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The 25th Anniversary of the First Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie

Although 2014 may have been the 30th Anniversary of the TMNT, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing special to celebrate this year. In fact, 2015 marks a very special anniversary in the franchise, an event that spawned four other momentous occasions in the history of the Ninja Turtles. 25 years ago, on March 30th, 1990, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made their first jump onto the silver screen. That’s right, the first ever Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie is officially 25 years old.


While many of you shellheads might be too young to remember when this movie came out, I’m sure there are quite a few TMNT fans out there who have fond memories of this film’s release. If you can imagine it, the Ninja Turtles were still a pretty fresh franchise, and the success of the animated series in 1987 lead to bigger opportunities. The turtles had gone from the pages of a comic book to the aisle of a toy store, and it was only fitting that they should finally take on Hollywood.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film was an unmitigated success. At its roots, it was a low budget independent film (much like the roots of the comic book that inspired the characters), but that wouldn’t stop the fans from going to see their favorite heroes in a half shell in live action. Despite the low budget, the film featured some incredible animatronics and action, and would go on to become the most successful TMNT movie of all time.


Okay, so last year’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie from director Jonathan Liebesman was incredibly profitable, earning over $475 million worldwide. However, Paramount and Platinum Dunes spent $125 million to make that film a reality, while the original 1990 film had a budget of only $13.5 million. With a tenth of the money, a rag tag group of production studios worked together to create an incredible film that would make back almost 15 times its budget. Worldwide, the film made a total of $201 million, far surpassing expectations and becoming the 9th highest grossing movie of the year.

The success of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie was nothing to sneeze at, as it lead to two sequels which would also do pretty well in theaters. To date, there have been five Ninja Turtles films released in theaters, and all of them have been successful. That being said, none have been quite as lucrative as the original film from 1990. Due to its importance in the history of the franchise, it’s worth taking note of the 25th anniversary of this film and paying due respect.

What’s your favorite scene from this movie? If you can remember your favorite moments, quote them in the comments below and let all of your fellow shellheads know that it’s time to celebrate the first (and widely considered to be the best) TMNT movie ever made!

The Author

Justin W

Justin W

My name is Justin Wren and I love to write about the TMNT! I've been a big Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan since the late 80's. Back then, I would watch the original animated series and play with the Playmates toys all the time. I have been following the boys ever since I was a kid, and I'm very happy to see them back in the limelight after all these years. Needless to say, I'm proud to be a member of the team on this awesome TMNT Fan Site!

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