Fast Times At Ridgemont High was accused of being porn by studio execs

Nowadays, Fast Times At Ridgemont High is seen as a classic teen movie but it wasn't always that way with even studio execs nervous about the film

Fast Times at Ridgemeont High

Nowadays, Fast Times At Ridgemont High is seen as a classic teen movie that perfectly captures the awkwardness of growing up. It wasn’t always that way, however. When the comedy movie first opened, reviews were mixed, with the grand poobah of film critics Roger Ebert going so far as to call it a “scuz-pit of a movie”.

Ebert wasn’t the only one who thought that either. It turns out that executives at Universal – the studio that released the film – were nervous about some of the riskier scenes, according to one of the film’s stars, Judge Reinhold.

“We were really heartsick because somebody high up said, ‘This is pornography, and there’s no way that Universal’s going to release this movie’,” Reinhold explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “We didn’t see it as this horny high school movie at all. We saw it as having the opportunity to do something authentic that was based on the actual experiences of the kids that Cameron chronicled for that whole year.”

Director Amy Heckerling pointed out the absurdity of worrying about there being too much sex in a teen romp. “The whole theme, of even the title, is things are going too fast for young people,” Heckerling explained. “They shouldn’t have to worry so much about sex at such an early age.”

Apparently, though, Universal was so concerned the company considered an alternate release plan. “They were going to put it on the shelf because they didn’t see how it would make any money,” Heckerling said.  “They decided they would just open it in a few theatres on the West Coast, and they did that, and people kept coming back and knew all the dialogue. So then they quickly put it out in the rest of the country. There was no advertising beforehand — I was bummed out.”

Even without advertising, Fast Times At Ridgemont High was a smash hit.  During its limited opening weekend, the film earned $2.5 million against a reported budget of $5 million. After widening its release, the film ended u making  $27 million, more than five times the budget. Shows what Universal knows, I guess.

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