Universal Studios Hollywood
The Moment: In 1965, Universal Studios repurposes its studio tours into something more akin to a theme park, opening its first attraction - the War Lord Tower. Gradually over the years, the studio adds more attractions until it becomes a veritable cinematic theme park.
The Immediate Impact: Movie fans get to experience their favourite films first hand. Backdraft , Rocky , Jurassic Park, Terminator 2 , Waterworld … All get their own impressively interactive rides.
Lasting Effect: Universal Studios Hollywood is now one of the world's hottest movie attractions. Luxuriating in the California heat, it's a place to lose yourself for days on end.
Star Trek Into Darkness (2012)
The Moment: Benedict Cumberbatch is cast as John Harrison in JJ Abrams' sequel to Star Trek , but is he actually playing Khan? We finally get confirmation when the film's released.
The Immediate Impact: Cumberbatch steals the show, all reptilian and muscular as sneaky bad guy Khan. We couldn't imagine anybody better-suited to the role.
Lasting Effect: Though Trekkies were up in arms over the film, we loved it as a big slice of blockbuster entertainment. And Cumberbatch's performance is definitely one to remember.
Weird Science (1985)
The Moment: Gary Wallace (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt Donnelly (Ilan Mitchell-Smith), the nerds to end all nerds, create their own ideal woman in the form of Lisa (Kelly LeBrock).
The Immediate Impact: A million geek fantasies are brought to life on the big screen. For one of the first times, geeks are portrayed as, if not cool, then pretty freaking awesome (they did, after all, create a whole woman). A modern classic is born.
Lasting Effect: John Hughes' film is now revered as a cult classic and one of the best sci-fi comedies ever made. Need proof of its importance? A remake's in the works…
Spirited Away (2001)
The Moment: Studio Ghibli's artistic masterpiece lands in the UK where it surprises just about everybody by becoming a huge hit.
The Immediate Impact: Hayao Miyazaki's film becomes the highest-grossing Japanese movie ever, even overtaking Titanic at the box office.
Meanwhile, film fans wonder why they've never noticed Ghibli's output before (of course, us geeks had been importing them for years beforehand).
Lasting Effect: 'Miyazaki' is now a (geek) household name. Even The Simpsons paid homage recently, a sure sign of anything's popularity.
The Moment: Darren Aronofsky makes his directorial debut, a bonkers thriller that follows a nerdy numbers theorist. Sounds awful. It really, really isn't.
The Immediate Impact: Pi did decent business, but most exciting was the arrival of Aronofsky, a talent packing serious potential. What would he do next?
Lasting Effect: We cried when Aronofsky departed The Wolverine because it seemed his career had been steering him Wolvie's way the whole time.
Still, his other flicks - Requiem For A Dream, The Fountain, Black Swan - have riveted, nudging at the borders of geek culture with sophistication and ideas to spare.
The Moment: Software engineer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is sucked into a computer where he discovers The Grid - the inside of his PC and a whole world of its own.
The Immediate Impact: Tron was meant to be a massive hit for Disney, and while it did decent work at the box office, it was just too niche to appeal to the mainstream (Oscar noms for Best Costume Design and Sound notwithstanding).
Lasting Effect : Steven Lisberger's film is now a cult classic (even Dexter's Laboratory lovingly spoofed it).
It finally spawned a sequel in 2010, which received mixed reactions (not unlike its predecessor). A potential third film is still being mooted.
The Moment: Getting in ahead of the curve, M. Night Shyamalan makes a comic-book movie that's NOT based on a comic and takes itself with an affecting seriousness.
The Immediate Impact: As well as nabbing a massive cult following, the film played well to the tune of $248m at the box office.
Talk of a potential trilogy quickly erupted, but further films never arrived.
Lasting Effect: Though Shyamalan's shamed himself somewhat in recent years with some frankly embarrassing career decisions ( The Last Airbender ? Really?), we still take solace in Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense.
Meanwhile, we await Shyamalan's own dramatic comeback. It'll happen one day, trust us.
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World (2010)
The Moment: Bryan Lee's comic book world is brought to energetic life by director Edgar Wright. It's one made for the fans by a fan, and it shows. We love it.
The Immediate Impact: Though it just about made its budget back, Scott Pilgrim sank at the box office (what do mainstream audiences know, eh?) Still, those in the know lapped it up and reviews were positive.
Lasting Effect: Scott Pilgrim is destined for cultdom. Give it 10 years and it'll be on everybody's 'favourite cult movie' list. Everybody's.
