• Return of the Jedi Turns 30 Years Old Today

      May 25th, 1983.

      Exactly 6 years to the day following the release of the original Star Wars film at the Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, Episode VI - Return of the Jedi was released up a block east on the opposite side of the street at the Grauman's Egyptian Theater. Of course, by then, the Star Wars film series was incredibly popular, and after the incredible Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi was hotly anticipated so it opened in a thousand other theaters across the nation as well, and was the number 1 earning film of 1983. Return of the Jedi earned non-adjusted more money than Empire Strikes Back, if you can believe it, and nearly 5 times as much opening weekend take in 8 times as many theaters (although ESB's Special Edition release beat the ROTJ SE by $5 mil opening weekend and $19 mil total).

      Ewok mania gripped the nation after the film's release, kids and adults alike flocked to all manner of collectibles from the little teddy bears, whose style of battle was based on the Viet Cong guerrillas (how cute!). Adults would argue about which Star Wars film they thought was best, often touting ESB over ROTJ, yet they still bought the Ewok stuffed characters by the armful.

      Star Wars collecting had since hit its stride with years of action figures, model kits, Burger King collector glasses, and so on from the first 2 films. But early promotional materials with the film's early title "Revenge of the Jedi" had become a commodity and even created a cottage industry - illegally printing unlicensed "Revenge" products to cash in on the collectibility of product with that name.

      14 years later, ROTJ's Special Edition release opening night on March 14th, 1997 created another collector moment when theaters received cases of a free give-away Hasbro Power of the Force 2 Luke Skywalker Jedi Knight action figure on promotional card that showed the film's original week-earlier release date. Kids were given the figures and opened them right in the lobbies, while collectors scrambled to find times and theaters that had the limited giveaway figure.

      Return of the Jedi went on to garner 4 Academy Award nominations, and earn $475 million worldwide, making it the current #38 domestic box office earner, #15 adjusted.

      So, on its 30th anniversary, what are your Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi memories?
      Buy the hottest collectibles from: BigBadToyStore.com and BriansToys.com.

      Comments 5 Comments
      1. JediTricks's Avatar
        JediTricks -
        I still remember that hot day in May waiting in line at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, my grandmother took me and the line was out the courtyard onto the street for a mid-day showing. At 7 years old, ROTJ was pretty much everything I could have wanted after the sad ending of ESB, and I came out of the theater re-enacting Luke's saber catch over the Dune Sea.
      1. Lord Malakite's Avatar
        Lord Malakite -
        Although I was around at the time I have no Return of the Jedi memories to speak of on that faithful day. I was only 7 months old. The only thing I can say with almost certainty is I likely messed my pants on that day.
      1. bigbarada's Avatar
        bigbarada -
        Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
        Probably would be a good idea. I'll see it eventually. I've seen some of the toys, and I love those "baby Wookiees" that appear. Crossing my fingers that Boba Fett leads all the other bounty hunters into battle. I just hope Yoda doesn't die.

        Then I guess I shouldn't spoil the movie by telling you that Luke and Leia totally hook up and she dumps Han for good.... oops...
      1. Bel-Cam Jos's Avatar
        Bel-Cam Jos -
        SPOLEIERS ZALERT: Well, Vader turns out NOT to be Luke's father, but interestingly he IS Leia's. Jabba the Hut is still a green alien, like in the Marvel Comic. Han tells Lando for some reason that he didn't kill his wife; Lando says "I don't care." Threepio and Artoo turn into the Death Star and make an amazing drink out of Greedo's carcass. It ends on such a down note. I mean, that's what life is, a series of down endings. All Jedi had was a bunch of Fraggle Rock puppets.
      1. JediTricks's Avatar
        JediTricks -
        Oops, looks like I accidentally goofed the comments out of the article, they're still in the forums though:


        Sorry about that, new comments will show up in both.
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