On May 25, 1977, a pop culture phenomenon was born. After months of hype, a movie called Star Wars hit theaters. But what was it really like seeing the film back in 1977? We've gathered accounts from filmmakers, journalists, and fans to take us back to a galaxy far, far away.
While it took a week or two for Star Wars fever to fully catch on nationwide, it was an overnight sensation in California. The film premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, where it became completely normal to see lines of fans camped outside the moviehouse.
Actress Carrie Fisher told Time magazine…
"It wasn't like a movie opening, it was like an earthquake."
The Chinese Theatre was at the epicenter of that earthquake, and thousands of fans were drawn to it every day. Speaking to CNN, Star Wars fan Chris Balduc recalled traveling from the San Fernando Valley to Hollywood to see the movie on May 26th, just one day after the film opened.
"The long line wound down the street from Grauman's Chinese Theatre and around the block. News helicopters hovered in the air above the crowd. Star Wars was the first film to earn a reputation as a party movie — the fans brought costumes, beach balls, folding chairs for the line, and an almost palatable anticipation. [...] There was no better place to see it than Grauman's Chinese in its pre-multiplex days."
On advice from 20th Century Fox, the owners of the famous theater only booked Star Wars for a two-week run. When a scheduling conflict meant they couldn't show the hit film after that, they resorted to desperate measures and refurbished an old cinema.
Larry Gleason, former president of Mann Theatres, told The Hollywood Reporter...
"We moved Star Wars there, where it played for two weeks before coming back to the Chinese."
Watch the video for more about What It Was Really Like To See Star Wars In 1977!
#StarWars #Movies #LukeSkywalker
A long time ago...in California | 0:00
Playing hookie for some Wookiee | 1:43
A movie for all ages | 3:11
How many times? | 4:31
A whole new universe | 5:55
Worth the drive | 7:14
The film America needed | 8:36
Not everyone loved Star Wars | 10:17
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