Writer Lewis Abernathy sold his script at the same time that friend James Cameron was working on his own "underwater monster saga". Despite Cameron's asking that he delay this movie to avoid competing with The Abyss (1989), Abernathy went ahead and was thereby deemed persona non grata with Cameron and associates until they patched together their friendship when Abernathy accompanied Cameron on the September 1995 filming of the wreck of the Titanic for Titanic (1997) (but not any actual dives to the wreck itself).
DeepStar Six was the first release of several underwater-themed feature movies released during 1989, including The Abyss (1989), Leviathan (1989), The Evil Below (1989), and Lords of the Deep (1989). With the exception of The Abyss, none of these films were box office hits.
The film was released by TriStar Pictures in the United States on January 13, 1989. It opened on 1,117 screens and debuted in eighth place with a weekend total of $3,306,320. Its final box office total was $8,143,225.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Not only does this film have a similar theme (deep ocean scientific studies) to Leviathan (1989) which was released the same year, but the plots are also almost identical: The science team comes across an unknown organism in extreme depth, it hunts them one by one, and finally follows the few survivors up to the surface.