The future is today — if Back to the Future is to be believed.
The celebration of the so-called Back to the Future Day on Wednesday marks the date — Oct. 21, 2015 — that the characters Marty McFly, Emmett "Doc" Brown and Jennifer Parker famously journeyed from 1985 to 2015 in the sci-fi film trilogy's second installment in 1989.
Back to the Future Part II envisioned a colourful 2015 with flying cars, hoverboards and self-tying shoelaces. While those doodads are hardly prevalent today, the film did accurately tease the rise of such technology as flat-screen televisions, biometric scanning and hands-free gaming. It also predicted the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series — an actual possibility with the Cubs contenders in the real-world playoffs, although maybe not for long.
Back to the Future Day is being celebrated Wednesday with an appearance by the original cast at a Lincoln Center screening in New York, as well as several fan-centric events and more than 1,700 theatres hosting screenings across the U.S. and Canada.
Michael J. Fox is also scheduled to be a guest on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Back to the Future filmmaker Robert Zemeckis' trilogy has left a lasting impression on pop culture in the 30 years since the original film debuted, spawning a theme park attraction, video game and animated series.
Name-changes, fan tours, documentary premiere
Beginning Wednesday, the town of Reston, Virginia, is ceremoniously changing its name to Hill Valley, McFly's fictional hometown. The Washington West Film Festival will feature a marathon screening of the trilogy Wednesday and a Sunday screening of the original film, with appearances by stars Christopher Lloyd and Claudia Wells, as well as screenwriter-producer Bob Gale.
In Canada, Cineplex Entertainment will screen Back to the Future parts one and two in theatres across the country on Wednesday, followed by the full trilogy on Sunday.
Last weekend, the Toronto Symphony hosted a Back to the Future concert, with the TSO players performing Alan Silvestri's movie score and a replica of the film's tricked-out DeLorean parked outside Roy Thomson Hall.
Back to the Future Day will be celebrated in Southern California during the four-day "We're Going Back" fan event. The festivities will occur at locations featured in the film series, including a tour of the Hill Valley town square on the Universal Studios lot, an "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance at the Hollywood United Methodist Church and a screening in the parking lot of the Puente Hills Mall, where McFly famously blasted off in Doc Brown's time-travelling DeLorean.
The "We're Going Back" fan event will also host the premiere of Back in Time, a documentary about the franchise's legacy featuring interviews with such notables as Fox and Steven Spielberg. The documentary will also be released digitally Wednesday.
Other celebrations include a re-creation of Hill Valley on Thursday in Fillmore, California, where part of the franchise was filmed, and Million McFly March, a gathering of fans dressed as McFly that will begin at the Burbank, Calif., location of Burger King depicted in Back to the Future.
Back to the Future's fanbase also extends around the globe, with groups worldwide getting in on the fun. Austria's transport ministry published guidelines for hoverboards and issued tongue-in-cheek rules on their use to mark Back to the Future Day, while the Ayrshire Police Division in Scotland shared a parody appeal for information – about reports of a suspicious DeLorean and two men in the parking lot of a local supermarket – on social media.
For those who don't want to leave home, the trilogy is exclusively streaming on Amazon Prime, and Universal is releasing a special edition trilogy box set in light-up packaging resembling Doc Brown's flux capacitor.
DeLorean widow settles lawsuit
Meanwhile, just in time for Wednesday's celebrations, the widow of the automaker whose famous car travelled through time in the 1985 movie and its sequels has settled a lawsuit over the use of his name.
Last year, the widow of automaker John DeLorean sued a Texas company she said has been illegally using the DeLorean name for years. The DMC-12, known simply as "the DeLorean," was driven in the movie and has since gained a cult following.
Sally DeLorean, who lives in New Jersey with her daughter, sued the Texas-based DeLorean Motor Company, claiming it had been illegally using the DeLorean name to sell hats, pens, notebooks, key chains and other items, and illegally licenced the name and images to other companies including Nike, Urban Outfitters and Apple.
The company has never been formally affiliated with the one DeLorean started.
A preliminary settlement was reached in June but hit a speed bump over the summer. Last month, the parties agreed to a settlement that will pay Sally DeLorean an undisclosed sum while allowing the company to retain rights to use the DeLorean Motor Company name, trademarks and logo.
The estate will retain rights to John DeLorean's name, aspects of his personal life and depictions of his likeness that aren't public property or purchased from legitimate rights holders.
R. Scott Thompson, an attorney representing Sally DeLorean and the DeLorean estate, declined to comment on the specifics of the settlement but said his client "is satisfied with the outcome and is especially pleased that she and her daughter will be in a position to protect all aspects of John's legacy going forward."
James Espey, a vice-president with the DeLorean Motor Company, said Tuesday night that the company "is happy to have this behind us so there's no question what our rights are."
"This allows us to get back to the business of doing business," Espey added.
John DeLorean began his career at General Motors before forming his own company in the 1970s. Only about 9,000 DeLorean cars were produced before the company went bankrupt in the early 1980s, but the car's sleek, angular look and gull-wing doors helped land it a role in the Back to the Future films. DeLorean died in New Jersey in 2005 at age 80.