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Backdraft Returns to Theaters for 30th Anniversary This September

Backdraft is back on the big screen in honor of its 30th anniversary. For two nights only, Fathom Events will host a special Backdraft 30th Anniversary event that brings back the classic firefighter thriller to theaters. The screening will also be accompanied by a featurette about the making of the movie called The Explosive Stunts. Tickets are on sale now in select theaters for screenings on Sept. 5 and Sept. 8.

The event listing reads: “Ron Howard directs an all-star cast in this exciting action-thriller that shows you the mystery, drama and devastation of fire as you’ve never seen it before! Kurt Russell and William Baldwin star as two feuding siblings carrying on a heroic family tradition as Chicago firefighters. But when a puzzling series of arson attacks is reported, they are forced to set aside their differences to solve the mystery surrounding these explosive crimes. Scott Glenn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rebecca DeMornay, Donald Sutherland and Robert DeNiro also star in this acclaimed suspense story filled with some of the most awe-inspiring fire sequences ever filmed.”

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Ron Howard directs Backdraft using a screenplay by Gregory Widen. Released in 1991, the movie was a big hit at the box office with a haul of more than $152 million against a $40 million budget. It also managed to pick up three Academy Award wins for Sound Effects Editing, Visual Effects, and Best Sound. From 1992-2010, Universal Studios Hollywood hosted a fire special effects show based on the movie. The attraction is still open at Universal Studios Japan.

“The fire was all in-camera,” Howard recently told THR, speaking on the movie’s effects. “We had gas burners and fire retardants and a team of 10 Chicago firefighters around us at all times with extinguishers at the ready, and they needed to move in at times. No matter how well planned, [we] just never knew when the fire was going to get away from us. And it did on occasion.”

Backdraft 30th Anniversary poster

He added: “De Niro met different fire investigators. When they rolled cameras, I realized he adopted the posture of one guy, the attitude of another and the sort of cadence and command of the vernacular from a third. And I realized this is what he does. It was a master class in preparation and application.”

Because the legacy of Backdraft has endured for decades, a sequel was released not so long ago in 2015. Penned by original screenwriter Gregory Widen, Backdraft 2 was directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego. William Baldwin and Donald Sutherland reprise their respective roles as Brian McCaffrey and Ronald Bartel with Joe Anderson also starring. It was unfortunately not quite the hit that its predecessor was with so many key components of the original now missing.

In any case, the original can be seen in all its glory on the big screen on the nights of Sept. 5 and Sept. 8. Those interested in revisiting the classic thriller in the privacy and comfort of their own home on the small screen can still do so now by finding Backdraft on HBO Max. You can see where the Backdraft 30th Anniversary event is screening and purchase tickets at the official website for Fathom Events.

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