|Star Wars mania: Crowds at Mann's Chinese |
Theater in August 1977
There's a famous story about the opening day of Star Wars.
Star Wars mania had started. In both New York and California, people had been queuing to see the film since before the doors opened that morning. House records were being broken everywhere it played. On that first day, the film made $254,309 at thirty-two screens.
It's not hard to see why people would go Star Wars crazy on May 26 or 27, when word had got around that the film was great. But how do we account for the fact that it was breaking records on day one?
While the film was being shot, Lippincott had toured science fiction conventions, displaying models and pictures from the production. The film was promoted through adverts on local television and college newspapers, and even on cable TV in college dorms. The campaign was clearly working, because the Star Wars novel, published in November 1976, had sold half a million copies by February 1977.
One more factor that shouldn't be discounted is that some people had seen the film, including the press. Time had carried a glowing review and teased it on the cover, with the words “Best Film of the Year”, which can't have hurt.
|R2-D2 leaves his prints in the cement |
at Mann's Chinese Theater