Houston, Texas - Sorry James Cameron, but the figures are now all in for determining who had the highest grossing film of the 20th century, and it was not "Titanic".
While "Titanic" with Leonardo DiCaprio did bring in $1.8 billion, it was "Moon Landing" with Neil Armstrong that actually won hands down, with a return revenue of at least 7 times that amount each year!
That's right, the relatively low budget sci-fi film about an American moon landing has brought in about $15 billion dollars a year since 1970, or about $585 billion total since it's release in July of 1969.
The movie commanded an enormous share of the world market, in fact more people saw it on it's opening day than any other movie before or since. And the repeat watchings have held the world's attention for decades.
While the movie is rather dated, and the special effects very poor, the movie resonated with people in a way few movies ever have. "It was a movie with a message of hope", said the NASA administrator in charge of the ambitious project back in 1969. "It let people feel that if we really tried, then one day we could make that dream a reality, even if it would take another fifty or sixty years."
Indeed, his prophecy seems eerily accurate, as NASA is now under the impression that if we actually tried, and had a big enough budget, that we could land a man on the moon in about 15 years. Of course, fans of "Moon Landing" will remember that in that fictitious scenario, they were able to do it in less than ten!
"That's the difference between myth and reality.", said the current NASA administrator. "In that movie, they did do it in ten. But for us to actually land on the moon, even with our far more advanced technology, we probably couldn't do it in under 15 years."
Those not alive when the movie came out find it rather silly, but it must be remembered by modern film goers that we didn't know as much about space back then as we do now. The movie doesn't show things like the radiaton of the Van Allen Belt, or how calculations were made without real computers. Were a remake to be done, it would take those things into account.
A remake is unlikely though. Insiders say that next time, NASA would rather it be a documentary, to commemorate a real achievement. It's believed that NASA might have some competition, though. "In the movie", said retired actor Neil Armstrong, "we were in a supposed 'space race' with the Soviets, a nation so backward it couldn't feed it's own people. But in real life, we might have an actual 'space race', with competition like India or China."
What of those who say we actually did land on the moon, and that the government pretended it was a movie for their own purposes? "Kooks.", said Armstrong. "Obviously if we had been there way back then we'd have colonies and mining operations by now. Who would be so stupid as to go, but never go back? It would be like Columbus discovering America then saying, 'no, thanks, not interested'! Those people probably think 'Star Wars' is real, too!"
In related news, the movie "Moonstruck", about the search for water on the moon, is expected to be released on DVD in time for Christmas.