The Captains (2011)
The Moment: William Shatner directs a documentary about starship captains - and winds up meeting Chris Pine. The duo end up arm-wrestling…
The Immediate Impact: In short: geeky sniggering.
Lasting Effect: Nothing massive. Mostly, this was just a fun little moment in which the two actors who have played Kirk get to battle it out - something that the new Star Trek films have so far denied us.
The Moment: Rian Johnson storms onto the indie movie scene with a brilliantly confident high school spin on classic noir. With its own vernacular and twisty plot, it's the kind of film that separates the geeks from the boys.
The Immediate Impact: Johnson's film won the Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and was then distributed by Focus Features, garnering acclaim for its richness of dialogue and world-building.
Lasting Effect: Brick 's become a cult favourite and an interesting entry on Joseph Gordon-Levitt's indie-cool CV.
The Moment: CGI on a shoestring. In a natural progression from Jurassic Park' s pioneering CG, Gareth Edwards creates just as amazingly-realistic movie monsters on a PC in his bedroom. Kudos.
The Immediate Impact: The story of Monsters ' creation is almost as interesting as the film itself. Meanwhile, the film does decent box office work and a sequel is commissioned.
Lasting Effect: Edwards was quickly signed up to helm the Godzilla reboot. Meanwhile, low-budget CGI-monster-led movies are everywhere, right down to Sharknado and Big Ass Spider.
Back To The Future (1985)
The Moment: A DeLorean as a time machine! Who says cars are for cool kids? Here, uber-geek Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) makes a time machine using his squashed-looking DeLorean. Cinemagoer? Meet icon.
The Immediate Impact: Back To The Future becomes 1985's highest-grossing movie and wins two armfuls' worth of awards. Two sequels are quickly planned to shoot back to back.
Lasting Effect: One of the few remaining properties that hasn't been afforded a belated fourquel, BTTF still holds up today as one of the coolest time travel movies ever (and we still love debating the validity of its time travel theories).
Meanwhile, the idea of something weird as a time machine's still hot - in 2010 we got Hot Tub Time Machine.
The Moment: A new, iconic slasher figure arrives in the form of Ghostface. Not only that, but Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven are responsible for worming the word 'post-modernism' into everyday vernacular with their self-referential scare-flick.
The Immediate Impact: With an almost-unprecedented (for its genre) US haul of $100m, Craven's film becomes the 15th highest-grossing film of the year.
Meanwhile, studios waste no time dusting off their own horror scripts and giving them a snarky, post-modern polish.
Lasting Effect: In the wake of bandwagon-jumpers Urban Legend and I Know What You Did Last Summer, post-modern slashers gave way to torture porn. Meanwhile, all three Scream sequels failed to match the elegant brilliance of the original (though the muscular Scream 2 came close).
The Moment: James Cameron delivers on his promise of 3D that will blow your mind. With the mouth-watering visuals of alien world Pandora brought to eyeball-popping life, suddenly everybody wanted to release their movie in 3D.
The Immediate Impact: Avatar becomes the first film to pass the $2bn threshold. While critics and audiences frequently refer to it as a live-action Ferngully, everybody loves the visuals.
Lasting Effect: 3D's still where it's at, with every major studio releasing pretty much all of their biggest blockbusters in three dimensions.
Meanwhile, geek guys and girls debate if post-conversion should be banned.
The Moment: After the success of Tim Burton's Batman , it took almost a whole decade for another comic-book movie to come along that felt like an awesome film proper (not least in the wake of Batman & Robin ). Blade was that film.
The Immediate Impact: Though its success was modest ($130m box office on a $70m budget), Blade proved there was money in comic-book adaps. Just two years later, along came X-Men , which changed the cinematic landscape forever.
Lasting Effect: You can barely move at the cinema without bumping into a collection of comic-book movies.
The Moment: Zack Snyder effortlessly takes us through the alternate history of the world of the Watchmen as the Cold War escalates into a nuclear war and the 1980s are considerably bleaker than they really were (hard to imagine, we know).
The Immediate Impact: Fans were divided over Snyder's adaptation as a whole, but they couldn't deny that his elegant use of montage (and Bob Dylan's 'The Times They Are a-Chaingin'') were a massive high point.
Lasting Effect: The film stands up, and Snyder's become the go-to guy for comic-book adaptations - and he's arguably still yet to make his biggest.
The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001)
The Moment: Peter Jackson releases the first of his adaptations of JRR Tolkien's genre-defining fantasy, and somehow manages to do the unthinkable - he turns an 'unfilmable' story into something sweepingly romantic and action-packed.
