Das Fliegende Auge…

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West Germany has the curious distinction of having Blue Thunder (or Das Fliegende Auge) released there both first and well in advance of the rest of the world. Indeed, as the vintage programme above testifies (bottom pic) it would open in February 1983 while other territories waited until at least June and at latest September.

Whatever Columbia Pictures strategy may have been, it certainly paid off.  Auge broke box-office records and would make 2,355,048 theatrically (according to IMDB) with much more to follow in rentals (where the fierce onset of the video industry first threatened to eclipse cinema) and remains a popular title there to this day.  Given the minimalist theatrical poster campaign (below) one wonders if its initial European appeal hinged instead on something as basic as the surname of its leading man..?

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