[All images courtesy Sony Pictures Entertainment]
In 1977, a science fiction movie transformed the popular culture landscape.
Full of groundbreaking special effects and intriguing characters, it thrilled audiences, inspired generations of fans, and won multiple Oscars.
It made enormous sums of money worldwide ($303 million) from a rather modest production budget ($20 million).
It helped launch a young director into the Hollywood stratosphere.
That movie was …
Every scifi fan knows about Close Encounters of the Third Kind (CE3K), but our actual viewing experience varies by age and generation. Did you first see it on DVD or BluRay? Maybe a fuzzy VHS tape was your first introduction. Some (like me) barely remember the original theatrical release in December 1977 (sorry – still had Star Wars on the brain from the previous May).
Now’s your chance to rectify the situation. In September, Sony Pictures will release a 4K remastered edition of CE3K in theaters for a one week engagement, after a World Premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
Which version will it be? The 1977 Theatrical Release, the 1980 “Special Edition,” or the 1998 “Director’s Cut’? According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Sony has remastered the “director’s cut” in 4K for theaters.” According to IFC’s “Match Cuts” column, the 1998 version “combines his favorite elements from the Theatrical Cut and Special Edition.” So this will be the version Steven Spielberg is happiest with. CE3K completests can track down a copy of the 30th Anniversary BluRay/DVD release, which contains all three versions of the movie. And I’m sure the upcoming 40th anniversary DVD/BluRay/4K Bluray will have all four versions for you to enjoy (Theatrical Cut, Special Edition, Director’s Cut AND 4K Director’s Cut).
This engagement caps off a months-long stealth marketing campaign that began in July, when a new CE3K teaser trailer appeared online. A companion website (WeAreStillNotAlone) soon joined it. Ostensibly a site for UFO enthusiasts to sign up for updates on sightings, anyone who registers actually receives updates on the CE3K theatrical release.
On Monday, July 24 (World UFO Day), Sony dropped a cryptic video entitled “This Means Something.”
Since I’m one of those who would read the beginning of this article and think of “Star Wars” before CE3K, this is a great chance to for me to re-discover a movie I mainly remembered (at the time), for a mini-mountain made out of mashed potatoes – and the immortal MAD magazine parody.
Check out the official trailer for the rerelease.