In an interview, Steven Spielberg said this was the third most difficult movie he has made in his career, behind Jaws (1975) and Saving Private Ryan (1998).
The spell cast to use the Orb of Osuvox is from the movie Excalibur. In modern Irish, it's "Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh," which means,"Serpent's breath, charm of death and life, thy omen of making."
Besides the obvious Bigfoot, Delorean, and Akira vehicles, other notables in the race were the Mach 5, Batmobile, A Team van, V8 Interceptor, Christine and the Trans-Am from Smokey and the Bandit
When Wade first goes into the container to put on the headset to enter the Oasis, there is a campaign poster on the wall. It is to vote for Goldie Wilson who was running for mayor in the film Back To The Future.
Around the 35' mark, Halliday is shown on the cover of WIRED magazine with a QR code. The code is readable, and links to an accompanying article on Halliday (July 2018).
Oasis is actually an acronym. It stands for Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation. This is mentioned in Ernest Cline's source novel but not mentioned in the film.
Steven Spielberg is referenced (along with some of his movies) in Ernest Cline's source novel. Spielberg had stated that he would remove these references, although some like the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the alien ship from War of The Worlds, do appear.
The music score was originally going to be composed by longtime Steven Spielberg collaborator John Williams. However, due to scheduling conflicts working on another Spielberg film, The Post (2017), he left and Alan Silvestri took over. This was only the third film where Spielberg did not collaborate with Williams.
The semi-truck blocking the road in the middle of the opening race is the truck driven by Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) in "Big Trouble in Little China" (1986)
During the scene inside the shop, in the background you can see the flying RV from Spaceballs, the space pod from 2001, a Colonial Viper, a star fighter from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Ed 209, and a loader from Aliens.
In the scene where Halliday and Morrow are discussing the date with Kira, Halliday's monitor show he is working on the build of Room 237 of The Shining.
The Zemeckis cube is named after director Robert Zemeckis. When the cube is activated, the music playing is from the Back to the Future (1985) trilogy, directed by Robert Zemeckis. Alan Silvestri composed the score for both the Back to the Future trilogy and this film.
At one point in the movie, the gang goes into a simulation of the hotel from The Shining. In real life, Steven Spielberg was close friends with The Shining's director Stanley Kubrick. Spielberg even once called the scene where Wendy finds Jack's novel as "a great example of counter intuitive direction".
Steven Spielberg made The Post (2017) while he was waiting for Industrial Light & Magic to create close to 1,500 digital effect shots for this movie.
The box containing the spell is the same one Gizmo is in when he's given to Billy in Gremlins.
In the scene where they are discussing Art3mis's possible real life persona, there is a picture of Wil Wheaton on the mirror. In the book, Wil is vice-president of the Oasis user council. He also reads the audio book for this and Ernest Cline's second novel, Armada.
During the race sequence the marquee of a theater can be seen. It reads "Schwarzenegger Jack Slater III". This is a nod to Arnold Schwarzenegger's film Last Action Hero (1993), also written by Zak Penn. According to Penn the nod was unintentional and was included by ILM staff as suggestion by co-writer Ernest Cline. Penn himself didn't know about it before the release of the first trailer.
Halliday's Oasis alter-ego name is "Anorak." Although in American English the word "anorak" refers exclusively to a type of hooded jacket or parka, in the UK the word is also a slightly derogatory slang term for a person Americans would call a "nerd" or a "geek": someone with an obsessive and comprehensive interest in a particular aspect of pop culture, a hobby, or a specialty or niche subject. This level of obsessive fandom is the entire point of the Halliday character and his creation of the Oasis.
Christopher Nolan, Robert Zemeckis, Matthew Vaughn, Peter Jackson, and Edgar Wright were all considered to direct this film.
The film was scheduled to be released on December 15, 2017. It was pushed back to March 30, 2018, to avoid competition with Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017).
During the first race when the 1966 Batmobile comes to a skidding stop the skidding sound effect is the same cadence as the Na na na na na na na na from the opening credits of the Batman TV theme.
The film includes characters from pop culture staples of the 1980s and 1990s, including The Iron Giant (1999), TRON (1982), Akira (1988), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Back to the Future (1985), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Tomb Raider (1996), and Duke Nukem (1991).
