History 12

May 1979
Organized by Billy Baxter and Herbert Steinmann, an international critics’ screening of Dawn of the Dead (now in the form of George Romero’s final theatrical cut) is held at the Cannes Film Festival. Meanwhile back home, the film has by now grossed over $5.1 million domestically in only four weeks of release.

May 25, 1979
The American release of this year’s major Hollywood summer blockbuster, Ridley Scott’s Alien, pushes Dawn of the Dead out of most “flagship” theaters, but the film will still keep rotating nationwide over the following months.

June 1979
Dario Argento’s edit of the film is submitted to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) by U.K. distributors, Target International Pictures, to be reviewed by a group of “examiners” that includes the BBFC’s director at the time, James Ferman (as well as one unnamed gentleman who gets so offended by its content that he withdraws from the examination altogether following an initial screening and from then on will even refuse to merely discuss the film). However, the number of cuts demanded for an “X” certificate turn out so exorbitant they are deemed inacceptable by Target.

June 7, 1979
Hitting American newsstands on this day, the debut issue of horror/fantasy magazine Fangoria features prominent coverage of Tom Savini’s make-up effects for Dawn of the Dead.

June 8, 1979
UFDC start a second major release run of the film around the New York metropolitan area, covering another 60 sites.