May 25, 1977: 20th Century Fox isn’t quite sure what they have on their hands, so Star Wars opens in only 32 theaters nationwide.
May 25, 1977: My college roommate and I are visiting his parents in Reston. We don’t have any plans, so we look in The Post and see a tiny ad for something called Star Wars playing at the Uptown. Word of mouth was so strong by then that we had to wait through a showing, but yes, we saw the original Star Wars on opening day. Since then, I’ve seen every Star Wars movie on opening day.
May 21, 1980: The Empire Strikes Back opens nationally in limited release (only 126 theaters).
May 21, 1980: My girlfriend and I are visiting my parents. We decide to see The Empire Strikes Back at the Springfield Mall. The line wraps around the mall twice! We had to wait almost 6 hours to see the movie, but that was OK - it was a beautiful May day, there was a festive, carnival atmosphere, and the theaters were selling drinks and snacks from pushcarts. Most important? We saw Empire on opening day.
May 25, 1983: The Return of the Jedi opens nationally in 849 theaters.
May 25, 1983: I work in an office building across from the Springfield Mall. We can see the lines forming to see Jedi, so a group of us go to our supervisor and ask for the rest of the day off. He asks if we’re going to see the movie, we say yes, and he says “get out of here.” Not only did we see Jedi on opening day, we saw the first showing on opening day!
32 years later, I already have tickets to see The Force Awakens on opening day. Won’t be seeing the first show, though – screenings start at 8:30 a.m.!
Michael Ream, SONOVA Secretary