In the scene where Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) meets I-R0k (T.J. Miller) about the orb, there lies a crashed ship from the original George Pal version of War of the Worlds (1953). It's also making the original sounds. Spielberg remade War of the Worlds in 2005.
The last rifle spawned by Artemis is a Lancer Assault Rifle with a chainsaw bayonet from the Gears of War games.
Warner Bros. and De Line Pictures won an auction for the rights to Ernest Cline's novel Ready Player One in 2010, before it had been published.
The character Curator, that guides people around Halliday's Journal is based on long time popular character actor Arthur Treacher, best known for playing butlers and other British roles.
During the closeup of Halliday in his coffin, he has quarters over his eyes from the year 1972; the same year the book's author, Ernest Cline, was born.
During the race sequence, when King Kong appears, the theme from the original 1933 film composed by Max Steiner is played.
Shipped to some cinemas under the pseudonym "Deep Blue". Deep Blue was a supercomputer most known for playing the game chess against, and beating, chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov.
In the garage scene where Parzival is showing off H's ships to Art3mis, a model of the Swordfish (Cowboy Bebop) can be seen on the cart.
Toshiro's virtual avatar 'Daito' is a samurai which resembles Japan's legendary actor Toshiro Mifune who has played a samurai in many films during his long distinguished career.
In the end of the first trailer, the song "Jump" by Van Halen transitions to a sample of the intro song of Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990).
Alan Silvestri worked closely with director Steven Spielberg to achieve the right direction for the original musical score that would not only be original and distinctive that would not allude to any of the film's 1980s and 1990s pop culture references, but also to evoke and enhance the film's story and tone of optimism, innocence, beauty, and a sense of wonder and old-fashioned adventure that many of the Hollywood films of the 1980s and the 1990s utilized to great effect. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Spielberg said of Silvestri's musical score for the film, "While all sorts of culturally iconic references populate Ready Player One (2018), the score that Alan Silvestri composed is completely and intoxicatingly original. It's bound together by multiple themes that identify plot and character and is infused by such percussive adrenaline and soaring strings that Alan has made Ready Player One appear to fly."
In one scene near the end of the film, a random citizen can be seen wearing a futuristic version of the HTC VIVE VR headset. HTC participated in promotion of the film with VR arcade and home VR releases of Ready Player One VR mini-experiences with the most recently available VIVE headset.
The teaser trailer contains an orchestral version of the song "Pure Imagination" from the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971). It also contains a segment of the song "Tom Sawyer" by Rush.
Ernest Cline based the relationship of James Halliday and Ogden Morrow on Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. However, Cline said the primary influence for the technopreneur characters are based on: Nolan Sorrento (Nolan Bushnell, Atari founder) James Halliday (Howard Hughes and Richard Garriott a.k.a Lord British / Ultima developer) Ogden Morrow (Harry Knowles, Ain't It Cool News founder)
When we first enter Aech's workshop, Pee-wee's bike from Pee-wee's Big Adventure can be seen in the background.
A reference to Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) was planned in the screenplay but it was vetoed by Sony Pictures, even though it was one of the first films directed by Steven Spielberg.
The TARDIS from Doctor Who can be seen in the background of the first scene in the shop.
It has been noted that Family Ties (1982) was a major influence on Ernest Cline while writing the book. The series was set in Westerville, Ohio - a suburb of Columbus, the setting of this movie.
The source novel references the TV series Spaced (1999), written by and starring Simon Pegg. Pegg plays Ogden Morrow in the movie.
Nolan Sorrento's avatar, the Boss Man is based on Senator Armstrong in the video game Metal Gear Revengeance.
On August 11, 2015, a rumor began circulating that Steven Spielberg was "courting" Gene Wilder to play OASIS creator James Halliday in his later years, which would've made this the first film Wilder has done since 1999. However, Wilder's Dementia had progressed to a point where he could no longer remember lines and couldn't take the part.
Warner Bros. and producer Donald De Line acquired the adaptation rights to Ernest Cline's novel while it was in galley form in a very aggressive bidding contest, beating rival studios Paramount and 20th Century Fox on 21 June 2010, just the following day after the publishing company Random House won the publication rights. Cline stipulated two conditions in the agreement with the studio: he and Eric Eason gets the first attempt to write the script on his book; Cline wants Steven Spielberg to direct it.
