Was Summer of ’83 the Worst Movie Summer Ever?
"The Lone Ranger," "White House Down" and "R.I.P.D." landed with a thud. Steven Spielberg predicted a studio apocalpyse. A general feeling of Everything Is Terrible gripped the land. Could a case could be made that 2013 was the worst movie summer ever? Sure, if the case was made by someone who wasn't aware of and/or hadn't revisited the 30th anniversary of one of Hollywood's truly terrible, really awful seasons of all-time.
Back to the present for a bit: For all the hand-wringing and "Hangover Part III"-disappointing, 2013's May-to-Labor Day run was marked by the successful rebirth, at last, of Superman ("Man of Steel"), a death-defying, bomb-defusing by Brad Pitt ("World War Z"), the introduction of crowd-pleasing awards-season contenders ("The Butler" and "Blue Jasmine"), a hit film based on a book without pictures and word bubbles ("The Great Gatsby") and, no easy task, two critically acclaimed comedies about the end of the world ("This Is the End" and "The World's End").
Overall, the box office, led by "Iron Man 3," an entirely watchable movie especially for a movie that was made to make a lot of money (which it did—$1.2 billion and counting worldwide), was on track to surpass the summer of 2012, and set a new domestic record.
Compare all this to 1983, a movie summer that works best a drinking game.
Take a sip whenever you hear a Frank Stallone song. Do the same whenever a 3-D movie tries to make you duck. Chug away if you manage to stay with "Stroker Ace" long enough to catch the Elvira cameo.
Now, that was a bad summer.
In the same way the "Twilight" movies have led Hollywood to chase the Next Big Young-Adult Lit Franchise (and brought audiences non-classics, such as "The Mortal Instruments"), the "Star Wars" movies inspired a mess of early-1980s sci-fi, with titles that gave away just had bad they were: "Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn," "Yor, the Hunter From the Future," "Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone" and "Krull." Just "Krull."
Yes, all were released in the summer of 1983.