Labyrinth, starring late rock icon Davie Bowie as the Goblin King, opened in theaters 30 years ago today.
Though Labyrinth – a dark, wonderfully weird, glam rock semi-musical populated mostly by puppets – was never going to be a movie that won over a wide audience, it”s still wild to think about how poorly it did upon release given the film now has a secure place in pop culture history and in Bowie”s legacy. It opened at no. 8 at the U.S. box office and earned less than $13 million, barely over half of its reported budget.
It was the final film directed by Jim Henson, and in the aftermath of Labyrinth“s poor reception, son Brian said of his father, “that was the closest I've seen him to turning in on himself and getting quite depressed.” Though Henson never got to witness the full fandom that would amass around the movie, Bowie, in his less than three remaining decades before he left us still too soon, got to see Labyrinth achieve cult classic status.
Other notable June 27 happenings in pop culture history, including a few 007 items:
• 1922: The first Newbery Medal for children”s literature was awarded to The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon.
• 1959: West Side Story“s final show in its original run was staged on Broadway”s Winter Garden Theatre. The film adaptation opened in 1961.
• 1966: Dark Shadows premiered on ABC.
• 1970: Queen performed their first show, though credited with the name Smile, since the gig in Cornwall, England was originally booked as such. Brian May and Roger Taylor had played together in a band named Smile before Freddie Mercury joined and suggested Queen as a new band name.
• 1971: You”re a Good Man, Charlie Brown staged its final show on Broadway, the end of a brief run at the John Golden Theatre. It had previously lasted 1,597 performances off-Broadway and next went into a West End run.
• 1973: Live and Let Die, the first James Bond movie to star Roger Moore, opened in U.S. theaters.
• 1981: Kim Carnes song “Bette Davis Eyes” returned to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
• 1984: The 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios burnt to the ground. It had been home to several James Bond productions. When it was rebuilt it was renamed the Albert R. Broccoli 007 Stage for the franchise”s producer.
• 1987: The Living Daylights, the first James Bond movie to star Timothy Dalton, premiered in London”s Odeon Leicester Square. Prince Charles and Princess Diana were in attendance at the event.
• 1987: The Whitney Houston song “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100. It was her fourth consecutive no. 1 single.
• 1989: The B-52″s released the album Cosmic Thing, featuring the song “Love Shack.”
• 1990: Days of Thunder, the first of three movies to star both Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, premiered.
• 1997: Face/Off and Disney”s Hercules opened in North American theaters. The John Travolta/Nicholas Cage movie topped the U.S. box office that weekend, the following holiday weekend overtaken by newcomer Men in Black.
• 2000: Nelly”s debut studio album, Country Grammar, was released.
• 2001: The Young and the Restless became the first daytime soap opera to be broadcast in high-definition.
• 2003: The Bryan Fuller series Dead Like Me premiered on Showtime.
• 2006: At the BET Awards, Mary J. Blige (for “Be Without You”) and Kanye West and Jamie Foxx (for “Gold Digger”) were both presented with the award for Video of the Year.
• 2008: Los Cronocrímenes (Timecrimes) opened theaters in Spain after its festival circuit. A U.S. release followed in December.
• 2008: WALL·E opened in theaters, proving Pixar can make even robots utterly adorable.
Birthdays: Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams (turns 50 today), Ultimate Spider-Man actor Drake Bell (30), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire actor Sam Claflin (30), reality TV personality Khloé Kardashian (32), Harry Potter actor Matthew Lewis (27), Spider-Man actor Tobey Maguire (turns 50 today), The Walking Dead actress Alanna Masterson (28), The Walking Dead actor Chandler Riggs (17), Gossip Girl actor Ed Westwick (29).