This is Steven Spielberg's first movie since Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) to be filmed in Panavision (anamorphic).
The Cyclops from Ray Harryhausen's "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad"(1958) is seen during the first login scene and the final battle.
During the final large scale battle, Parzival spawns in a n A41 SPNKR rocket launcher from the Halo series. He uses it to shoot a rocket at the spider mech that Art3mis was on top of.
Elle Fanning and Lola Kirke were considered for the role of Art3mis before Olivia Cooke was cast.
During the film's final battle sequence, the protagonist of Rooster Teeth Productions' "RWBY," Ruby Rose, can briefly be seen wielding her scythe/sniper rifle Crescent Rose.
In the opening scene, Wade takes off his eyeglasses and places them on a vintage metal lunchbox--Masters Of The Universe featuring He-Man--from 1983.
During the club scene, when Parzival and Art3mis meet you can briefly see Commander Shepard from the poplar video game trilogy Mass Effect awkwardly dancing which is ironic considering in the game it's a running joke that Shepard can't dance.
A passage from the source novel describes Wade's obsession and "research" of Anorak's Almanac, Halliday's journal chock full of references to 1980s books, movies, TV shows, music, and video games. One of the filmographies that Wade studied from the Almanac was Steven Spielberg.
The film involves finding "Easter eggs" (hidden references), and the film itself opened on Easter weekend.
Apart from the ships and items listed above, in Aech's garage there's also a Viper fighter from Battlestar Galactica (1978), and an EVA Pod from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
During the first race the Silvercup Studios building can be seen seconds after King Kong lands on the track. The Silvercup Studios not only created lots of pop-culture productions, but the building itself is where the last fight of Highlander (1986) takes place.
Ready Player One (2018) marks the first Steven Spielberg-directed film project for Warner Bros. Pictures since A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001).
When Wade and Samantha meet, she's wearing a Peter Saville original tee shirt, the design used for the Joy Division "Unknown Pleasures" album cover. Current value of the shirt is $310.
Ernest Cline was heavily inspired by the anime Summer Wars from 2009 (Samâ uôzu) for his novel, but it is not mentioned in the movie despite other anime references.
Another Steven Spielberg reference can be seen in Halliday's attic, where a poster for Raiders of the Lost Ark can be spotted on the wall.
Before the final battle for the Oasis, when Wade is giving his speech, you can see the emblem for the greatest American hero on the side of his headpiece.
Some controversy emerged after Tye Sheridan was cast. Casting website Cast It Talent had advertised that the film was seeking "unknown talent" for the lead role. Several people sent in audition videos in hopes of being cast. When news of Sheridan's casting came out less than a day after the casting campaign ended, the reaction of people who auditioned ranged from understanding that they likely wouldn't be picked to outrage because they felt they had been lied to.
Nick Robinson, Nat Wolff, and Dalton Vaughn were considered for the role of Wade Watts/Parzival before Tye Sheridan was cast.
First Steven Spielberg film to have 70mm motion picture prints made since Hook in 1991.
Tracer from the popular video game Overwatch is voiced by Cara Theobold, who is also the official voice of Tracer in the game. Also, at one point in the Distracted Globe club, a Tracer is seen dancing with a woman, a reference to an Overwatch comic book that revealed that Tracer is a lesbian.
During the scene in the dance club where i-R0k tells the girls to leave the booth, the song "Blue Monday" by New Order is playing. In the movie The Wedding Singer (1998) (which is another movie deep in 80s trivia), the same song is playing when Adam Sandler and his co-stars are in a very similar dance club in a nearly identical booth.
This will be the fourth time a Steven Spielberg film isn't composed by John Williams, after Duel (1971), The Color Purple (1985), and Bridge of Spies (2015).
Jane Douglas from the video game YouTube channel Outside Xbox (2009) is an extra in this film. In the first trailer, she's sitting just behind a guy with the numbers 665312 on his helmet.
Towards the end of the movie, Halliday's final words are "Thank you for playing my game". it is a possible nod/reference to Super Mario 64 in which Mario says the same thing after the end credits, Thank you so much for playing my game.
