in70mm.com
Home
Sign up for e-news
Now Showing in 70mm
Rumour Mill
Short stories
Table of Content
Seach page
Updates
In foreign language
Auf Deutsch

in70mm News
2013 | 2012 | 2011
2010 | 2009 | 2008
2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004 | 2003 | 2002
2001 | 2000 | 1999
1998

The 70mm Newsletter
2005 | 2004 | 2002
2001 | 2000 | 1999
1998 | 1997 | 1996
1995 | 1994
The Magazine
Writers

Departments
65/70mm Workshop
70mm and Cinerama
70mm Projectors
DP70 Projector
Rama
Cinerama Remaster
Library
"The Master"

Large Format Process

Todd-AO
Cinerama
Cinemiracle
Super Panavision 70
SENSURROUND
70mm Blow-up
70mm Engagements

People
Interview & People
The End

70mm Film Festivals
Todd-AO Festival
Widescreen Weekend
Widescreen Academy
More 70mm Festivals

About in70mm.com
Disclaimer
Testimonials
Contact | Staff
Resources
Friends & Sponsors

 

 
eXTReMe Tracker
Visit biografmuseet.dk about Danish cinemas
(in Danish)

 

Remembering "Return of the Jedi"

Read more at
in70mm.com
The 70mm Newsletter
Written and compiled by: Michael CoateDate: 01.11.2008
"Return of the Jedi" playing at San Francisco's Coronet theatre. Image from a Japanese program booklet supplied by Mike Coate

Twenty-five years ago, “Return of the Jedi” was released to movie theatres. Generally regarded as inferior to the two “Star Wars” episodes that preceded it, the movie was the biggest boxoffice hit of 1983 and is remembered as a fantastic moviegoing experience, especially by those who ditched school to see it on opening day!

CAST:
Luke Skywalker – Mark Hamill
Han Solo – Harrison Ford
Princess Leia – Carrie Fisher
Lando Calrissian – Billy Dee Williams
C-3PO – Anthony Daniels
R2-D2 – Kenny Baker
Chewbacca – Peter Mayhew
Yoda – Frank Oz
Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi – Alec Guiness
Ian McDiarmid – The Emperor
Darth Vader – David Prowse
Voice of Darth Vader – James Earl Jones
Anakin Skywalker – Sebastian Shaw

DIRECTOR: Richard Marquand

SCREENPLAY: Lawrence Kasdan & George Lucas (Screenplay), George Lucas (Story)

RELEASE DATE: Wednesday, 25 May 1983

PROMOTIONAL SLOGAN: “The Saga Continues”

PRODUCTION COST: $32.5 million

OPENING-WEEK BOOKINGS: 1,002

OPENING-DAY BOXOFFICE GROSS: $6.2 million

OPENING-WEEKEND BOXOFFICE GROSS: $41.1 million

BOXOFFICE GROSS AT CLOSE OF NORTH AMERICAN RUN: $252.6 million

RANK ON TOP-GROSSING FILMS OF 1983: 1

RANK ON ALL-TIME BOXOFFICE LIST AT CLOSE OF RUN: 3
 
More in 70mm reading:

25th Anniversary of "Brainstorm"'s 1983 Release

The Original First-Week Engagements Of “Star Wars”

Internet link:

 

Memorable Quotes

 
“Young fool…only now, at the end, do you understand.” — The Emperor

“When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not, hmm?” — Yoda

“This bounty hunter is my kind of scum…fearless and inventive.” — Jabba the Hutt

“You’re a feisty little one, but you’ll soon learn some respect.” — EV-9D9

“Special effects don’t make the movie, and they are only important to tell the story and to give the characters credibility. If the characters are not there or the acting isn’t good, the movie will fall apart. It can’t sustain itself. People think these are special-effects movies. I would say the effects contribute maybe 15 to 20 percent to the enjoyability, effectiveness, and popularity of the movie—at the most.” — George Lucas

“This is the biggest release of a movie in 70mm ever.” — Producer Howard Kazanjian

“George Lucas is in the mold of Louis B. Mayer, Jack Warner, Adolph Zukor, Darryl F. Zanuck, the great pioneers of the industry. He’s absolutely one of them. No one tells George Lucas what to do or how to do it. He is the epitome of America and the free mind working, and we’re getting better entertainment for it.” — Albert Szabo, Manager, GCC Avco Center Cinema, Los Angeles
 
