A creative trailer was made in 1997 to promote the return of the original Star Wars trilogy to theaters, and it all started with a clip from the first film playing on a little TV. “For an entire generation,” a resounding announcer’s voice shouts, “people have experienced Star Wars the only way it’s been possible: through the TV screen.” The announcer pauses for effect before declaring, “But if you’ve only seen it this way, you haven’t seen it at all.” The on-screen television immediately blows up, and the vast, empty spaces are filled with scenes from the first Star Wars film to the accompaniment of a similarly violent score.
This iconic advertisement successfully hammered home the notion that you can only watch Star Wars in a cinema theater. Years and improvements in home video have kept these films best seen in a theater. Audiences at large agree, as seen by the phenomenal success of the recent theatrical rerelease of Return of the Jedi in celebration of the film’s 40th anniversary. With box office receipts this high, it should be possible to fund the release of the last two films in the original Star Wars trilogy.
The ‘Star Wars franchise has seen much success with rereleases
In the entertainment industry, money talks louder than words. In this regard, Mouse House management should have the potential benefits of rereleasing Star Wars films in theaters ringing in their ears. Moviegoers have flocked to theaters in droves every time Star Wars films have been shown in their entirety.
One need only go back to 1997 when the original Star Wars trilogy was rereleased in theaters to generate buzz for The Phantom Menace. Even though these movies were decades old when the 1990s got around, they did quite well at the box office. In fact, until Cloverfield in 2008, the reissue of A New Hope in 1997 held the record for the largest opening weekend in January. The rereleases of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi the same year also did very well at the box office, adding to the film’s enduring popularity.
Returning to cinemas usually results in a profit for even the worst Star Wars films. In 2012, cinemas showed The Phantom Menace again in digital 3D. This happened before the Prequel Trilogy received the wave of positive attention it has received in recent years. The Phantom Menace’s bad reputation persisted into the next decade. Over $22 million worth of domestic moviegoers saw this reissue on its debut weekend in February 2012, despite jokes about midichlorians. It’s hardly surprising that a far more adored film like Return of the Jedi would be a moneymaker in 2023 if The Phantom Menace could generate that much money in 2012.
People must be reminded of how important ‘Star Wars’ is on the big screen
Releasing older Star Wars films to theaters again is a lucrative venture. However, there are other pressing considerations based on the present that demand the rerelease of classic science fiction works. In particular, reminding fans that Star Wars is a property that belongs on the big screen would be accomplished by showing classics like A New Hope once again in theaters around the country. Even in the current year of 2017, such an idea would have been considered obvious. However, the streaming entertainment industry has made it more difficult for the general public to accept this fact.
Currently, Disney+ routinely releases pricey new Star Wars television programs. These shows, which span many eras of this franchise’s existence, bring to television the thrills and visual splendor formerly reserved for the big screen. Now that The Mandalorian and Andor have become cultural touchstones, it would be good to return to the filmic roots of the Star Wars universe. After all, Disney has big plans to release a spate of Star Wars films in theaters very soon. It wouldn’t hurt to reinforce the significance of Star Wars on the big screen before the next chapter of this saga’s theatrical history begins, much as the 1997 reissues did to pave the way for the prequels.
The social experience of seeing these films on a big screen makes them come alive. These epic tales call for an equally grand stage to be experienced. It doesn’t get any better than sharing an emotional experience with fellow fans at a movie theater as you see newbies to the Star Wars saga discover the brand’s charm. The beauty of Star Wars is how it can bring individuals from all walks of life together, even though poisonous fanbases online might disagree. When these vintage Star Wars elements are shown and watched in a theater setting, the magnitude of this achievement becomes readily apparent.
It’s High Time for New ‘Star WarsWars Films to Hit Theaters
Even with the success of Return of the Jedi at the box office, it’s still being determined if there will be any more Star Wars rereleases. Ask 20th Century Fox; Disney is small on rereleasing old movies at will. It’s also hard to say whether or not other older Star Wars films will do well commercially without a huge anniversary. The 40th-anniversary celebration added a lot of gravitas to the release of Return of the Jedi.
Even if such proposals aren’t already on the table, they must be. The original Star Wars films have a long history of being reissued to theaters with great success, further solidifying their place in pop culture. In addition, Disney/Lucasfilm’s future efforts to reinstate regular new theatrical Star Wars movies might benefit from highlighting the importance of seeing Star Wars on the big screen. Even though Return of the Jedi brought the Star Wars narrative to a close for 16 years, it should catalyze a revival of the original trilogy on the big screen.