The struggling, pandemic-era state of the theater industry is about to be boosted by a bit of Turtle Power (as Partners in Kryme’s end-credits soundtrack song famously declared), with the big screen return of the celebrated 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
Fathom Events’ latest big screen retro release will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Renaissance reptiles’ iconic live-action feature, with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles set for a limited return run at select theaters on Thursday, November 5 and Saturday, November 7. Granted, said celebration will be a belated one, seeing as the film debuted on March 30, 1990, but it will nevertheless serve as a wantonly retro moment for a certain generation that can recall the original film’s release as a seminal moment in childhood and for pop culture in general.
“We are excited to celebrate 30 years of a film that brings families together in a fun, entertaining and hilarious way,” says Fathom Events’ Vice President of Studio Relations Tom Lucas in a statement. “As audiences discovered in 1990, the adventures of the heroic turtles are truly meant to be seen on a giant screen in a darkened theater, so we hope audiences of all ages will make Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael part of their entertainment plans.”
You can check out the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles re-release trailer just below.
Turtle-heads who were either too young or not yet born during the era of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ original big screen run will finally get their chance to see the film as it was meant to be experienced. Indeed, while the film—the franchise’s overall first feature—would be followed up with direct sequels in 1991 and 1993, a 2007 animated feature and two live-action/CGI hybrids in 2014 and 2016 on top of the exposure received from numerous animated television iterations, the 1990 movie remains widely considered one of the franchise’s best offerings. It’s not only because of the obvious nostalgia, but the humanity of the film’s characters, coupled with its organic aesthetics, notably with the Turtles themselves (portrayed by actors in suits). It stands in contrast to the detached onscreen CGI spectacles of the contemporary era offerings (not counting the new animated film in development).
Indeed, the film arrived without any big-name stars in the cast or even in the director’s chair, which was filled by Steve Barron, then mainly known from music videos for myriad MTV ’80s standards such as Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Hold Me,” Toto’s “Africa,” Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” and his pièce de résistance, A-ha’s revolutionary live-action/animated hybrid, “Take on Me.” Barron worked here off a story by Bobby Herbeck and screenplay by Todd W. Langen and Bobby Herbeck; one that artfully adapted plot elements from Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book series.
The result was a film that raised the temperature of the already-rising kids’ franchise to white-hot levels, debuting at #1 for the domestic box office (a spot held for four weeks,) and went on to gross $202 million, making the New Line-distributed feature one of the highest-grossing independent films ever.
Thus, if you’re willing to brave the COVID-fraught wilderness of a theater near you, presumably taking the necessary precautions, then you may want to catch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the big screen on the aforementioned early-November dates.