 

What the critics said

 
“An exciting, technically astounding wrap-up to the ‘Star Wars’ trilogy. The probability of success is about as definite as death and taxes.” — Jimmy Summers, Boxoffice

“With ‘Jedi’, George Lucas may have pulled off the first triple crown of motion pictures.” — Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times

“‘Return of the Jedi’ doesn’t really end the trilogy as much as it brings it to a dead stop. The film is by far the dimmest of the lot. Let’s face it, Luke, the magic’s gone.” — Vincent Canby, The New York Times

“Third installment in the ‘Star Wars’ saga is a sheer delight. Some routine performances are compensated for by ingenious new characters and special effects.” — Leonard Maltin, Entertainment Tonight

“From the moment that the familiar ‘Star Wars’ introduction words begin to crawl up the screen, ‘Return of the Jedi’ is a childlike delight. It’s the best video game around. And for the professional moviegoers, it is particularly enjoyable to watch every facet of filmmaking at its best.” — Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune

“‘Return of the Jedi’ is a triumph of movie wizardry; a snappy, dazzling celluloid comic book, capturing our emotions between its magical pages and holding them within a prison of wonderment. It’s a virtual toy box of dreams and surprises for children and adults of all ages.” — Steve White, The Worcester Telegram

“John Williams’ music consists almost entirely of themes and variations on themes he composed for the two earlier movies. This, unfortunately, will be a complaint that many people will make against ‘Return of the Jedi’. They will feel that they have seen and heard it all before.” — Scott Cain, The Atlanta Constitution

“If a producer wants backing for a new project, there’d better be a video game in it. Producers are putting so much action and so little character or point into their movies that there’s nothing for a viewer to latch on to. The battle between good and evil, which is the theme of just about every big fantasy adventure film, has become a flabby excuse for a lot of dumb tricks and noise.” — Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

“The ‘Star Wars’ films have a mystic allure. They are clearly designed to appeal to the best in all of us and to exemplify universally admirable virtues—courage, the strength to fight against evil, romance, belief. They are built around the notion of a magic force in the universe which might be God or might be gravity; this force, in turn, is serviced by a knights’ order that is almost a clergy. The entire cosmology is rent by a titanic conflict between good and evil.” — Stephen Hunter, The (Baltimore) Sun
 

Awards

 
Visual Effects (Special Achievement Oscar), Best Actor (Mark Hamill, Saturn), Best Costumes (Saturn), Best Make-Up (Saturn), Best Science-Fiction Film (Saturn), Best Special Effects (Saturn), Best Special Visual Effects (BAFTA), Best Dramatic Presentation (Hugo), Favorite Motion Picture (People’s Choice Award). The film was nominated for Oscars in the categories of Art Direction, Original Score, Sound, and Sound Effects Editing. John Williams’ original score was also nominated for a Grammy.
 
 

Release Dates

 
25.05.1983 … Canada
25.05.1983 … United States
01.06.1983 … Singapore
02.06.1983 … United Kingdom
01.07.1983 … Hong Kong
02.07.1983 … Japan
07.07.1983 … Puerto Rico
08.07.1983 … Israel
19.08.1983 … Finland
28.09.1983 … Thailand
30.09.1983 … Denmark
30.09.1983 … Sweden
06.10.1983 … Brazil
13.10.1983 … Netherlands
19.10.1983 … France
20.10.1983 … Spain
21.10.1983 … Italy
27.10.1983 … Australia
24.11.1983 … Colombia
08.12.1983 … Argentina
09.12.1983 … West Germany
16.12.1983 … Mexico
 
 

Trivia, Tidbits & Factoids

 
Original title: “Revenge of the Jedi”. The title was changed a few months before release. Trailers, posters and other promotional material with the original title had been issued prior to the title change, instantly turning such items into collectibles.

“Blue Harvest” was the production title used during location filming in California. The bogus, intentionally misleading title was used to (1) avoid drawing unnecessary attention, and (2) to deter production vendors from raising their rates to capitalize on a big-budget, high-profile production.

The pilots of the Imperial AT-ST Walker were played by director Richard Marquand and co-producer Robert Watts.

