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1997-1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002+

World Wide Star Wars

If watching the Y2K bug come across different time zones waiting for it to finally get to North America appeals to you, than you probably enjoyed the 1999 theatrical release of The Phantom Menace. The movie releases were scattered across time zones and countries some nearly months apart. What started in May didn't finish until nearly late Fall. Of course, living here in the United States we got the movie first, so little impact was felt personally, but many fans were significantly impacted.

But what about scores of international fans that waited days and even months to finally get there Star Wars fix? Those folks that diligently avoided the spoilers and reviews until the movie finally made it to their country. I can't imagine the feeling of knowing that fans across the globe were getting to see the movie and all I could do was sit there. It'll be the same feeling when Sony releases the Playstation II later this year, and players in Japan get to play all the great games, and all I get to do is download barely viewable Quicktime movies of a pixelated game.

Sure it makes sense. You can stretch out the hype for months, you get lots of magazine covers. You can sell more toys, and have the time to manufacture and ship more later. It makes good business sense, and it's fiscally smart. You manufacture less prints of the movie, yet have the same income because those prints are in circulation longer in the various locations across the globe.

But enough of all that.

Just recently LucasFilm announced that in conjunction with 20th Century Fox, Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace would be the first movie ever to have a simultaneous world-wide video release of the movie. Everyone will have the chance to get their hands on the movie within a one-week period in April 2000. This is an industry first and a welcome addition to the list of achievements that Star Wars has had since it's conception. Now, if we can make more waves releasing the next prequel globally I would be impressed. Perhaps the digital medium and the more global community mindset will enable LucasFilm to do it all on one big day across the globe come May 2002. So folks in Canada to Kalamazoo will get to experience it together, and so that everyone, everywhere can see Star Wars.

Two big thumbs up, guys.

Joshua Griffin
October 10th, 2000

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