Star Trek: First Contact opened on this day in 1996. Yup, hard as it may be to believe, it's been 18 years since the second Star Trek: The Next Generation feature debuted in theaters and captured the imaginations of both Trek fans and mainstream moviegoers. Jonathan Frakes took his maiden vogage as a film director after having put his TNG co-stars and friends through their paces several times on the series. The screenplay, by Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore, ticked all the boxes: great character interaction, time travel, a memorable villain, and every other detail -- from the remarkable VFX to a tremendous score to terrific co-starring turns by Alice Krige, Alfre Woodard and James Cromwell -- complemented Frakes' lively direction.
Some tidbits about the production:
-- First Contact beamed up $30.7 million its opening weekend in the U.S. and went on to gross $92 million domestically and $54 million overseas.
-- Susanna Thompson later played the Borg Queen on Star Trek: Voyager, but Krige reprised the character in the Voyager series finale, "Endgame."
-- What two classic pop songs are heard during First Contact? "Ooby Dooby" by Roy Orbison and "Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppenwolf.
-- Cromwell made the Cochrane role his own, but it had previously been played on The Original Series by Glenn Corbett and Paramount Pictures, as First Contact neared production, offered the role to Tom Hanks, an avowed Trek fan, who passed because he was set to direct and co-star in That Thing You Do!
-- Cromwell had guest starred on other Trek series and, likewise, the First Contact casting director, Frakes and producers called upon other familiar faces in old or new roles: Patti Yasutake as Nurse Ogawa, Dwight Schultz as Lt. Barclay, Robert Picardo as the EMH, and Ethan Phillips as the Holodeck Nightclub Maitre'd.
-- Michael Westmore, Scott Wheeler and Jake Garber were jointly nominated for an Academy Award for Best Makeup, but lost to Rick Baker and David LeRoy Anderson. Anderson later worked on Star Trek Into Darkness, which also featured a brief in-makeup appearance by his wife, Heather Langenkamp, best known for starring in several of the Nightmare on Elm Street horror films. Anderson and Langenkamp own AFX Studio, a makeup company that worked on Star Trek Into Darkness and devised many of the film's creatures.
-- The prolific and beloved composer Jerry Goldsmith created the score for First Contact, with an assist from his son Joel Goldsmith. Sadly, Jerry died in 2004 and Joel passed away in 2012, the latter succumbing to cancer at the very young age of 54.
So... what do YOU remember of seeing First Contact for the first time?