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One of the prop hulls was refurbished, and is now the topper of a drink station in Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
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The ship used in the movie used to be in a boneyard at the Disney Studios Theme Park at Walt Disney World in Florida, where it was an exhibit on the "Backlot Tour".
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It was Paul Reubens's idea to make the identity of the actor providing the voice of Max a mystery and he was credited as "Paul Mall".
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The second film released under the Disney banner to contain profanity. It is also the first involvement of Paul Reubens acting for Disney. A month after this film's release, he continued to perform as Pee-wee Herman for the Saturday morning children's program Pee-wee's Playhouse (1986). This television series aired on CBS.
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This was originally an independent film. The main production company, Producers Sales Organisation, put up two-thirds of the budget, while the rest came from Viking Film, a Norwegian company. Walt Disney Pictures picked up all rights for this film for North America, becoming the first distribution deal for the studio under new management led by Michael Eisner.
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When MAX and David escape the NASA facility, they travel "precisely 20 miles from point of origin" in approximately 35 seconds, making their speed about 2,057 mph (almost 3,500 km/H).
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Sets for Dr. Faraday's NASA headquarters and David's bedroom were built at a soundstage at Miami's Limelite Studios. The FAA Tracking Station for Southern California was the site of several scenes, while the interiors of assorted hangars located at Opa-locka Airport stood in for NASA property. Al's Alligator Farm, a general store and dilapidated roadside attraction, was filmed at the BR Horse Ranch, owned by actor Burt Reynolds, in Jupiter, FL.
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In his room in NASA base, David asks when "Starsky and Hutch" is broadcast. Randal Kleiser also directed Starsky and Hutch (1975).
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When MAX and David stop behind the car to ask for directions, the song heard in the car is a fragment of "Trapped In My Mind", an obvious parody of The Cure's "A Man Inside My Mouth" composed by David Kitay and Guy Moon, and performed by Kitay himself specifically for the movie. A full version of the song does not exist.
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The girl at the gas station wears an EPCOT Center t-shirt. At the time, EPCOT was a brand-new theme park at Walt Disney World in Florida, having opened four years earlier. Her brother wears a Miami Vice (1984) shirt. Said series debuted two years earlier.
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When David enters the ship and takes the pilot seat, MAX, the ship's computer, says "Attention! Crois-moi! Assieds-toi! Vnimanie! Oblegni se! Chui me!" That translates to "Attention! Believe me! Sit down!" in French, then "Attention! Sit back! Listen to me!" in Bulgarian.
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When David's parents pull up to their house in the beginning of the movie, the song playing on the car radio is "You're The One That I Want" from Grease (1978), also directed by Randal Kleiser.
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Adverse weather conditions in Los Angeles, CA, and Dallas, TX, forced the production of this movie to move to Florida. The company made its headquarters on a Ft. Lauderdale, FL, houseboat. Other locations included Watson Island in Biscayne Bay near Miami, FL, where the film's opening Frisbee championships took place. The Villa Vizcaya Museum and Gardens doubled as the forest adjacent to David Freeman's house.
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The production relocated to Norway for an additional three weeks to shoot a section of a spacecraft that was transported in four sections to the outskirts of Oslo, and reassembled in an airplane hangar. Two identical spaceships were built and only differed in weight. The lighter 700-pound ship was used solely for flotation sequences. The heavier ship of 1450 pounds had a full interior made out of aluminum. Additional filming of glacier footage took place in a northern arctic area of Norway.
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The music video playing in the scene where David meets Carolyn McAdams is Blancmange's "Lose Your Love."
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Two of the new boxed toys seen on David's bed that he is given as gifts at NASA are a 'Cobra Water Moccasin' from the G.I. Joe toyline and the Transformers Insecticon 'Shrapnel'.
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The film takes place on July 4, 1978 and in July 1986.
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When MAX, the ship's computer describes the animals on board, he says "That is a Feenastarus from the Pixar Elliptic". Five years later, Disney teamed up with Pixar, a fledgling special-effects computer company.
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The robotic commander MAX has a strong resemblance with the robotic autopilot AUTO from the Pixar film WALL·E (2008). In 1986 Pixar was an independent company with Steve Jobs as chairman. Walt Disney Studios was then one of their principal partners.
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Principal photography began 4 Dec 1985 for ten weeks in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The picture was budgeted for $17.5 million, and was a co-production with Viking Film of Norway, which financed one-third of the cost, while Producers Sales Organization covered the remaining two-thirds.
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In her "Random Roles" interview with the AV Club in 2018, Sarah Jessica Parker (Carolyn McAdams) had little recollection of or affection for the film. When she was asked what drew her to Flight of the Navigator (1986), she replied, "What drew me to 'Flight of the'... Are you seriously asking me what drew me to Flight of the Navigator (1986)? It was a part. Like, literally, I just got a part. I went and did it. That's what I did for most of my career. Nothing drew me to it. I can't-it was a job. That's exactly a paycheck. That's exactly what drew me to it. I can't even tell you what it was about or who I played. You know, all you want is a job. You're auditioning, you want to have as much experience as possible. You know, it was great."
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The red, white, and blue star on the NASA facilities was the Bicentennial Star from 1976, designed by graphic designer Bruce Blackburn, who also co-designed the NASA "worm" emblem.
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Phaelon is located 560 light years from Earth.
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The Puckmarin's design is based on a bat.
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Director Randall Kleiser brought in his brother Jeff as the visual effects supervisor, who oversaw the use of reflection mapping software to create the ship's chrome-like appearance. The result was one of the first successful examples of what would later be known as CGI - a full 5 years before the groundbreaking T-1000 of Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).
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Alan Silvestri's score starts off low-key, then the moment the first dog catches the frisbee (which resembled a flying saucer) in its mouth, the music turns exhilaratingly offbeat during the opening credits sequence. Subsequently more dogs catch frisbees in their mouths in fast-paced fashion.
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After MAX and David stop behind the car with the rowdy teenagers and ask for directions, MAX asks if those were "geeks." "Geek" is exactly how Paul Reubens' most famous character, Pee Wee Herman, was described. Also, Starsky and Hutch (1975), is mentioned in the movie, which was referred to as a "geek show" in its early transmissions.
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Younger audiences frequently mistook Joey Cramer, a relatively unknown actor, for Henry Thomas, due to the latter's immense popularity in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) which had premiered three and half years before "Flight of the Navigator".
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David Scott Freeman was born in 1966.
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The scene where David falls off the cliff is similar to Eric's cliff fall in Mac and Me (1988), which was also composed by Alan Silvestri.
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Cliff De Young was in Glory as was Sarah Jessica Parkers husband Matthew Broderick.
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David's flight to Phaelon and back took "4.4 Solar Hours," while 8 years have passed on Earth, indicating that time was slowed down for David by a factor of about 16,000, which corresponds to a speed of about 99.9999998% the speed of light.
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When David and Max take off from Al's gas station, Al says to the tourist "He said he just wanted to phone home." This is a clear reference to E.T. (1982).
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