December 14 in Sci-Fi History: Dune vs. Starman

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Dec 14, 2017, 4:35 PM EST (Updated)

It was on this day in 1984 that two pretty intense sci-fi classics premiered in theaters. Let’s see how they did, shall we? First up: Dune.


Based on the 1965 Frank Herbert novel and directed by David Lynch, the film starred Kyle MacLachlan and a giant ensemble of actors that included Patrick Stewart, Virginia Madsen, Jose Ferrer, Linda Hunt, and … Sean Young, as was popular at the time.


The movie cost $40 million to make and brought in $6 million in its first weekend. Critics didn't love it and found it confusing, while scholars find it a little homophobic and just plain long and weird. It's now getting a reboot sometime in 2019.

But let's take a look at Starman, which also premiered on this day in 1984.


Directed by John Carpenter and starring Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen, Starman holds an 81% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It's definitely held up way better than Dune. (Plus, it was made for half the cost.)


In the end, both Dune and Starman were bested by Beverly Hills Cop, which was still blasting through the December box office with full force. Still, anything released on this day is worth watching.

We'll pause to wish a quick happy birthday to Dee Wallace, who was born on this day in 1948 in Kansas City, Kansas. And later played E.T.'s mom. (Or ... you know what we mean.)


Tomorrow: Superman, Young Frankenstein, and The City of Lost Children.

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