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Trivia / Spaceballs

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  • Acting for Two: Mel Brooks himself, playing both Yogurt and President Skroob.
  • Approval of God: Mel Brooks was worried about getting George Lucas's approval to make the movie. Lucas, however, was cool with it... on one condition: No (real world) merchandising. The running gag of excessive "Moichendising" used in the movie is a friendly poke to Lucas.
  • Billing Displacement: Mel Brooks, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, and Daphne Zuniga are credited in that order. Alphabetical, but that doesn't explain why the first three are the ones who appear on the original DVD cover and get Billed Above the Title even though the other two are the protagonists. The most probable reason for this is because this movie was only Pullman's second film role, so he probably didn't make the cover because nobody would have ever heard of him in 1987. Later DVD and Blu-Ray covers (including one modeled after the original poster) do show Lone Starr and Vespa on the front.
  • Completely Different Title:
    • In Latin American Spanish, the movie goes by the title ¡S.O.S.! !Hay un loco suelto en el espacio! while in European Spanish, it's known as La loca historia de las galaxias. Respectively, the titles translate to "S.O.S.! There's a Madman/Crazy person loose in space!" and "The Crazy Story of the Galaxies," likely a play on Guerra de las galaxias.
    • In Swedish, the film was renamed Det våras för rymden (Springtime for Space), to continue the running gag of the Swedish titles of Mel Brooks' films being snowclones of Springtime for Hitler (which is what The Producers was renamed in Swedish).
    • Known as La folle histoire de l'espace in French, which translates to "The Crazy Story of Space".
  • Creator Killer: Though not an outright flop, the film did underperform financially and received largely mediocre critical reception, the biggest criticism being that, by 1987, Mel Brooks was now trying to catch up with trends (Return of the Jedi was four years old by that point and Star Trek: The Next Generation wouldn't debut until a few months later) rather than simply make funny movies. Considering that Brooks had spent the previous 20 years making some of the most beloved comedies ever, the effects of these reviews were felt significantly greater and his filmmaking career saw a slow, steady decline for the next eight years before he retired in 1995.
  • Darkhorse Casting: This was only Bill Pullman's second film role.
    I think [Mel] was hurt that they didn't take him up on it ... but then it attract[ed] two of the big comics at that time: John Candy and Rick Moranis. Once that was secured, then he said, "Heck, I'll get somebody nobody knows!" And I got a chance to do it.
  • Defictionalization: Some VHS versions are titled Spaceballs: The Video on the cover.
  • Development Hell: Mel Brooks gives an interview every few years about wanting to make Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money, but nothing has ever come of it. Brooks has also discussed making Spaceballs III: The Search for Spaceballs II, but nothing has ever come of it either.
  • DVD Commentary: The audio commentary has the drawbacks of a solo commentary, as it's done by Mel Brooks alone, but is otherwise quite good. One thing that makes it notable is that Ronny Graham is there with Brooks - though you mostly have to take Brooks' word for it, as Graham is completely silent save for a giggle when Brooks introduces him and a brief remark near the film's end.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: For the scene of Lord Helmet playing with his dolls, Mel Brooks just gave Rick Moranis some hastily-made toys and told him to go nuts for a few minutes.
  • Playing Against Type: A slight case for Mel Brooks, as this is the only time he aimed his parody at the contemporary film industry (in this case, the huge merchandise-driven blockbusters kickstarted by Star Wars a decade earlier) rather than the films of his youth.
  • Prop Recycling: A couple years after the movie's release, the matte painting for the "ear canal" of Mega Maid was reused on, of all shows, Star Trek: The Next Generation!
  • Referenced by...: In the While You Were Sleeping episode of Escape from Vault Disney!, Tony says how Saul Tuttle was so stereotypically Jewish that they probably wanted someone like Mel Brooks to play him. While the actor is Jewish, Kit says "He doesn't look Druish!"
  • Stillborn Franchise: It's unlikely that we'll ever see Spaceballs II: The Search For More Money. Spaceballs: The Animated Series was, however, produced for one season.
  • Technology Marches On:
    • The video cassettes that are used to watch the movie, though "instant cassettes," will presumably never be possible.
    • The C-3PO expy is named Dot Matrix. At the time the movie was made, that was the most commonly used style of printer in the computer industry. They stopped making dot matrix printers back in the nineties (replaced by inkjet and laserjet), so people who weren't old enough to watch the movie within a decade of its first release likely won't get the joke.
      • Probably doubley confusing, because if you’re too young to know what a dot matrix printer is, you’re probably too young to know the Outdated Name Dot is a nickname for Dorothy.
  • Throw It In:
    • Rick Moranis came up with the idea to deepen his voice James Earl Jones-style every time he closed his helmet. This became Hilarious in Hindsight as he actually sounds a lot closer to David Prowse, whose voice was considered too silly and resulted in Jones being brought in to dub him.
    • John Candy actually forgot to unbuckle his seatbelt, leading to the "Oh, that's going to leave a mark" joke being the actor's comment.
    • All of Dot Matrix's dialogue is Joan Rivers doing a Gag Dub of the completed footage in post.
    • Dark Helmet is drinking from a Styrofoam cup as crew members would forget them around the set anyway so Brooks just made it part of the universe.
  • Tribute to Fido: Mel Brooks named Pongo after his first dog, inspired by 101 Dalmatians.
  • Trope Namer:
  • Vindicated by Cable: Upon release, many reviews were middling (particularly as Star Wars had been dormant for a while — of course, this was before narrow parodies of recent films became the norm...), to the point the Stinkers Bad Movie Awards named it the worst movie of 1987 and the movie is named in our wiki as Mel Brooks's Creator Killer. On video and television, it managed to achieve Cult Classic status and is well-regarded among Brooks's work.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • James Caan was the original choice to play Lone Starr. Unfortunately, he was struggling with addiction issues at the time. Tom Berenger, Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks were also considered.
    • Steve Martin was the original choice for Colonel Sandurz.
    • According to the DVD Commentary, Brooks considered having the movie just be about Spaceball I keep going and going throughout. But Executive Meddling told him no, there has to be a story with characters.
  • The Wiki Rule: Spaceballs: The Wiki.
  • Working Title: Planet Moron but it was changed because it was too similar to the British movie, Morons From Outer Space.