Saturday, October 27,2007 10:00 PM
Sunday, November 18,2007 12:15 PM
The Black Hole Walt Disney Studios was in an identity crisis when it entered the space movie race with the ambitious live-action production The Black Hole in 1979. Disney's family features were losing ground and producer (and soon to be Walt Disney Company CEO) Ron Miller was trying to make the studio relevant in the contemporary filmmaking culture of blockbuster hits. In the wake of the success of Star Wars (1977) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Miller turned to a project that had been in development at Disney for years, a science-fiction adventure titled Space Probe-One. After numerous rewrites and conceptual overhauls from a parade of writers, the renamed The Black Hole went before the cameras in late 1978 under the direction of Gary Nelson, a TV veteran with a handful of feature film credits to his name, among them Disney's Freaky Friday (1976). It was a bold experiment for the studio: a budget that ultimately climbed to $20 million, a cast of name actors (if not quite major stars), and (most radically) the first PG-rated release in Disney history.