When Tron Met E.T.

As today’s blog reminiscence by Baltimore Sun movie critic Mike Sragow reconfirms, some things never change. Magazine editors place their bets on certain cover story allegiances, subsequent buzz be damned.

Skragow recalls how his editors at Rolling Stone in 1982 were initially resistant to the idea of going big with feature coverage of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. But he soon figured out why:

A week or two later, I discovered the editors’ underlying rationale. “There’s only room for one sci-fi smash per summer. This summer it’s going to be Tron.” And they had already locked up special cover art with Jeff Bridges in his Tron outfit.

Sragow also shares a misguided box office prophecy for the ages. After screening E.T. at the critic’s behest, someone at Rolling Stone predicted the following: “It [the movie] celebrates kids who still ride bicycles. Teenagers drive to the movies. They won’t go to see their younger brothers glorified.”