Theaters Triangle-wide—In 1982, Disney released TRON, a big-budget, high-tech flick in which a computer programmer played by Jeff Bridges gets sucked into a mainframe and is forced to compete in his own arcade games to survive. It was the first major motion picture to rely on computer animation to create its special effects, and it flopped at the box office. Disney moved on. The nerds didn't.
Over the next three decades, TRON became a geek culture touchstone, its unique visuals as recognizable as those of Star Wars or Star Trek. While it may not have been a great movie per se, its concepts energized and informed a generation of filmmakers, video game designers and computer programmers—in other words, everyone who helped build today's internet and entertainment complex.
Disney eventually realized what it had on its hands, and after several false starts, it has finally delivered a really high-tech and really big-budget (reportedly $200 million) sequel, all of course in glowing digital 3-D. Whether TRON: Legacy is any good remains to be seen; the execs at Disney are just hoping everyone else will get as excited about it as the geeks are. —JP Trostle