Vespon: After reading SuperShadow's reaction to the new release date and high quality, limited release for the prequel, I think Shadow has over-reacted. The reason George is opting for a quality release as opposed to a mega-wide release has its roots way back in 1977. In 1977, when Star Wars came out, George was disgusted with the lack of quality of presentation at some of the theaters. Some audiences were unable to see and hear the full spectacle of Star Wars because of low-quality sound or the fact that some guy running the projector didn't know what he was doing. It was sort of like looking at the Mona Lisa through dirty water or listening to your favorite CD with low-quality speakers. The artist's vision cannot be fully appreciated.
Unlike 1977, George is going to make sure that with the prequel we get the finest film presentation in the history of cinema. The theaters that get a copy of the prequel film will be hand picked for quality of presentation. Lucasfilm has spent many years preparing the prequel for theatrical release. It's not about money. George has plenty of that. He wants the presentation at the theaters to do the prequel justice. The fans would and should be upset if they do not get to see the prequel in the way that George intended for it to be seen. The fans have waited too long for the prequel for it to be ruined by a poor sound or visual presentation.
George would love to open the film in tons and tons of theaters. However, the problem is that there are not enough high-quality digital theaters for this type of release to even be attempted. Maybe, when Episode II come out there will be enough digital cineplexes to open a Star Wars film in a zillion theaters, but at the present such a wide release is not an option. We owe it to our selves to watch the prequel in the best possible theatrical environment.
Some of you may wonder why George is not going to release the prequel on the 22nd anniversary of the release of Star Wars: May 25, 1999. The reason is simple. Since the film will be released in relatively few theaters (2,000 or so) as compared to other blockbuster films, it is important to open the film early so that as many fans as possible will be able to see the film by the end of the Memorial Day Holidays. By opening the film on Fri. May 21, fans get four extras days to watch the film prior to the 22nd anniversary of Star Wars theatrical release on May 25.
Demand will be so high that Fox needs to open the film early in order to meet demand. The prequel is expected to sell out for at least the first week or more of its release, which means from May 21 until the end of the Memorial Day Holiday on Monday, May 31. Hence, while the prequel may not break $ 100 million during its first weekend of release, it will have by far the largest grossing Memorial Day Week of all time. By Monday, May 31, the prequel will have grossed somewhere in the neighborhood of $ 200 million, which would shatter all previous box-office records.
Will you lose any sleep if the prequel fails to earn $ 100 million in its first weekend of release? Does it really matter how big the prequel opens? Titanic earned less than $ 30 million in its initial weekend of release, but will end up earning over $ 600 million in North America. Don't worry about the financial well-being of the film that is what the accounting department at Lucasfilm is paid to worry about.
We need to have faith in George and in the decisions he and his inner circle will make. No one should belly ache if you have to wait a few hours in line to get tickets. How many years have you already been waiting? Will a few hours really make any difference? Isn't that what you have all been waiting for? You only get to see the prequel for the first time ONCE so make it as special as possible in a THX digital theater environment. Only with THX can you optimally hear and see the prequel as George truly intended. The wait is almost over . . .