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SYFY WIRE Back to the Future

Were Back to the Future and The Goonies Set on the Same Day? Check Out the Wild TikTok Theory

Mikey and Marty McFly might’ve been making movie history at exactly the same moment.

By Benjamin Bullard
A split screen photo featuring John Matuszak in The Goonies (1985) and Michael J. Fox in Back To The Future (1985)

They released in theaters less than a month apart back in 1985, and now two of history’s most cherished sci-fi movies are the subject of a wild, but strangely compelling, fan theory. Is it possible that Back to the Future and The Goonies are interconnected by a cleverly-concealed Easter egg; one that assumes each movie’s pivotal events were taking place, simultaneously and in real time, on the same October Saturday almost 40 years ago?

Sure, it sounds just a little bit crazy. But after reviewing a quick video rundown of the evidence presented by the fans at The Confused Breakfast podcast, you don’t exactly have to be a fringe theorist (we’re looking at you, Doc Brown) to entertain the idea that Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Michael "Mikey" Walsh (Sean Astin) were knee-deep in their separate, epic on-screen exploits at exactly the same moment —  Saturday, Oct. 26, 1985, to be precise.

Here’s how Back to the Future and The Goonies might’ve happened on the same day:

As the clip shows, most of the evidence comes from The Goonies side of the two-movie equation, which sort of makes sense. After all, it’s long been known that Oct. 26 is a hugely important date in the original Back to the Future timeline as the day when Doc (Christopher Lloyd) first summons Marty to witness the time-traveling power of the Flux Capacitor. But it turns out that The Goonies has contained a handful of subtle clues all along about the specific date when Mikey, Brand (Josh Brolin), and the rest of the gang discovers their fateful treasure map.

One especially big tell comes in an easy-to-miss scene from The Goonies, when a newspaper dated “Oct. 24, 1985” (a Thursday) is shown alongside an article reporting on the felonious misadventures of the Fratelli crime family. As the Confused Breakfast folks point out, the action of The Goonies unfolds on a Saturday, leading sharp-eyed fans to logically conclude that the Fratelli story in the newspaper is hot off the presses — only two days old, in fact, by the time viewers (and the kids) see it.

Obviously, there’s not enough proof here to suggest that BTTF and The Goonies exist in an overlapping shared cinematic universe… unless you count the nostalgic halcyon days of the real-world 1980s as a plausible backdrop for kids in Oregon hobnobbing with pirates while a skateboarding teen in California discovers lightning-based time travel.

Still, both movies do share the same strand of creative DNA, with Steven Spielberg having concocted the original story for The Goonies (and Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment behind the production of both films). As one video commenter points out, Spielberg does love his sly cinematic crossover references and behind-the-scenes Easter eggs, which only lends heft to the idea that Marty and the Goonies gang have more in common than just living on the west coast… and, of course, of holding a permanent place of honor in the hearts of sci-fi fans everywhere.

Stream the Back to the Future trilogy on Peacock.

Originally published Aug 4, 2023.