Dave Franco’s ‘The Rental’ Has First Drive-In Movie Release (Plus 10 Other Movie Firsts)
Dave Franco’s directorial debut, The Rental, won last weekend’s box office, bringing in a modest (yet respectful) $420,871. Remember when box office numbers were always in the millions? On the way to work, the radio would tell you about the No. 1 movie in America— blockbusters sinking or swimming based upon how many cinephiles and soccer moms saw them opening weekend. Thanks to COVID-19 shutting down traditional cinemas, the weekend box office is not what it used to be. Colossal studios like Warner Bros. and Marvel aren’t risking their earning potential on the select theaters and drive-ins still functioning.
Studios like IFC Films could give a damn. Their horror indie, The Rental (which became available on video on demand July 24), had an unofficial premiere at a drive-in theater a few miles outside of LA. No red carpet or photographers, just the radio and road beers. The Rental will probably go on to play in more theaters than it would have originally due to the drive-in component. Until recently, the only thing playing at drive-ins were re-releases of older movies; with The Rental setting a trend, more intrepid studios will release indies in the coming months. The Rental’s premiere and release will go down as a movie first, proving there are just as many ways to show a story as there are to tell it.
Cover Photo: IFC Films
Blast from the past: The Repopularizing of the Drive-In Theater Marks a Return to Simpler Times
First Cellphone Appearance: 'Lethal Weapon' (1987)
The popular “brick” cell phone appeared onscreen for the first time right before Roger Murtaugh’s first “I’m too old for this shit.”
First Batman: Lewis G. Wilson
Before Adam West’s iconic portrayal, Lewis Wilson played the Dark Knight in Columbia Pictures’ 1943 serial.
First Film to Win Best Picture: 'Wings' (1927)
Wings was the only fully silent film to win the Oscar for Best Picture at the first annual Academy Awards, known as Outstanding Picture at the time.
First Zombie Movie: 'J‘Accuse' (1919)
No, not Shaun of the Dead, or even Night of the Living Dead. The first movie to feature the walking dead was French director Abel Gance’s J‘Accuse, which he filmed in 1917...on the front. In one scene, dead soldiers (who have dug themselves out of the ground) march upon a village. Gance filmed actual soldiers for that scene. Unfortunately, many of those men were killed in the Battle of Verdun less than two weeks after filming.
First Movie to Gross $100 Million at the Box Office: 'Jaws' (1975)
It’s not a stretch to say that Steven Spielberg’s Jaws invented the summer blockbuster when it released nationwide in 1975. During its initial run, it brought in $260 million (adjusted for inflation is $1,098,916,300). Its success promoted other films to release nationwide instead of only in major markets.
First Kiss: 'The Kiss' (1896)
This 30-second film (produced by Thomas Edison’s company) was the most popular film of 1896. Its depiction of two stars making out provoked the first film-related demands for censorship.
First Toilet: 'Psycho' (1960)
Psycho wasn't just the first film to show a toilet, but also the first film to feature the sound of it flush.
First Fully CGI Movie: 'Toy Story' (1995)
Pixar’s Toy Story was the first feature-length animated film to made entirely using CGI in 1995.
First Commercial DVD Release: 'Twister' (2000)
Twister was the first cinematic feature to be released for sale in DVD format on March 25, 1997.
First Feature Length Film: 'The Story of the Kelly Gang' (1906)
The Story of the Kelly Gang, the 60-minute biopic that tells the life of the legendary Aussie outlaw, was the first film to escape the limitations of the short and become feature length.
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