The Immediate Impact: Universal acclaim, 13 Oscar nominations and approbation as one of the finest fantasy films ever created. Not bad, really.
Lasting Effect: Book adaptations are still considered hot stuff, with every major studio attempting to replicate the successes of TLOTR and Harry Potter. Many have tried, many have failed.
Veronica Mars (2014)
The Moment: Six years after neo-noir drama series Veronica Mars met its small-screen demise, creator Rob Thomas uses crowd-funding website Kickstarter to fund a big-screen resurrection for our favourite teen sleuth.
The Immediate Impact: Everybody decides that this is the future of movies, and a campaign quickly starts up for something similar to happen for Firefly . Meanwhile, Mars fans rejoice. A lot.
Lasting Effect: Could this actually be the future for movies? We'll have to wait and see how Veronica Mars does at the box office, but it's certainly an attractive model for small-budget movies.
Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
The Moment: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost jump from the small screen ( Spaced ) to the big with their own irreverent take on the zombie sub-genre, which creates a new sub-sub-genre: the rom-zom-com.
The Immediate Impact: Acclaim like no other and an impressive $30m in box office takings (the film was made for just $6m).
Lasting Effect: Having completed the Cornetto Trilogy, Wright is now making his Ant-Man movie while Pegg is a firm fixture in all things geek - including the new Star Trek movies.
The Moment: Holy cameo alert! In the standout scene from Seth MacFarlane's feature debut, Flash Gordon star Sam J. Jones makes an appearance as himself, even re-enacting a scene from the film with Mark Wahlberg.
The Immediate Impact: Pant-wetting hilarity and Queen's theme tune getting stuck in everybody's heads for weeks on end.
Lasting Effect: Well, it didn't exactly change the face of cinema, but it certainly gave movie geeks a treat - and made us excited for MacFarlane's next film, A Million Ways To Die In The West.
The Moment: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is cast as a young version of Bruce Willis in Rian Johnson's sci-fi. We all scratch our heads, then we actually watch the film and witness JGL doing a note-perfect Willis impersonation, despite the odd prosthetics.
The Immediate Impact: A blinding sci-fi is born, giving Willis his best role in years and reminding us that time travel flicks can still be amazing.
Lasting Effect: We branded it the best film of 2012, and though it's barely been two years since its release, Looper 's already attained cult status.
The Moment: Cult movie star Ron Perlman is cast as the titular Hellboy, a demon with a legendary red right hand who goes up against monsters.
The Immediate Impact: Having impressed with Blade II, Guillermo del Toro marks himself out as a force to reckon with, having created a damn near perfect comic-book adap.
Lasting Effect: An even-better sequel was released in 2008 to a rapturous reception, but talk of a third film has yet to result in an actual film.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014)
The Moment: Bryan Singer announces he's returning to the X-Men franchise a decade after he made X2 - and he's going to unite the cast of his X films with that of X-Men: First Class.
The Immediate Impact: Excitement levels are ratcheted sky high - this should be the biggest X-Men movie yet, and the novelty of uniting the old and young versions of our favourite comic-book characters is almost too much to bear.
Lasting Effect : X-Men: DOFP looks amazing, and 20th Century Fox is only going to keep expanding the franchise, with X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Force both due in 2016.
District 9 (2009)
The Moment: Neil Blomkamp proves that brainy sci-fi is anything but dead, setting his alien invasion flick in South Africa and cleverly playing around with apartheid iconography.
The Immediate Impact: Despite having an entirely unknown cast and a micro-budget, Blomkamp's film is a huge hit in the geek community. We love an underdog.
Lasting Effect: Blomkamp's film is a perennial favourite, and the director's made a niche for himself as a sci-fi filmmaker who likes to infuse his flicks with meaty social issues (see last year's Elysium ).
The Moment: Found footage flicks are nothing new, but Chronicle takes it one step further by creating an original, contemporary comic-book fable shot almost entirely from the POV of our troubled MC, Andrew (Dane DeHaan).
The Immediate Impact: $126m at the box office (budget: $12m) and one of the coolest films of the year. Plus, the name "DeHaan" is suddenly on everybody's lips.
Lasting Effect: Fox is still trying to make a sequel (we don't need one). Meanwhile, low-budget found footage flicks are still going strong - this year we're getting Welcome To Yesterday , which is essentially Chronicle with time travel.
The Moment: After being mortally wounded, cop Alex J. Murphy (Peter Weller) is given a reboot by OCP and emerges as the infinitely amazing RoboCop.
