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Trivia / The Sugarland Express

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  • Acclaimed Flop: Despite strong reviews, the film fared poorly because it didn't have a chance to build word-of-mouth with more discerning audiences. It turned a small profit, but did not do the kind of business Universal had expected for a film starring a top box-office star like Goldie Hawn. The critical acclaim, however, was enough for Universal to give Spielberg what would become his Breakthrough Hit with Jaws.
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  • Real-Life Relative: Unable to find a child who looked like he might be the offspring of Goldie Hawn and William Atherton to portray Baby Langston, co-producer Richard D. Zanuck cast his own son Harrison Zanuck.
  • Release Date Change: Universal Pictures had originally slated the film for a late fall 1973 release but decided not to compete with other big films like its own The Sting. Instead, Universal pushed the film back to February 1974.
  • Screwed By The Studio: Universal abandoned plans to platform the film, which meant starting with just a few theaters in key cities and letting the audience build slowly. Not having faith in the picture, however, it switched to a wider opening, a sign at the time that it was just trying to burn the film off quickly.
  • What Could Have Been: Originally, Spielberg's initial Associated Composer Billy Goldenberg was offered to score his film, alas scheduling conflicts with other projects that also even prevented him from reading the script Steven gave him forced Spielberg's hand to give the scoring job and eventually becoming his new Associated Composer for potential projects to come to John Williams.
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