Among Jabba the Hutt’s henchmen were characters named Klaatu, Barada and Nikto, a nod to the 1951 science-fiction classic “The Day the Earth Stood Still”.

At the time of its 1983 release, “Return of the Jedi” had the largest order of 70-millimeter prints struck for a North American film release, eclipsing the record set three years earlier by “The Empire Strikes Back”.

The Imperial soldier that commanded Han and the rebels to “Freeze!” during the Endor bunker scene was played by sound designer Ben Burtt. During his fall after being struck by Han, he gives a “Wilhelm”-style scream as a tribute to a famous sound effect.

A music video was produced for the musical number “Lapti Nek” performed by Jabba the Hutt’s palace band. The video was broadcast during summer 1983 on music video channels such as MTV.

For “Return of the Jedi”, two making-of documentaries were created. (“Star Wars” and “Empire” each had a single making-of documentary.) “Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi” was first broadcast on CBS on 21 November 1983. “From Star Wars to Jedi: The Making of a Saga” was first broadcast on PBS on 03 December 1983.

“Celebrate the love” is the English lyric featured in the Ewokese victory celebration song. (This music was replaced in the Special Edition with a new composition.)

The THX Sound System and Theatre Alignment Program (TAP) were introduced in conjunction with the release of “Return of the Jedi”.

A print of the film (a 70mm print valued at $10,000) was stolen at gunpoint from the GLENWOOD Theatre in Overland Park, Kansas. The CENTRE Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah experienced some weather-related damage, prompting its 70mm “Jedi” engagement to be relocated for a two-week period to the REGENCY. An engagement at the CONTINENTAL Theatre in Denver, Colorado was terminated following damage from a fire.

In North America, “Return of the Jedi” was re-issued on 29 March 1985. On 28 March, the day before its re-issue, nine cinemas in eight markets showed for charity a “Star Wars” triple feature. The eight markets chosen for the one-day-only 70mm event were Chicago (CARNEGIE), Dallas (NORTHPARK), Denver (CONTINENTAL), Los Angeles (AVCO & EGYPTIAN), New York (WARNER TWIN), San Francisco (CORONET), Seattle (CINEMA 150), and Toronto (UPTOWN). “Jedi” was also re-issued as a Special Edition on 14 March 1997.

In the United States, “Return of the Jedi” was released to the home video market in February 1986, thirty-three months after its theatrical release. (A six-month window was the industry norm at the time.)
 
 

The 70mm Engagements

 
The following is a list of the 70mm Six-Track Stereophonic Sound presentations during the film’s first-run North American release. These were the best cinemas in which to experience “Return of the Jedi”.

ALASKA
Anchorage – Wometco Lathrop POLAR TWIN

ALBERTA
Calgary – Famous Players PALACE
Edmonton – Famous Players WESTMOUNT

ARIZONA
Phoenix – UA CINEMA 6
Scottsdale – Nace KACHINA
Tucson – Plitt FOOTHILLS
Tucson – TM EL CON 6

BRITISH COLUMBIA
Vancouver – Odeon VOGUE
Victoria – Odeon HAIDA

CALIFORNIA
Campbell – UA PRUNEYARD
Cerritos – UA TWIN
Corte Madera – Marin CINEMA
Costa Mesa – Edwards TOWN CENTER
El Cajon – UA EL CAJON 3
Hayward – UA HAYWARD 5
La Mirada – Pacific LA MIRADA
Long Beach – UA MOVIES
Los Angeles (Hollywood) – UA EGYPTIAN
Los Angeles (North Hollywood) – UA MOVIES
Los Angeles (Westwood) – GCC AVCO CENTER (THX)
Los Angeles (Woodland Hills) – UA WARNER CENTER
Marina del Rey – UA MOVIES
Montclair – UA MOVIES
Monterey – UA CINEMA 70
National City – Pacific SWEETWATER 6
Newport Beach – Edwards NEWPORT
Oakland – Cinerama PIEDMONT
Orange – Syufy CINEDOME 6
Palm Springs – Metropolitan CAMELOT
Pleasant Hill – Syufy CENTURY COMPLEX
Redwood City – UA REDWOOD 6
Riverside – UA TYLER MALL CINEMA 4
Sacramento – UA ARDEN FAIR 6
San Diego – Pacific LA JOLLA VILLAGE
San Diego – UA GLASSHOUSE 6
San Francisco – UA CORONET
Santa Barbara – Metropolitan ARLINGTON
Santa Clara – UA CINEMA 150
Thousand Oaks – UA MOVIES
Westminster – UA TWIN

