What was sundered and undone
Shall be whole, the two made one. . .
Aughra, The Dark Crystal
December 1982. Jim Henson, Brian Froud and the rest of those at Jim Henson Productions hoped that the premiere of The Dark Crystal would bring high fantasy films into the popular spotlight and prove to be a success. It was, but only a modest one, eclipsed by a children’s film that no one in Hollywood had paid attention to: Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.
But despite E.T. and other films making 1982 a remarkably crowded summer for blockbuster movies, The Dark Crystal did modestly well, earning $40 million on its $15 million budget. The Dark Crystal is notable that it wasn’t based on an existing property (an aspect it shares with E.T.). Henson and Froud developed the world and the story of the film from scratch; it had a piece of Henson’s heart at its core. Henson was deeply spiritual — raised a Christian Scientist, was later influenced by Eastern religion — and the film reflects his beliefs.