There’s really no moviegoing experience like seeing a new “Star Wars” the weekend it premieres.
Whether it’s on opening night (like our exclusive GCFC event for “The Last Jedi”), or a Sunday matinee, there’s nothing like settling into a theater packed with like-minded fans as the lights go down, those trumpets sing and that familiar yellow text scrolls up the silver screen.
It all started as an indie movie no studio wanted to make. George Lucas was told time and again that no one wanted science fiction or fantasy in the age of the auteur director. They wanted the next “Godfather,” not a new “Flash Gordon.” Disney even passed on it, once upon a time. But Lucas persisted and signed a deal with 20th Century Fox, who wanted nothing more than to be in the George Lucas business after his hit film “American Graffiti.”
What followed was the telling of a story, and the birth of a cultural phenomenon, rivaled only by the Bible and Shakespeare in its worldwide reach.
My first experience seeing “Star Wars” was in high school when “The Phantom Menace” came out. My mother, knowing how much I wanted to go on opening night, stood in line in the cold spring air to secure tickets for me and my friends (and got herself bronchitis in the process…love you, Mom).
Opening night came, and I was out of my mind. It wasn’t an everyday occurrence to stay up this late on a school night, but I wasn’t anywhere near tired. We headed for the theater at around 10pm and there they were: the faithful from a galaxy far, far away lined up in full costume, lightsabers clashing all around us. As midnight struck and it was finally time for the movie, chills ran through my body as the familiar 20th Century Fox fanfare was met with a loud cheer from all corners of the darkened room.
It’s rare to hear a full cheer in a movie theater, but you’ll hear it in every one of them playing “Star Wars” this weekend.
Make sure to take it all in. Experiences like this don’t come around every day.
May the Force be with you all.