Poltergeist, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Thing, Blade Runner, and Tron. While each have earned their own unique places in the hearts of sci-fi fans and in the pantheon of film, it’s astounding to think of the insanity that was this short span of movie-packed madness. Thrown together, there were enormous winners and devastating losers when it came to the sci-fi battle of the box office.
Although today’s summer movie season sees major film coming out at least every other week, the box office was far different in the ‘80s. Movies lasted for far longer in the theater and there were far fewer films released in total and per week at the cinema. So to have so many now-classic movies of the same genre all packed into one brief span of time is mind boggling. What made the winners into winners? How did perceived losses impact the creators and studios behind films that would be passionately loved in the long run? And why are so many of these movies being remade or sequelized in recent years?
While these seven films all have their devoted followers, the battle of science fiction films is truly the story of how E.T. destroyed the competition and altered the sci-fi landscape. With some help from Box Office Mojo, here's how it all went down.