Since 1977, George Lucas’ Star Wars saga has raked in billions of revenue and merchandising profit. There’s really no stopping to it, with an ongoing onslaught of video games, the Clone Wars cartoon series, 3D re-releases, and an upcoming comedy series titled Star Wars Detours. The brand Star Wars is as big as never before, and it’s a never-ending franchise.
In February 2012, the chronological first part of the saga — the little-loved Episode I — was re-released in 3D. There’s no doubt about it: I’m a huge fan and have seen each film a dozen times. You can play any part of the soundtracks, and I’ll be able to name you its exact scene. So, even if it meant coping with seeing Jar Jar Binks, I had to see Star Wars on the silver screen again. It’s just not the same to watch it at home on Blu-ray, even though it’s the best experience outside of the cinema.
The 3D version earned a worldwide total of $102.7 million, which isn’t stellar, but not bad for a film that so many dislike for its childishness. Yet my own experience wasn’t the best. I’m not one to dislike 3D. In the case of Avatar, it was a truly exceptional and wonderful experience that I enjoyed twice in cinema. However, Episode I was not all inspiring as a 3D presentation, with a too dark and often blurry picture. There wasn’t any sharpness to the image, however, I blame that mostly on the cinema’s equipment. But beyond badly calibrated projectors, the 3D effect was quite flat, overall. There was no sense of immersion like I expect from 3D films.
On September 20th and October 11th, 2013, respectively, Episode II and III will be released back-to-back. This news excites me, because Episode III is well-worth another visit to the cinema. What’s even better is that it means we’ll be able to marvel at Episode IV in 3D very soon, which is the film that kindled the whole Jedimania. Over 30 years, this fascination with Lucas’ blend of sci-fi and mythology has spread like a bushfire across the world.
When Star Wars was released on Blu-ray for the first time, it broke all sales records. On September 22, 2011, just one week after launch, it had topped $84 million in worldwide sales. That’s one million units sold of the complete saga package. Probably many more have been sold since. “Once again, our fan’s enthusiasm to celebrate Stars Wars continues to amaze us,” said Kayleen Walters, senior director of marketing at Lucasfilm. “Our goal was to deliver a premium product that they could enjoy with their family and friends, and we are thrilled that they are enjoying it as much as we hoped they would.”
I predict great success for the 3D retrofit of the original trilogy, which will likely be released by 2015, but an official announcement is to be expected after the release of Episode III. It also depends on the box office performance of those films.
Are you a fan of Star Wars? Of 3D? What are your thoughts?
Image from Lucasfilm