The Immediate Impact: Pop culture has a new hero, and he's one for the times - futuristic and sleek and effortlessly cool. In a word: iconic.
Lasting Effect: RoboCop's so cool that despite a couple of disappointing sequels, his popularity remains undimmed - which is why a reboot's out this year.
The Moment: The Blair Witch Project set the bar high for viral marketing, but it was Cloverfield that brought it well and truly into geek terrain. The teaser trailer - in which the Statue of Liberty is beheaded - sends the internet into meltdown.
The Immediate Impact: Everybody wants to know what Cloverfield is. Is it a place? A monster? A conspiracy? Or could this be a top-secret Godzilla reboot? In short: the viral marketing did exactly what it was supposed to. It got people talking.
Lasting Effect: Viral marketing gone wild. Chris Nolan jumps on the bandwagon with The Dark Knight , while Ridley Scott shows how it's done on the otherwise-disappointing Prometheus .
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
The Moment: Sam Raimi's Spider-Man hit control-delete on Spidey's mechanical web-shooters, but Marc Webb reinstated them for his reboot.
The Immediate Impact: Non-comic fans were confused as to how a teenage boy could manufacture such things, but comic aficionados rejoiced that the Spidey of their childhoods had been rejuvenated on-screen.
Lasting Effect: Though Webb's film was criticised for instilling a sense of déjà vu, his Spidey flick was slick and contemporary, and its sequel looks phenomenal.
The Moment: Tim Burton directs the first big-screen Batman adventure since the 1960s and gets it so, SO right. Moody, reverential, darkly funny and with Michael Keaton perfectly cast as Batman, it was the Bat we'd always wanted to see but had never been granted.
The Immediate Impact: The film became the highest-grossing film of 1989 and - at the time - the fifth highest-grossing film of ALL TIME. Not bad.
Lasting Effect: Batman was suddenly credible. Though the sequels to Burton's films ( Batman Returns notwithstanding) were a letdown, suddenly Batman had street cred and would later attract one Chris Nolan.
Iron Man (2008)
The Moment: Iron Man's over and it was pretty darned amazing, but WAIT. What's this? Samuel L Jackson making a post-credits cameo? As Nick Fury? Talking about putting together a team?! HEART ATTACK.
The Immediate Impact: And just like that, Marvel gives us all hope that one day we'll see the Avengers on the big screen together. It CAN'T be possible, but Marvel has shown off serious kahunas, and we can't wait to see what happens next.
Lasting Effect: Marvel creates a new kind of movie format with its different 'Phases', effectively turning a string of movies into a mini-season that culminates in an Avengers blockbuster. We're still in awe of what they're doing.
The Terminator (1984)
The Moment: Arnie's villainous Terminator has been blown up and (we assume) killed. But then he extricates himself from the wreckage, sans skin - a grinning metal nightmare with laser-red eyes…
The Immediate Impact: A chilling cinematic villain is born - one that is sleek in design and elegant in its ability to terrify. The Terminator's so cool that he simply demanded more outings. We'd have to wait a while though.
Lasting Effect: James Cameron unleashes his superior sequel… and then it sort of all goes to hell. Two more sequels and a TV series failed to recapture the magic, but we live in hope.
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The Moment: "I AM your father." Darth Vader flips the Wars-verse on its head when he reveals that he's Luke Skywalker's pappie.
The Immediate Impact: The clues were there all along ('Vader' is Dutch for father), but the twist's still shocking in a story sense. Just don't leave the cinema talking about it like Homer Simpson does…
Lasting Effect: The line's been pastiched everywhere (our favourite is Toy Story 2 ) and entered pop culture vernacular to such a degree that it's sort of taken on a life of its own.
The Raid (2011)
The Moment: Indonesian cinema is given an adrenaline boost by Gareth Evans, who directs one of the grittiest, most violent and achingly cool action flicks in years.
The Immediate Impact: Word of mouth and serious festival buzz meant that The Raid was THE film to see in 2011, despite competition against massive franchises ( Harry Potter, Transformers, Pirates, Twilight, Mission: Impossible ).
Lasting Effect: Gareth Evans becomes a director to watch, and sequel The Raid: Berandal is due out later this year. This is just the beginning…
The Matrix (1999)
The Moment: Just how often does a Hollywood blockbuster question notions of creationalism and reality, throw in some Plato and Baudrillard and then wrap it all up in a cyberpunk/comic-book/wire-fu/bullet-time package? NEVER. Until The Matrix came along and gave geeks something to be proud of.
