Stargate

Summary | Production

A misfit archaeologist joins a military team in traveling through an ancient doorway to a far-away planet, where they must liberate an enslaved people from a powerful false god.

RATINGS SCORECARD
OUR RATING -
FAN RATING - 8.89 
U.S. RELEASE DATE: 10.28.1994
WRITTEN BY: Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich
DIRECTED BY: Roland Emmerich
STARRING:

Kurt Russell (Colonel Jack O’Neil), James Spader (Dr. Daniel Jackson), Alexis Cruz (Skaara), Viveca Lindfors (Catherine Langford), Mili Avital (Sha’uri), John Diehl (Lieutenant Kawalsky), Leon Rippy (General W.O. West), Carlos Lauchu (Anubis), Djimon (Horus), Erick Avari (Kasuf), French Stewart (Lieutenant Ferretti), Gianin Loffler (Nabeh), Jaye Davidson (Ra), Christopher John Fields (Freeman), Derek Webster (Brown), Jack Moore (Reilly), Steve Giannelli (Porro), David Pressman (Assistant Lieutenant), Scott Smith (Officer), Cecil Hoffman (Sarah O’Neil), Rae Allen (Barbara Shore), Richard Kind (Gary Meyers), John Storey (Mitch), Lee Taylor-Allan (Jenny), George Gray (Technician), Kelly Vint (Young Catherine Langford), Erik Holland (Prof. Langford), Nick Wilder (Foreman Taylor), Sayed Badreya (Arabic Interpreter), Michael Concepcion (Horus Guard #1), Jerry Gilmore (Horus Guard #2), Michel Jean-Phillipe (Horus Guard #3), Dialy N’Daiye (Horus Guard #4), Gladys Holland (Professor), Roger Til (Professor), Kenneth Danziger (Professor), Christopher West (Professor), Robert Ackerman (Companion), Kieron Lee (Masked Ra), Frank Welker (Mastadge voice), Dax Biagas (Young Ra)

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PRODUCTION NOTES

  • Stargate is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America.
  • Stargate had a production budget of $55 million. It’s U.S. domestic gross earnings were $71.5 million. Its international box office take was $125 million (according to Box Office Mojo). It’s total box office earnings were $196.5 million.
  • The film opened on 2,033 theaters and took first place its first weekend in the U.S., with $16.6 million (according to Box Office Mojo).
  • Stargate was produced by Canal+, Centropolis Film Productions, and Carolco Pictures. MGM acquired the rights to the Stargate brand after the fact, while Lionsgate picked up the film’s home video and DVD distribution rights.
  • “They could not believe anyone could shoot a film like this and be conscientious and responsible. They guessed the film would cost $100 million. I told them, ‘No. I can do it for $55 million.’ They did not believe me. They were not used to a director keeping to his budget.” (Director Roland Emmerich, in a 1994 interview with Rice Paper’s Monica Sztybel)
  • “There has been plenty of talk about doing a sequel, from everyone who worked in the first one. Both James (Spader) and Kurt (Russell) are enthusiastic about the idea.” (Director Roland Emmerich, in a 1994 interview with Rice Paper’s Monica Sztybel)
  • “The script was just awful, and that sort of intrigued me. … Acting, for me, is a passion, but it’s also a job, and I’ve always approached it as such. I have a certain manual-labourist view of acting. There’s no shame in taking a film because you need some f—ing money.” (Actor James Spader, in an interview with The Globe and Mail)
  • “On the movie Stargate, we needed a huge shot with 500 extras. It was arranged that we would have 10 minutes just before the set fell into darkness – this was the last day of having the extras. The set was out in the desert of Buttercup Valley, so we needed a kind of dune buggy just to get to the set. We had to shoot VistaVision because it was a plate shot, and just getting that giant camera out to the set was crazy-difficult.

    “Anyway, the dune buggy got stuck in the sand and, as his wheels spun, a plume of sand kicked up and completely buried the director of photography and the camera he was holding. Then we accidentally flew off a dune that had a 30-foot drop on the blind side. By the time we reached the set and reminded the assistant director about our plate shot, the director was deep into working the crowd to get what he wanted. We watched the sun set behind the dune as we begged the AD to let us get our plate, and all the while the director was furiously trying to get the crowd to do what he needed. When he finally got a take he liked, it was almost dark and the AD called wrap immediately.

    “My assistant went to unwrap the extras while my producer and I ran across the dune with the giant VistaVision camera, set up and, in spite of all the extras running all over the place and shaking the structure and platform, rolled the camera. The film immediately snapped. Our DP had left for the day to catch a plane for a conference or something, so I had to learn to reload the camera under those conditions. We did get the shot but it really looked terrible – the film was scratched from sand getting into the camera. We fixed it and used it and it’s in the movie. You may notice the shot – it’s sunny and 500 extras are running and fighting and suddenly there is a shot in deep shadow. Oh well …” (Visual effects supervisor Jeffrey A. Okun, in an interview with Cinefex)

  • “The first movie I ever produced was a film called Stargate and very much like [2018’s] Bad Samaritan. It was independently financed. Every single studio in Hollywood rejected it, they all said the science fiction is dead and nobody cared about sci-fi anymore. We found out that MGM had a hole in their distribution schedule, they had no films to release for a couple of months, and so we convinced them to release Stargate. They didn’t believe in the movie and they didn’t really want to put any money behind it, so I spent a year going to every sci-fi convention in the country. We invented the first movie Web site because the Internet was pretty new and no one had done that before.

    “We were tracking to be a gigantic bomb. I have an article from Variety somewhere that says, “Biggest flop ever?” We ended up being the largest October opening in history and it was 100 percent bottom-up instead of top-down. It wasn’t that there was an enormous amount of money spent telling the audience “You’re going to love this picture” — there was an army of people who are fans who became ambassadors for the film and told their friends and generated tickets from the ground up.” (Writer-producer Dean Devlin, in a 2018 interview with Forbes)