Aside from the frequently vague critiques about the movie being dull, confusing, and overall not good, the executives spent the most of their time hating the voiceover -- a thing they had insisted on adding in the first place, against Scott's wishes. They hated it so much that it moved them to wonder if the actor -- nay, the entire crew -- were high as a kite during filming.
On this set? No way.
Scott was happy to drop the voiceover ... until the execs went, "Hey, you know what this movie needs? A voiceover." According to Harrison Ford, everyone had agreed the best version of the film was sans narrator, but at some point, the studio had a change of heart and demanded the voiceover be put back in. Ford was forced to perform the narration against his better judgement, which angered him deeply. You can guess how that will affect the plot of the sequel.
Back To The Future Could Have Been Called Space Man From Pluto
Back To The Future was a monster hit which smashed barriers to combine teen comedy, action/adventure, time travel, and a pinch of incest. You would think such a broad variety of themes would have protected the film from being labeled a "genre" stereotype, but that's exactly what Universal Pictures president Sid Sheinberg was sure the flick would be seen as.
His solution? Renaming the movie Space Man From Pluto. A title you may recognize as being 1) not at all related to the premise of the movie, 2) distinctly "genre," and 3) dumb as fuck.
Using quote marks on a phrase you said yourself is the '80s version of liking your own Facebook posts.
Despite those small details, Sheinberg had a plan for how to justify the name: Shoehorn those words into the script wherever possible. The scene in which Marty visits his sleeping father to deliver a message as Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan? Now Marty's a spaceman from the planet Pluto. George McFly's sci-fi book series? Call it Space Man From Pluto. Random bits of dialogue where people call Marty things other than "space man from Pluto"? Make it so they call him "space man from Pluto" (for some reason). It's brilliant! And should anyone notice that the new name does indeed sound like a hack sci-fi flick title, pshaw! Sheinberg feels differently, and that should be enough.
"Chuck! It's your cousin, Space Man from Pluto Berry!"
Thankfully, Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis ignored the idea. (Spielberg went one further and thanked Sheinberg for such a rip-roaring "joke memo.") We're guessing Sheinberg is still suggesting the same title to every period drama, sports movie, and Truman Capote biopic he comes across, but no one's bitten yet. One day, Sid.
Carolyn sometimes tweets about movies on Twitter.
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