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May 2006

How 'Star Wars' Surprised the World

In the late 1970s most movie theater owners simply weren’t interested in a movie set in space. The last truly successful science-fiction film had been 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey; more recent fare, such as the ecological fable Silent Running (1972), had bombed. So on May 25, 1977 Star Wars opened on just 32 screens nationwide.