The Immediate Impact: Everybody wants to know what the Matrix is (it's a computer term that, until know, only proper geeks had heard of) and cinema cash registers ring to the tune of $463m.
Lasting Effect: Wire-fu and bullet time crept into just about every movie and TV show for a decade before fizzling out. Meanwhile, the Matrix sequels failed to wholly satisfy, though they're still enjoyable as philosophical popcorn fodder.
Blade Runner (1982)
The Moment: Ridley Scott directs one of the artiest science-fiction films ever in the form of this Philip K. Dick adaptation, which introduces hard-bitten hero Deckard (Harrison Ford) and a brilliantly-realised future 2019.
The Immediate Impact: Poor box office returns in North America, but certain open-minded critics lauded the film's tough thematic content.
Lasting Effect: After the release of several different versions, Blade Runner remains a sci-fi against which all new sci-fis are measured. And we're still trying to figure out if Deckard's a Replicant or not.
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Moment: Up until 1993, dinosaurs existed in the domain of nerdy kids and super-smart palaeontologists. Then Spielberg, ILM and Stan Winston came along and made them into a terrifying, believable movie reality. The rest is history.
The Immediate Impact: Obsession with dinosaurs crosses into the mainstream and Jurassic Park takes over $1bn at the worldwide box office. Meanwhile, CGI takes off like never before - welcome to the CGI Age…
Lasting Effect: There were JP sequels, plus other CGI beasties like Godzilla, and it's difficult to find a Hollywood blockbuster that doesn't now use CGI in some form. And Jurassic World 's on the horizon…
Sin City (2005)
The Moment: Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow was one of the first films to use digital backdrops, but Sin City took it to a whole new level - and was arguably a far superior film - as Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez create a living, moving comic book.
The Immediate Impact: The film heralded a surprise return to form for Mickey Rourke and was even up for the Palme d'Or at Cannes. It opened to massively popular reviews.
Lasting Effect: 'Green screen movies' haven't exactly taken over Hollywood, but they've undoubtedly been some of the most interesting - and they're still popular, with 300: Rise Of An Empire and Sin City: A Dame To Kill For both out in 2014.
The Moment: The hero is a woman! Not only that, she's also tangled in a mythological battle with a phallic beast that wants to munch its way through an entire space crew - and just about does.
The Immediate Impact: Ridley Scott's retina-sizzling almost-B-movie takes space's terrifying vacuum and unleashes one of cinema's greatest monsters on an unsuspecting crew. The reviews raved; cinema-goers cowered.
Lasting Effect : Over 25 years later, the Alien franchise still refuses to die. Whether that's a good or bad thing is up for debate, but there's no denying its impact on the cinematic landscape.
Meanwhile, female heroines are still awesome, even if they often draw the short straw with short-sighted studio execs.
The Moment: Geeks will rule the world! A year before Weird Science gave us awesome teen nerds, we get grown-up geeks with Ghostbusters. A supremely confident fantasy comedy from Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, it's tailor-made for movie nerds.
The Immediate Impact: Even the film's logo is awesome. The film's a financial hit, garners two Oscar nods and launches an entire franchise.
Lasting Effect: The sequel divided opinion, but then we also got the animated series and a load of videogames. If a third movie never gets made (it's been crawling along limply for years) we wouldn't mind - Ghostbusters is perfect as it is.
The Moment: Katsuhiro Otomo takes the pages of his graphic novel and transforms them into an animated movie like no other. One thing's for sure: this ain't Disney…
The Immediate Impact: The profile of Anime properties sky rockets outside of Japan and cult fans have a new masterpiece to drool over. Meanwhile, Roger Ebert is a huge supporter when it receives a US release.
Lasting Effect: Anime gets a continued popularity boost, and Hollywood's still struggling to find a way to make a live-action version. Our advice: don't.
Avengers Assemble (2012)
The Moment: Marvel delivers on its promise to unite Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow Captain America, Hulk etc al in one of the biggest blockbusters ever made. Even better: Joss Whedon's at the helm.
The Immediate Impact: Fanboy and fangirl mania. To put it lightly, Avengers goes down a storm, becoming the first Marvel movie to make $1bn at the box office.
Lasting Effect: Next up; Avengers: At Of Ultron . Plus a slew of awesome-looking solo flicks that deal with the fall-out of Avengers .
Also it's arguable that the successful 'let's unite disparate parts into an awesome whole' approach is what prompted Fox to take on X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
World Of Warcraft (2015)
The Moment: Moon director Duncan Jones signs on to adapt videogame World Of Warcraft into a movie.