In the Halliday Journals building, the floors of rows of video arcade game cabinets are only combinations of Pole Position (1982), Asteroids (1979), Millipede (1982), Pong (1972), Missile Command (1980), Tempest (1981), Dig Dug (1982), and one non-Atari game; Ms. Pac-man (1981).
The start up screen for the Oasis is very similar to the Start Screen to the Nerve Gear From the Anime Sword Art Online, with Colors flying toward the viewer and the Logo appearing. Sword Art Online has a very similar concept to Ready Player One, but it is unclear if this was a reference or just a coincidence.
The virtual reality racing vehicles do the same spiral jump as Roger Moore's James Bond did in live action in The Man With The Golden Gun (1975).
In the final battle scene when the rest of the avatars join in the fight, Parzival is seen holding a boom box above his head, which may be a reference to the 80s film 'Say Anything,' where John Cusack is holding a boom box to show how much he loves his girlfriend. This scene has also been referenced in The Simpsons and many other pop culture outlets. Say Anything was also one of the movies the High-Five clan could've chosen when trying to figure out what movie Halladay went on his date.
Another 80s reference is the bag of Doritos on the passenger side of the van right after the cataclysm goes off and they find Artemis wandering in the street. unless they remade the iconic logo in a nostalgic rerelease of the famous nacho chips, in the year 2045, they'd be toting around (and/or eating) a 60 year (give or take a couple years) bag of Doritos.
The Curator bears resemblance to the butler mascot of "Ask Jeeves," a search engine from the 90s.
A grey Renault AVANTIME crosses the screen from right to left before we see Aech/Helen's truck hiding when F'Nale Zandor is looking for a USPS truck, Ohio plates, a drone spitter, 2036 model. The Avantime was a futuristic car brought to the market in 2000 by Renault. The name comes from the French word "Avant" that means "ahead" and the English "Time". Only 8,450 units were made at the Matra factory, and just over 5,000 were sold. It still looks futuristic in the year 2,045.
The third collaboration of Mark Rylance and Steven Spielberg after Bridge of Spies (2015) and The BFG (2016).
Pee-wee Hermans bicycle from Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985) can be seen inside Aech's workshop when Aech takes Parzival and Art3mis to repair Art3mis' motorcycle. When Aech turns the lights on inside the workshop, Pee-wee's bicycle is directly under the lights next to the entrance.
When Wade first goes to the club to meet Art3mis, the bartender has a Devo Hat on from their famous video Whip It.
Steven Spielberg's first movie to gross over $100 million domestically since Lincoln.
This will be the first time Steven Spielberg and Simon Pegg have worked together since The Adventures of Tintin (2011).
The film also marks the first Warner Bros. Pictures production since Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) to be co-produced by DreamWorks Pictures. In the case of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), it was co-produced with Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and Amblin Entertainment.
Tye Sheridan plays a character who spends a significant portion of the film wearing a visor over his eyes, just like his character Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016).
The Overlook Theatre in the film resembles The Senator Theatre in Baltimore, MD. Director Barry Levinson premiered several films there and is good friends with Steven Spielberg.
In the opening scene, as Wade is leaving his place and "Jump" by Van Halen is playing, David Lee Roth sings "gotta roll with the punches" at the exact moment that the camera passes a woman boxing with OASIS gear on.
British Actor Paul Barnhill appears in RP1 as Sorrentos Personal assistant (Sorrentos Man). He also appeared in Spielbergs The BFG as the footman that helps BFG into Buckingham Palace.
The Overlook Theatre in Oasis is named after the Hotel of same name in the movie THE SHINING.
Three cast members have also appeared on Game of Thrones (2011): Ralph Ineson, Kae Alexander, and Hannah John-Kamen.
Four cast members have appearances in the MCU: Ben Mendelsohn, Letitia Wright, Ralph Ineson, and Hannah John-Kamen.
The third collaboration between Mark Rylance and Steven Spielberg after Bridge of Spies and The BFG.
When Parzival was trying on outfits in Aech's garage, there's a picture of Wil Wheaton on the side of the mirror. Wil Wheaton reads the audiobooks of both "Ready Player One" and "Armada" bothe written by Ernest Cline.
The space ship Daito flies in on during the last battle to fight Sorrento is the Serenity, a 'firefly' class freighter from the beloved but short-lived tv show Firefly and it's film sequel Serenity.