Movie Flashback: Back to the Future Part II 20th Anniversary

Time Travel

Man, this year has been crazy with pop culture anniversaries. We had the 10th anniversary of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the 31st anniversary of the Star Wars Holiday Special as well as Star Trek the Original Series’ 43rd anniversary. Now, it’s time to celebrate the first sequel to one of my favorite movies of all time, Back to the Future. Yes, Back to the Future Part II turned 20 years old on November 22, 2009.

BTTF_poster 1

The original Back to the Future is one of my favorite movies of all time. I saw it over 12 times in the theater the year it was released (1985). The theater by my house played $1.95 movies on Monday nights (as a promotion with the local radio station I-95) and my dad would take my brother and I almost every week. And every week I’d go see Back to the Future again and again.  Then when Back to the Future hit VHS, I had my dad go to Blockbuster the day it was released to rent it.  I watched it that night, and you can only imagine the moment the final screen on the VHS popped up:

To Be Continued...

I nearly crapped my pants in excitement after letting out a shamefully, girlish squeal of delight.  HOLY CRAP!  THERE’S GOING TO BE ANOTHER BACK TO THE FUTURE MOVIE!!  My 13-14 year old mind couldn’t comprehend something that awesome.  It nearly shut down.  What I didn’t know is that it would be another few years before the sequel would be released.

Then, on November 22, 1989, Back to the Future Part II would be unleashed on this world.  And nothing, including me, would ever be the same (I may be overplaying a bit on the drama…FYI).

BTTF Part 2 poster

I saw Part II within the first week it opened.  My dad (who was, and still is, AWESOME) actually picked me up from school and took me to the very next showing.  And it was everything I wanted it to be. We saw the future, we went back to the past. We even re-visited the events of the original movie but seen from a different point of view.  It was fantastic. I loved every second of the movie. However, I can’t precisely remember if I knew going in that there would be a cliff hanger ending. I’m inclined to say I didn’t know about the abrupt ending (as this was pre-Internet days), so the cliff hanger did irritate the crap out of me.  However, the movie got back some cool points after showing like a 10 minute trailer to Part III before the credits.  Part III was released around six months later in May 1990.

Part III, while not as good as the first or second one, was still a pretty good movie and a fun, fitting end to the franchise.  I didn’t like the cartoon, so I am reluctant to acknowledge its existence.

Back to the Future Part II is the only movie in the franchise with more than one poster. Not only was there the Drew Struzan poster seen above, but there were several “teaser” posters (click images to make BIGGER).  Neither the original Back to the Future nor Part III had “teaser” posters.

BTTF 2 teaser 1 BTTF 2 teaser 2 BTTF 2 teaser 3

There have been a lot of items released for the two Back to the Future sequels.  They were a huge media release and, since they opened within 6 months of each other, they were merchandised heavily.  Here are some of those products.

Topps released a set of trading cards and stickers for the second movie.

BTTF 2 trading cards

The Nintendo Entertainment System combined the two sequels into one shockingly awful video game.

BTTF 2 and 3 video game

Mad Magazine spoofed the original movie and Part II. Here are the covers for Part I (wonderful cover art by Jack Davis) and the less imaginative cover for Part II.  Click the images to see them bigger.
Mad BTTF 1 Mad BTTF 2

In 1990, Data East released the Back to the Future pinball game. Check out this ridiculous ad for the game (click image to make BIGGER). What’s up with the actors playing Marty and Doc? Had the people who created this ad even seen the movie?!

BTTF pinball

And here’s a hardback book called Back to the Future: The Official Book of the Complete Movie Trilogy. It was released in 1990 and featured lots of production photos as well as stills from deleted scenes and rejected poster concepts.

BTTF Ultimate Guide

That’s just some of the cool merchandise released for the Back to the Future sequels. The Back to the Future series continues to be one of my favorite movie trilogies of all time and one that I will continue to buy in every format as I’ve owned it on both VHS and DVD, and I’m currently waiting for the Blu-Ray release. Maybe next year for Back to the Future’s 25th anniversary.

I have a few more Back to the Future items I’ll show you in a few days, so stay tuned.

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5 Responses to “Movie Flashback: Back to the Future Part II 20th Anniversary”

  1. I hope they do a big Blu-ray special edition release.

    • Me too, Jen. I also hope they include all the footage from Back to the Future The Ride.

      I would also like to see the movie special Secrets of the Back to the Future trilogy hosted by Kirk Cameron. I have it on VHS, but I want it on Blu-Ray. There are several deleted scenes in that special that were not on the last DVD release.

      • At least the Secrets of made it onto the DVD release. Wish that they’d included The Ride as well– I can’t believe they shut it down. I always wanted to check it out, but never got to. 😦

  2. It’s hard for me to digest that BTTFII premiered 20 years ago, it seems like yesterday for me. I also loved the original Back to the Future and was very anxious to see the sequels. I lived in the Los Angeles area at the time and was very excited to see a number of special billboards go up during the summer of 1989 to promote the film. These billboards were displaying a precise countdown clock ticking down the exact minutes until the first showings of BTTFII. Of course it was a bit frustrating knowing there was still 150+ days to launch, but it kept our enthusiam alive.
    Remember November 22 was the day before Thanksgiving. I was due to travel to Northern California for long weekend holiday with my family on that Wednesday. However, I decided I couldn’t wait for the weekend. I packed my things, packed my car and then stopped at the movie theaters outside Universal Studios (where one of the billboards had ten minutes left) to catch the first showing of BTTFII. It was awesome, I loved it and after the showing made my long drive in a very good mood.

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