COLORADO
Colorado Springs – Commonwealth COOPER
Denver – Commonwealth CONTINENTAL
Denver – Commonwealth COOPER

CONNECTICUT
East Hartford – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS
Orange – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS
Stamford – Trans-Lux RIDGEWAY

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Washington – Circle MacARTHUR
Washington – GCC JENNIFER

FLORIDA
Miami Beach – Wometco BYRON CARLYLE
North Miami Beach – Wometco 163RD STREET
Orlando – GCC FASHION SQUARE
South Miami – Wometco DADELAND
Winter Park – Wometco WINTER PARK TRIPLE

GEORGIA
Atlanta – Plitt PHIPPS PLAZA

HAWAII
Honolulu – Consolidated CINERAMA (opened 24 June)

ILLINOIS
Belleville – BAC CINEMA
Calumet City – Plitt RIVER OAKS
Chicago – GCC FORD CITY
Chicago – Plitt ESQUIRE
Chicago – Plitt STATE-LAKE
Forest Park – Essaness FOREST PARK MALL
Lombard – GCC YORKTOWN
Moline – Showcase PARKWAY
Niles – Essaness GOLF MILL
Northbrook – Center EDENS
Schaumburg – Plitt WOODFIELD
Tinley Park – Essaness BREMEN
 
 
Newspaper advert from The Milwaukee Journal

INDIANA
Fort Wayne – Mallers-Spirou HOLIDAY
Indianapolis – Y&W EASTWOOD

IOWA
Des Moines – Dubinsky RIVER HILLS
Dubuque – Dubuque CINEMA CENTER

KANSAS
Overland Park – Dickinson GLENWOOD
Wichita – Commonwealth TWIN LAKES
Wichita – Dickinson MALL

KENTUCKY
Florence – Mid States FLORENCE
Louisville – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS

LOUISIANA
Metarie – GCC LAKESIDE

MANITOBA
Winnipeg – Odeon GRANT PARK

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston – Sack CHARLES
Chestnut Hill – GCC CHESTNUT HILL
Seekonk – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS
West Springfield – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS

MICHIGAN
Dearborn – UA THE MOVIES AT FAIRLANE
Flint – Butterfield FLINT
Livonia – Nicholas George MAI KAI
Southfield wauke– Nicholas George AMERICANA
Southgate – Nicholas George SOUTHGATE
Troy – UA THE MOVIES AT OAKLAND

MINNESOTA
Bloomington – GCC SOUTHTOWN
Minneapolis – Plitt SKYWAY 4
Minnetonka – Plitt RIDGE SQUARE
Roseville – GCC HAR-MAR
West St. Paul – Engler SIGNAL HILLS 4

MISSOURI
Hazelwood – Mid-America VILLAGE
Kansas City – Commonwealth BANNISTER MALL
Kansas City – Mid-America BLUE RIDGE EAST
Richmond Heights – Mid-America ESQUIRE

NEBRASKA
Omaha – Commonwealth INDIAN HILLS
Omaha – Douglas Q CINEMA 6

NEVADA
Las Vegas – Syufy CINEDOME 6
Reno – Syufy CENTURY COMPLEX

NEW JERSEY
Edison – GCC MENLO PARK TWIN
Lawrenceville – SamEric TWIN LAWRENCEVILLE
Moorestown – SamEric PLAZA MOORESTOWN
Paramus – RKO Century ROUTE 4 SEVENPLEX
Sayreville – Redstone AMBOY MULTIPLEX CINEMAS

NEW MEXICO
Albuquerque – GCC LOUISIANA BLVD.

