80’s movies saw many innovations in film making, both from a creative and movie business standpoint. The special effect driven blockbuster films were developed and perfected in the 80’s, driven by the late 70’s success of the Star Wars series. Releasing films on many more screens, and the development of home video changed the way movie companies made money.
The teen comedy film genre was invented in the 1980’s. Some of the more famous of these 80s movies were Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) , Weird Science (1985) and Valley Girl (1983). These films featured some future 80’s superstar Hollywood actors such as Sean Penn, Matthew Broderick and Nicolas Cage.
80’s Movie Film Making Style
The short attention span of the 1980’s MTV generation led some film makers of the decade to create more simplistic, faster paced and action packed motion pictures. Soundtracks to these 80s movies became important as a revenue producer for the movie studios. Films like Flashdance and Footloose produced platinum-selling soundtrack albums.
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas produced one blockbuster film after another in the 80’s. Speilberg contributed Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and the Back to the Future (1985) trilogy. Lucas’ films included The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi (1983).
The 80’s also became the decade of the movie sequel. Most films that were major box office hits were made into sequels. Examples are the Indiana Jones movies, the three Back to the Future films, the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street horror series and of course the Star Wars follow-up blockbusters.
Home Video and The Multiplex Movie Theatres in the 80’s
The 1980’s saw the battle over home video. In the early 80’s movie companies unsuccessfully attempted to stop the sale of VCR’s for home use as a violation of copyright. Ironically, home video movie sales and rentals later became a huge revenue stream for the studios. Many films which were not major theatre box office successes became very popular home video rentals. Another big change in the way Americans saw movies was the development of multiplex cinemas in the 80s. For the first time movies could be released in a larger number of theatres nationwide.