The Immediate Impact: Considering Jones' indie cred, the director's attachment to the project attracts only positive feedback. Could this be a videogame movie that breaks the 'videogame movie curse'?
Lasting Effect: Dominic Cooper calls the film "massive" and hypes up expectations further still. Boy, 2015's going to be big…
Warner Bros. Studio Tour: Harry Potter
The Moment: Warner Bros opens the doors to its new attraction - a recreation of the world of Harry Potter using the actual movie sets. It's perfect right down to every last mug of butter beer.
The Immediate Impact: Potter fans go wild, finally able to visit the world that they've only ever imagined in their heads or experienced through the cinema screen.
Lasting Effect: A magical experience for all the family. Plus we get seasonal treats like Hogwarts In The Snow. Amazing.
The Moment: Firefly fans finally get their just desserts when Joss Whedon is given the go-ahead to make a movie that continues the adventures of Mal, River and co.
The Immediate Impact: The fans were happy (though a few notable character deaths caused a fracas) and it seemed that we might get to see Mal back on the big screen again. That was, until the box office figures came in…
Lasting Effect: Though it opened at #2 in the US, Serenity didn't earn back its budget until it hit home ent, pretty much signalling the end of on-screen Firefly . The comics, however, have stuck around. Hurrah!
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The Moment: "This is space, Jim, but not as we know it." Stanley Kubrick creates a mind-bending sci-fi that not only boasts gorgeous visuals, but also skewers concepts like evolution and AI.
The Immediate Impact: By appealing so directly to a geeky sci-fi market, Kubrick's film took its time making its money back at the box office.
Lasting Effect: Considered a milestone in both filmmaking and sci-fi, Kubrick's film is revered as a cult classic. Its influence can be seen in just about every space-set sci-fi made since.
Batman Vs Superman (2015)
The Moment: Comic-Con 2012, Zack Snyder reveals the logo for Man Of Steel 2 , which features the Superman and Batman shields fighting for supremacy. Yep, there's a super-scrap on the horizon.
The Immediate Impact: The applause almost takes the roof off Hall H and word spreads through the internet like wildfire. But who'll play Batman so soon after Christian Bale delivered his era-defining performance?
Lasting Effect: We're still stuck in the middle of pre-production buzz, waiting for the movie to commence shooting and make its way into cinemas.
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
The Moment: Han Solo. Darth Vader. LIGHTSABERS. George Lucas' mythological blend of sci-fi and fantasy sends comic-book geeks into a frenzy. The space opera is born.
The Immediate Impact: Audiences and critics alike drool over the special effects and colourful characters. Meanwhile, it takes $460m at the box office, even beating Jaws' record-breaking haul.
Lasting Effect: Sci-fi is synonymous with Star Wars and the original trilogy is revered as basically untouchable (the same can't be said for the prequels). And people still want more - Episode VII 's on the horizon.
The Moment: Founded in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention, this was a place for comic fans to unite and discuss their favourite works of graphic art.
The Immediate Impact: Limited. Its original attendance figure was 145. By 1973 that figure was 1,000 and today the Con attracts over 100,000 geeks every single year.
Lasting Effect: Immeasurable. Movie and TV studios now use Comic-Con to shout about their upcoming projects with exclusives, and Comic-Con is a Mecca for all things awesome.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Moment: Heath Ledger is cast as The Joker in Christopher Nolan's follow-up to 2005's Batman Begins.
The Immediate Impact : Vitriol, to choose just one word. Fans couldn't imagine pretty-boy Ledger ever becoming The Joker, let alone improving on Jack Nicholson's defining portrayal of the psycho in 1989's Batman .
Lasting Effect: One of the most celebrated (and shiver-inducing) comic-book movie performances ever put on screen - plus Ledger won a much-deserved posthumous Oscar.
Star Wars: Episode VII (2015)
The Moment: Lucasfilm sells the rights to future Star Wars movies to Disney, and the studio promptly announces that an Episode VII will be released in 2015 as the first in a proposed new trilogy.
The Immediate Impact: The announcement was divisive to say the least, and Wars fans fell quickly into three camps - those who loved the originals and wanted more, those who hated the prequels and wanted it all to end, and those who were quietly optimistic now that there was a new person steering the rudder, namely JJ Abrams.
Lasting Effect: Hard to say at this early stage, but the signs are positive for a film that will appease die-hard fans while establishing scope for even more awesome space epics.