Summer Movie Flashback: Everything You Need to Remember About 1993
Photo: Everett Collection
Some movie summers are big. Some movie summers are beyond big.
The movie summer of 1993 was outsized all the way, from its successes as tall as a T-Rex to its failures as mammoth as the Austrian Oak.
A look back:
The A Story: "Jurassic Park" rules. Steven Spielberg's dinosaur-paced theme-park ride was the first movie to gross at least $50 million in an opening weekend. Before it was done in theaters (more than one entire year later), it would take in some $357 million domestically, and stomp past "E.T.," yet another Spielberg film, to become the then-worldwide box-office champ. Beyond its moneymaking prowess, the film boasted one of John Williams' most memorable themes, and, oh, yeah, the realest-seeming dinosaurs since real dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
'Last Action Hero' (Photo: Sony Pictures)
The B Story: "The Last Action Hero" bombs. Outside of "Jurassic Park," no summer movie was more anticipated than this Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle. The film's big budget made it a big target. So did its big ambition. In retrospect, you can't fault Schwarzenegger for trying to change things up, for trying to meld his action career with his high-concept comedy career. But in 1993, critics pounced, and audiences stayed away. Opening a week after "Jurassic Park" raised the box-office bar, "The Last Action Hero" fell short, and failed to match its reported $85 million production cost domestically.
The Z Story: "Super Mario Bros." bombed, too, but greatness had not exactly been expected from the video game turned live-action mess.
Sleeper Hit: "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story." While "The Last Action Hero" led the league in pre-release press, this imminently watchable Hollywood biopic came in well under the radar. Having the good fortune of opening before "Jurassic Park," it debuted at No. 1, and went on to gross a then-respectable $35 million -- the first hit for director Rob Cohen ("The Fast and the Furious").
'Sleepless in Seattle' (Photo: TriStar Pictures)
"Sleepless" Hit: "Sleepless in Seattle" was Nora Ephron's first, and biggest, blockbuster as a writer-director, grossing more than $125 million. In a summer dominated by dinosaurs, the romantic-comedy's biggest special effect was its ability to entertain with talk of "An Affair to Remember" while keeping Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in separate scenes for more than 90 minutes.