NEW YORK
Colonie – RKO Century FOX COLONIE
East Meadow – UA MEADOWBROOK QUAD
Garden City – RKO Century ROOSEVELT FIELD TWIN
Hicksville – RKO Century TWIN SOUTH
New York (Brooklyn) – RKO Century KINGSWAY QUAD
New York (Manhattan) – Loews 34TH STREET SHOWPLACE
New York (Manhattan) – Loews ASTOR PLAZA
New York (Manhattan) – Loews ORPHEUM
Pittsford – Loews PITTSFORD 3
Valley Stream – Redstone SUNRISE MULTIPLEX CINEMAS

NORTH CAROLINA
Charlotte – Plitt PARK TERRACE
Winston-Salem – Plitt THRUWAY

NOVA SCOTIA
Halifax – Famous Players SCOTIA SQUARE

OHIO
Beavercreek – Mid States BEAVER VALLEY
Dayton – Chakeres DAYTON MALL CINEMAS
Springdale – Mid States TRI-COUNTY
Toledo – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS

OREGON
Beaverton – Luxury WESTGATE
Gresham – Moyer ROSE MOYER

ONTARIO
Hamilton – Famous Players TIVOLI
London – Famous Players PARK
Ottawa – Odeon SOMERSET
Richmond Hill – Famous Players TOWN & COUNTRYE
Toronto – Famous Players CEDARBRAE
Toronto – Famous Players CUMBERLAND
Toronto – Famous Players RUNNYMEDE
Toronto – Famous Players UNIVERSITY

PENNSYLVANIA
Allentown – SamEric ALLENTOWN 5
Easton – SamEric EASTON 4
Harrisburg – SamEric TWIN EAST PARK CENTER
Monroeville – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS EAST
Montgomeryville – SamEric 3 MONTGOMERYVILLE
Philadelphia – SAMERIC 3
Robinson – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS WEST

QUEBEC
Montreal – United CLAREMONT (opened 27 May)
Montreal – United IMPERIAL
Montreal – United PARISIEN (opened 22 June, “Version Francaise”)
Quebec City – United CANADIEN

RHODE ISLAND
Warwick – Redstone SHOWCASE CINEMAS
 
 
TENNESSEE
Nashville – Martin BELLE MEADE

TEXAS
Addison – UA PRESTONWOOD CREEK 5 (THX)
Austin – GCC HIGHLAND MALL
Dallas – GCC NORTHPARK I & II (THX)
Fort Worth – UA HULEN 6
Houston – GCC MEYERLAND PLAZA
San Antonio – Santikos NORTHWEST

Newspaper advert from The Salt Lake Tribune

UTAH
Riverdale – Tullis-Hansen CINEDOME 70
Salt Lake City – Plitt CENTRE
Salt Lake City – Plitt REGENCY (temporary moveover from CENTRE, 3-16 June)
Salt Lake City – Syufy CENTURY 5

VIRGINIA
Springfield – GCC SPRINGFIELD MALL 6

WASHINGTON
Seattle – UA CINEMA 150

WISCONSIN
Milwaukee – UA SOUTHGATE
Wauwatosa – UA MAYFAIR
West Allis – Marcus SOUTHTOWN


Sources/References: Numerous newspaper articles, reviews and advertisements; and Bantha Tracks; Boxofficemojo; The Hollywood Reporter, Internet Movie Database; “The Making of Return of the Jedi” (Ballantine, 1983); “Return of the Jedi” (1983, 1997, Lucasfilm Ltd./20th Century Fox); Time Magazine; Variety.

Canadian engagement details contributed by Bill Kretzel.

Special thanks to Paul Bubny, Miguel Carrara, Jonathan Crist, Bill Kretzel, Mark Lensenmayer, Jim Perry, and the librarians who contributed to this project.
 
 
 
The author and R2-D2 circa 1987. Photo by Jim Cartwright.

Copyright 2008 Michael S. Coate

Michael Coate is a journalist and film historian. He has contributed to American Cinematographer, Boxoffice, Replication News, Sight & Sound, Widescreen Review, and the websites CinemaTreasures.org, FromScriptToDVD.com and In70mm.com. He was Widescreen Review magazine’s Research Editor from 1997 to 2004. In 2004, he co-founded FromScriptToDVD.com, and in 2008 formed Fans of Showmanship, a Yahoo! Group focusing on the discussion of film history.

Attending Major League Baseball games across the USA is Mike’s hobby when he’s not haunting libraries around the globe looking to unearth useful facts about film history. He is a graduate of the Radio-Television-Film program at California State University Long Beach and resides in Los Angeles.
 
 
  
Go: back - top - back issues - news index
Updated 17-07-13