The summer of 1984 was a rough one for
So after the movie arrived in May, League spent the next few months hearing that he looked just like that Sixteen Candles kid, "which is not a compliment."
While things were bad outside the movie theater, inside, League -- today founder and CEO of
The supernatural comedy Ghostbustersruled the summer, spending eight weeks as the top movie in the country and racking up more box office receipts than any other in the calendar year. (Beverly Hills Cop, out in December, wound up the top-grossing film released in 1984, with
A new generation of film fans like League learned the bad things that happened when you got a Mogwai wet or fed it after midnight in the horror flick Gremlins. They got their own Rocky story with The Karate Kid. PG-13 was introduced in 1984; the first movie to use it was Cold War action thriller
"If you Google a list and just see all the movies that came out in 1984, they're classics, and they define that decade," says
Special effects were taking leaps, too, in the likes of The Last Starfighter and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, says Trek expert
Goldberg says these movies set a template for sequels, from more Indiana Jones and Star Trek to remakes of
Cobra Kai never dies
The Karate Kid's
The black belts of the Cobra Kai have become villains moviegoers love to hate. Its smarmy blond leader was played by
Return of Spock
When Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan seemingly killed off
Khan left his return open, and Spock indeed was resurrected: Nimoy struck a deal to come back if
A true nerd retaliation
Revenge of the Nerds was a real underdog story: The geeky, science-loving Tri-Lambs (
In real-life 1984, nerds were outcasts, but nowadays, the movie seems like it was foreshadowing for the age of the Internet, today's comic-book superhero movies and the success of Apple and Amazon.
"I was nerdy, and it was obviously this work of pure fantasy that nerds could ever have popularity or win," League says. But "it seems totally reasonable now, because the nerds have, in fact, won."
Indy inspired PG-13
(It is now the most frequent rating; PG-13 movies are six of the 10 top-grossing movies of all time.)
The violence and gore of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom sent parents into enough of a tizzy that director
However, he adds that he had to hide his eyes during the ritual sacrifice, when villainous high priest Mola Ram ripped a guy's heart out and the organ then burst into flames. "I had nightmares about that scene."
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