On display in Robert Zemeckis’ ImageMovers production studio, near Santa Barbara in California, is a souvenir from somewhere else on the space-time continuum: a skateboard, only it’s hot pink, has no wheels, and appears to be floating in mid-air, a few inches off the bottom of its display case.
It’s a hoverboard, a prop from Back to the Future: Part II, the film in which Marty, played by a fresh-faced Michael J. Fox, travels via DeLorean to a cartoonish then-future of flying cars and self-lacing sneakers. In 1989, when the film was made, Marty’s temporal destination must have seemed unthinkably far off: October 21, 2015.
Just over 30 years since the first Back to the Future, the “comedy-adventure-sci-fi-time-travel-love story” that gave his career a 1.21 gigawatt jolt, Zemeckis seems pleasantly mystified by the enduring phenomenal appeal of the franchise.
“I was just hoping we’d break even!” he says, of his initial aspirations. “To this day I don’t understand why that film took off. But then again, that’s not the filmmaker’s job, is it? If I knew that secret then I’d be doing it all the time.”
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