1983 Year of the Three-quel

As summer 2013 comes to a close, some of us may be understandably numb from the onslaught of remakes, reboots, sequels and big-budget 3D epics that Hollywood has besieged upon us. But if we look back 30 years ago, to the summer of 1983, we would find a box office landscape eerily similar to our current silver screen environment. In the early 80’s 3D made a big comeback and was being heralded as “the next big thing” in entertainment. Remember those TV broadcast events such as The Creature from the Black Lagoon where 3D specs were given away in newspapers? By 1983, the 3D trend was starting to gasp for air but still, a few theatrical releases were released in the format. Aside from 3D technology, there were also an insane amount of sequels to be found. For this reason, 1983 will now and forever be known as the Year of the Three-quel.

It is almost laughable to look at how many part 3’s were released in 1983: Superman 3, Jaws 3 (technically Jaws 3D in the theatrical version), Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 and Return of the Jedi. Even though Jedi is now called Episode 6, in 1983 it was the third Star Wars movie; a numeric fact I will staunchly adhere to.

Quite a few of these films were also, not surprisingly, weak links in their respected franchises. However, if we go back to 1982, we can see that Hollywood was prepping us for the Year of the Three-quel as we saw the release of Rocky III, Halloween III and Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D. Friday Part 3 shared similar ground with Jaws 3D – they were both the third installment in a horror franchise that was also filmed in 3D. This is a dubious distinction to be sure as both films are relatively tame efforts – although both have their charms.

So when you get tired of the non-stop franchise building that we have been deluged with, just remember, we have been there before – and survived it. Barely.

My favorite trailer from 1983 – mostly because it is full of so much promise. If only the completed film had this much suspense!

How could this not be a cool trailer? Add in the original title and you get a classic preview!

Marco Passarelli

Guitarist, Trans Am fanatic and retro-minded nostalgia freak - Marco runs Popjunkie.com and is a freelance writer. He lives in New York City, scouring Netflix for the worst B-movies he can!

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