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?