It’s May 4th and this is the day that we celebrate Star Wars. The original film released in 1977 is by far the most important film of our generation. From the first film and the two sequels, and for all the toys, t-shirts, lunch boxes, and posters we purchased, there was never another film franchise in the Gen X era that came close to it in terms of profit or influence.
Here’s how some of us first found out about a new movie called Star Wars that would be hitting theaters soon. This is the original TV spot that aired in 1977.
On May 25, 1977, Star Wars was released in less than forty theaters and Hollywood has never been the same since.
Two Years before Star Wars, Jaws premiered and became the first summer blockbuster film, and it also became the highest-grossing movie of all time. Within six months after the opening of Star Wars and after going into wide release, the filmreplaced Jaws as the biggest box office hit of all time and kept that title until E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial came out in 1983.
When you add up the box office results of 1977 and the money made from all of the times it has been re-released in theaters, the total amount the film brought in is over 775 million. When you adjust for inflation, the total amount is 2.5 billion. That amount makes it the fourth highest grossing film of all time on the adjusted for inflation list. In North America only, it’s number two behind Gone with the Wind.
When you talk about the impact of the film from 1977, you have to include the ten other Star Wars movies made afterward that have collectively brought in over 9 billion at the box office. This amount has earned the #2 slot on the highest grossing film franchise list. The #1 series is the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
There are several other ways that this film had a huge impact on Hollywood, the world and Generation X: The film ushered in a renewed interest in Science Fiction. Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and the comedy Quark all premiered on network TV in the late seventies. Merchandising and corporate tie ins went to the next level after the huge success of the film. The Hollywood Reporter estimated by 2012 that the film franchise has made 20 billion from toy sales as compared to only 3 billion at the box office at the time. The film’s success also showed Hollywood that there was value in movies aimed at the entire family. One look at the list of top ten movies of the eighties in comparison to the top ten in the seventies will back up that statement.
Generation X has to share Star Wars with Generation Jones, who were those born in the late fifties and in the first half of the sixties. For the purpose of this blog, we consider the Gen X era the second half of the seventies ( when the first wave of Gen X started to have awareness of the culture around them) on to the first half of the nineties, so that makes Star Wars our first blockbuster. What a way for an era to begin!!!!!!