“Straight Outta Compton” star O’Shea Jackson Jr. wasn’t even born when IMDb debuted in 1990, but he helped light up the room at the website’s 25th anniversary party at the Sunset Tower in West Hollywood on Thursday night.
The milestone of 25 years “is something that I think no other Internet company can say,” IMDb founder and CEO Col Needham told a room full of friends and supporters. “What was going on in the Internet in 1990 but IMDb?”
Ebay, Yahoo and even AOL — spamming every mailbox in America with discs offering free hours — were launched five, four and three years into the 1990s, respectively.
Needham hosted the birthday bash with “friends” from Amazon Studios, the original content wing of the company that bought IMDb back in 1998.
On Thursday night, guests surrounded Amazon Studios head Roy Price (he of 12 Emmy nominations) but ceded the floor to Needham, who was online so early that his email address was numbers.
The supporters who have stuck with IMDb over decades of digital developments include on-camera talent (Dana Delaney, Mira Sorvino, Peter Fonda, Ethan Embry, and Tommy Davidson), producers (Dana Brunetti, Ron Yerxa, and reality franchise master Conrad Riggs), filmmakers (James Schamus and Michael Sucsy), industry media captains (TheWrap Founder and CEO Sharon Waxman and Anne Thompson), festival programmers, and a slew of Amazon Studios executives.
Amazon acquired IMDb in April 1998. At the time, Amazon also acquired one of the largest U.K. online booksellers (Bookpages.co.uk) and the German equivalent, Telebook, for a total cost of approximately $55 million, per a 1998 press release. Amazon was starting to expand beyond book sales, and beyond the U.S.
Now, IMDb gets over 250 million unique visitors a month and claims the title as the “#1 Movie Website in the World.” It could also claim the title of the industry’s true “LinkedIn,” the go-to source for those making decisions about other peoples’ careers and journalists wanting to know what year O’Shea Jackson Jr. was born.
“I hope you have all cleared your diaries for October 2040,” Needham joked, before guests went home with a three month free trial to IMDbPro.