Happy 30th anniversary, “Empire Strikes Back”!!!

posted by moviebuff82 on January 6, 2010 at 7:50 pm

30 years ago this year, George Lucas and 20th Century Fox once again joined forces to release “The Empire Strikes Back”, the sequel to the smash hit “Star Wars”. This time, Lucas was in control of his destiny, since he controlled the profits from the movie’s release after the first one provided much needed cash to Fox. The film was at the time one of the largest 70mm releases ever and provided moviegoers with a surprising cliffhanger that was resolved three years later with “Return of the Jedi”, which chronologically is the last “Star Wars” film in the canon.

Comments (18)

markp on January 6, 2010 at 7:57 pm

I remember this well. The long lines day after day, and of course that beautiful 70MM film purring thru those Century JJ2 projectors. THAT was moviegoing, not all this digital 3D crap we have today. Those mag tracks on that 70MM had sound that could go up against any of todays digital sound, and probably beat it out.

JodarMovieFan on January 6, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Um…are we that hungry for celebration and/or news that we couldn’t wait for the actual anniversary in May? Why don’t we celebrate the real 30th anniversary of that great classic Saturn 3 starring the late Farrah Fawcett????? :) ;)

Coate on January 6, 2010 at 9:16 pm

I was thinking the same thing, JodarMovieFan. I have an “Empire” anniversary piece planned for posting here on the 21st of May.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on January 6, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Also don’t forget the 30th Anniversary later this year of : THE SHINING; THE BLUE BROTHERS; FAME; THE ELEPHANT MAN; RAGING BULL. I remember Siskel and Ebert labeling 1980 as the worst year ever for movies. Although I think I’m old enough to admit to everyone that I saw these two movies in 70mm: CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC and THE JAZZ SINGER with Neil Diamond. Alright, stop that laughing!!!

markp on January 7, 2010 at 6:12 am

And I hope you wont mind Micheal Coate, but when you do post your anniversary piece, I will probably post the same comment as I did above. You know why they cant wait to post an anniversary piece?? Because nothing they make today is worthy of an anniversary.

Eric Friedmann
Eric Friedmann on January 7, 2010 at 9:51 am

Would you believe I didn’t see THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK until its re-release in the summer of 1981?? Do you know how devestating that can be to a 13 year-old kid??? My father tried to get tickets a couple of times during the summer of 1980, but the shows were always sold out and he wasn’t the most patient of movie enthusiasts, if you know what I mean. He certainly wasn’t a Star Wars fan, like his sons.

Here are the almost-very-appropriate-middle-school-age movies I do remember seeing in a theater in 1980:

  • THE BLUES BROTHERS (my 3rd R-rated movie ever!)
  • CALIGULA (just kidding!)
  • 9 to 5
CapnRob on January 7, 2010 at 12:14 pm

You left out “the Nude Bomb”

JodarMovieFan on January 7, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Michael, I’m looking forward to your anniversary piece when it is the actual anniversary. I’ll hold off on commenting for now. :)

moviebuff82 on January 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm

that’s the get smart movie. It was made 28 years before Steve Carrell starred in a Get Smart remake. 1980 was also the year when Heaven’s Gate bankrupted UA shortly before MGM took over the studio.

Eric Friedmann
Eric Friedmann on January 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm

1980 – all those horror movies…

bob1007 on January 7, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I saw “Empire” on the BIG screen at Northpark 1 & 2 in Dallas. 1200 seat auditorium with a huge screen, great picture and sound. My sister was assistant manager so she snuck me in through the exit door and I helped sweep the auditorium to get it ready for the next movie and then sat down. I never had to wait in line and I had my choice of seats.

Dublinboyo on January 7, 2010 at 4:41 pm

What made “The Empire Strikes Back” the best of the first trilogy was the script by Lawrence Kasdan. The film has real gravitas and ends on a real down note; Han captured by Boba Fett and on his way to Jabba the Hut; Luke with a severed arm and the hint that Vadar may be his father; the rebel alliance scattered. No happy ending. George Lucas should have left well enough alone. My opinion was that the second trilogy was so bad that it made Stars Wars: “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back” look lke Citizen Kane and Grand Illusion in comparision. I don’t know what to make of “Return of The Jedi” but it was better then any of the second trilogy that’s for sure- even with those Ewoks!

William on January 7, 2010 at 5:27 pm

There was nothing like see “Empire” on the giant curved screen at the UA Egyptian Theatre in 70MM, it kicked the Avco Theatre’s butt in presentation. I saw “Empire”, “Jedi”, “Alien”, “The Rose” at the Egyptian all in 70MM, boy that place could rock.

markp on January 8, 2010 at 5:02 am

As I stated earlier, 70MM and 6-track mag sound, if put up against all of todays digital crap would kick its butt. Why do you think so many people on this forum pine for the return of that format. That was the true movie going expierience.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on January 8, 2010 at 7:51 am

movie534, you should check out the website www.in70mm.com I envy the people of Europe. There seems to be a lot of 70mm fesitvals going on over there. It has always been my dream to put on 70mm screenings here in Chicago, but also to take it on the road. Problem is: no bucks. If I could just meet that one crackpot millionaire out there who loves film and is willing to lose money on such a venture…

CSWalczak on January 8, 2010 at 2:44 pm

I heartily agree with Dublinboyo; I don’t know whether it was ego, the need to exert total creative control or a blind faith in CGI on Lucas’s part that led to those three blah prequels, but I so wish he had had Kasdan back to work on the scripts. I don’t fault Lucas’s vision, but Kasdan’s screenplay for “The Empire Strikes Back” is what, IMHO, made it such a great film, one that I can see over again for its great storytelling and depth of characterization – elements so glaringly missing from from those prequels.

Coate on January 9, 2010 at 12:32 am

I’ve always liked Lawrence Kasdan’s work (especially “Body Heat” and “Silverado”), but I’m not sure he deserves the credit for “Empire’s” greatness. After all, he was one of three writers who worked on the project, essentially polishing what George Lucas and Leigh Brackett had already written.

If you think “Empire” is great — and if you do not wish to give Lucas any credit — then perhaps much of the credit ought to go to director Irvin Kershner, or to the unsung “Star Wars” hero, producer Gary Kurtz. Think about it…Kurtz worked on the two films in the series everyone agrees were great, and he did not work on any of the ones that sucked.

kencmcintyre on January 29, 2010 at 2:28 pm

I think I saw this film at the Boyd in Philadelphia. My memory is a little fuzzy, though. I remember waiting in line with my fraternity brothers.

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