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Trivia / Airport

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  • All-Star Cast:
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  • Billing Displacement: Charlton Heston in Airport '75 is billed first, but Karen Black's character gets the most focus, as well as screentime.
  • Creator Backlash / Money, Dear Boy: Burt Lancaster only agreed to star in Airport in order to get some non-commercial films made. His contract gave him a 10% profit participation once the movie hit $50 million, and the film grossed $45.3 million in North America alone. Despite the financial windfall, Lancaster said that the movie was "the worst piece of junk ever made."
  • Dawson Casting: In Airport '79, Andrea Marcovicci, 30 at the time, plays a 24-year-old Russian gymnast.
  • Franchise Killer: Airport '79 was raked over the coals by critics (who called it one of the funniest unintentional comedies ever made) and was a Box Office Bomb (not quite earning back its then-huge $14 million budget), marking the end of the line for the series.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • In Airport '77, Christopher Lee, frequently cast as a suave villain, plays the selfless Martin Wallace who sacrificed his life when he tried to help rescue the other passengers.
    • One review of Airport '79 pointed out the perversity of the producers hiring three actresses with a sexpot image (Sybil Danning, Sylvia Kristel and Charo) for the film, but, when it came time to cast the role of the prostitute who has a tryst with Patroni, they gave it to Bibi Andersson, who, as The New York Times summed it up, symbolized "purity and youth, then complexity and disillusionment" in the films of Ingmar Bergman.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: All the movies to one extent or another, with the changes in air travel in the last few decades, but Airport '79 was really unfortunate to have centered its plot around a bunch of people headed to Moscow for a "goodwill visit" ahead of the 1980 Summer Olympics. The United States and 65 other countries wound up boycotting the Games after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a few months after the film left theaters.
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  • What Could Have Been: According to John Wilson in "The official Razzie Movie Guide", there were plans for a FIFTH movie to be called Airport 82: UFO, a blatant attempt to cash in on the hot new wave of sci-fi cinema. Numerous contemporary news articles (which also use the name Airport 2000) describe it as a "science fact" film (well, not counting the giant alien spacecraft that engulfs the plane) that would have moved the action to 20 Minutes into the Future. George Kennedy was slated to return, naturally, and even turned down an invitation to appear in Airplane! so as not to undermine his opportunity to work for this franchise. Presumably, Airplane II: The Sequel killed this film by pre-emptively parodying it.


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