Everyone loves a good blockbuster—a film that has it all: action, stunts, special effects, thrills, and the potential to dominate pop culture conversations for years after its release. It is often said that Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975) was the first blockbuster film, and that along with Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977), it launched a new era in the history of Hollywood filmmaking: the Blockbuster Age, which continues to this day. And while there is no doubt that Jaws and Star Wars led Hollywood to push to release many more high-budget, effects-heavy movies deliberately aimed to have mass-market appeal, were these two films really the first of their kind? Looking back in film history, I can see many earlier pictures that, at first glance, could seem to match our modern definition of a “blockbuster”, from James Bond films like Goldfinger (Guy Hamilton, 1964) all the way back to the works of Georges Méliès during the very early years of the silent era, beginning with his now-legendary 17-minute picture A Trip to the Moon (French: Le Voyage dans la Lune, 1902). Which leads me to what would seem to be the central question I want to address in this essay: did Méliès create the world’s first blockbuster film in A Trip to the Moon? Continue reading “Was “A Trip to the Moon” the First Blockbuster Movie?”