...yes, it's been 40 years since Airplane! (and The Blues Brothers and Caddyshack) came out in the summer of 1980. Great article on the sleeper hit Airplane! and the expectations of that summer. and don't call me Shirley Airplane! 40th Anniversary Essay - Why No One Knew Airplane Would Be One of the Best Comedies of All Time "Airplane! would earn back its modest $3.5 million budget in its first five days in wide release. And as the summer of 1980 went on, it snowballed into a word-of-mouth hit, eventually pulling in $83 million domestically and ultimately becoming the fourth-highest grossing movie of the year behind only The Empire Strikes Back, 9 to 5, and the Richard Pryor-Gene Wilder ex-con caper Stir Crazy."