On this day in 1977, Star Wars was released in theaters, and an 8-year old kid from Philly’s life was changed forever.
On this day in 1977, Memorial Day weekend opens with an intergalactic bang as the first of George Lucas’ blockbuster Star Wars movies hits American theaters.
The incredible success of Star Wars–it received seven Oscars, and earned $461 million in U.S. ticket sales and a gross of close to $800 million worldwide–began with an extensive, coordinated marketing push by Lucas and his studio, 20th Century Fox, months before the movie’s release date.
“It wasn’t like a movie opening,” actress Carrie Fisher, who played rebel leader Princess Leia, later told Time magazine. “It was like an earthquake.” Beginning with – in Fisher’s words – “a new order of geeks, enthusiastic young people with sleeping bags,” the anticipation of a revolutionary movie-watching experience spread like wildfire, causing long lines in front of movie theaters across the country and around the world.
My mother was arguably a bigger fan of Star Wars than I was, and she took us to the theaters three times to see the film. Then came the action figures, the t-shirts, the posters, the video games, etc., etc. My kids are also big Star Wars geeks – I raised them right – and hopefully they’ll pass on their Star Wars knowledge to their children.
In the meantime, I am still pining for the day when I can own the Millennium Falcon.