1. The film was almost titled “Spaceman from Pluto.”
Universal Studios head Sid Sheinberg didn’t like the title “Back to the Future,” claiming nobody would see a movie with “future” in the title. In a memo to Zemeckis, Sheinberg suggested the title be changed to “Spaceman from Pluto,” and the title reference be worked into the film.
In response, Spielberg sent a memo back to Sheinberg, thanking him for sending his wonderful “joke memo” and that the office “got a kick out of it.” Embarrassed, Sheinberg let Zemeckis and Spielberg keep the film’s original title.
2. The time machine used to be a refrigerator.
In early drafts, the time machine was a refrigerator that had to be transported to an atomic bomb testing site. Fearing kids would follow suit by climbing inside refrigerators and getting trapped, however, director Robert Zemeckis and producer Steven Spielberg decided to scrap the idea, settling instead on the iconic — and conveniently more mobile — DeLorean time machine.
3. There are Pepsi references all throughout the film.
Actor Michael J. Fox was a major endorser of Pepsi in 1985 and often appeared in commercials. Throughout the film Pepsi products appear, from cans to advertisements and even branded luggage. The “Back to the Future” Wikipedia page lists at least 12 Pepsi references through the three films in the trilogy — can you spot them all?
5. The script was rejected at least 40 times.
After getting a deal to write from Columbia Pictures, Zemeckis and producer Bob Gale finished the first draft of the “Back to the Future” script in 1981. Columbia dropped the project, and Zemeckis and Gale wrote four drafts of the movie, all of which were rejected by every major film studio over the next four years. Once Steven Spielberg joined the project as a producer, the final draft was set up at Universal Pictures.
6. The DeLorean was chosen because it looks like a spaceship.
When planning for the time machine, Zemeckis and Gale chose the DeLorean for its distinctive gull wing doors and futuristic look. This made it more plausible that people in 1955 would mistake it for an alien spacecraft. The look was so popular car companies began making body kits so DeLorean owners could replicate the look of the time machine. The movie couldn’t revive the Delorean, however – the company that made them went bankrupt in 1982.
7. Michael J. Fox was filming “Family Ties” and “Back to the Future” at the same time.
To get Fox for the role of Marty McFly, Zemeckis had to work around Fox’s role at “Family Ties.” Fox would drive to the “Back to the Future” set at night to shoot, often only getting about five hours of sleep for two months. The majority of the filming for “Back to the Future” took place between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.