Posted at 5:01 PM ET, 05/23/2005

Sayonara, 'Sith'ers

Kids, it's been a blast hosting this blog for the past couple of weeks. But now that the wait for "Revenge of the Sith" is over, the fans have seen the movie and George Lucas is raking in millions by the minute, I believe my work here is done.

It's been fun hearing from many of you, both via e-mail and in your online comments. If you want to continue discussing "Revenge of the Sith," you can do so through our reader reviews. And for ongoing, entertainment-related blogging excitement, there's always the GoG Blog. That is until I start my next movie project, the "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo" blog. I'm sure there's a community of Rob Schneider lovers just waiting for a forum where they can share "You can do it!" jokes.

Though this blog won't be updated anymore, the link will remain on our "Star Wars" package in case you want to revisit it.

I'd close by saying may the Force be with you, but only a lame-o would do that.

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Posted at 11:08 AM ET, 05/23/2005

'Sith' Shakes Its Money-Maker

I'm sure you've heard this news by now, but "Revenge of the Sith" earned more than a few bucks over the weekend. Total North American box office thus far: $158.5 million. Total global box office estimate: $303.2 million. The sixth and allegedly final "Star Wars" also broke the records for highest two-day, three-day and four-day ticket totals. Needless to say, George Lucas and the execs at 20th Century Fox are probably bathing in cash while lighting cigars with $100 bills.

Strangely, though, overall box office revenue was still down by about 4.4 percent compared with last year. Apparently even the Jedis can't save the movie industry in one weekend.

Now the question is whether "Sith" can hang on to the top spot over the Memorial Day weekend. A number of fans tell me they plan to see the movie again, but I'm not sure if that's enough to overcome the parents-with-kids crowd who will undoubtedly head to "Madagascar."

Speaking of questions, our latest online survey -- which asks "Which of the 'Star Wars' movies is the best?" -- has yielded controversial results. "Revenge of the Sith" is winning right now, with "The Empire Strikes Back" in second and "Return of the Jedi" in a distant third. Come on, people. "Sith" is not better than "Empire." Can anyone say recency effect?

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Posted at 2:58 PM ET, 05/20/2005

Corrections and Cash

First, a correction to my post from yesterday: The Crown Theatres in Annapolis Mall also is showing "Revenge of the Sith" in digital, something I mentioned in an earlier post but completely forgot when I referred to the Multiplex Lee Highway yesterday. My sincere apologies.

In other news, I heard some interesting comments about the movie from readers in today's online discussion. Overall, the reaction to "Sith" is more positive than negative, but some fans definitely have mixed-to-negative feelings about it.

Regardless of fan reaction, Lucas still stands to get significantly richer from "Revenge of the Sith." According to this Reuters article, "Sith" earned a projected $16.5 million from its Wednesday night/Thursday morning midnight screenings alone. The film is expected to easily crack $100 million over the upcoming opening weekend. Expect to see the first estimates (and the gloating from 20th Century Fox) sometime on Sunday.

For those of you wondering how much longer this blog will last (maybe there's one of you out there), I plan to shut it down sometime on Monday. But the memories? They'll last a lifetime.

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Posted at 5:36 PM ET, 05/19/2005

Digital Dirt

Just an FYI: the Multiplex Lee Highway is the only local theater showing "Sith" on a digital projector. So if such techie things are important to you, keep that in mind. Of course, such issues probably don't matter much to "Star Wars" fans. As I understand it, very few of them work in tech support and even fewer know how to use computers. Then again, my source on that could be wrong. I think he's the same guy who said he's "pretty sure" Hayden Christensen and Eva Longoria hooked up.

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Posted at 5:19 PM ET, 05/19/2005

'Revenge' Reactions

I've just come from the Loews Georgetown, where I managed to collect reviews of "Episode III" from a few fans.

Matt Boyle, 28, thought the movie was "pretty good."

"The part where he becomes Darth Vader is worth the price of admission right there," he said, though he added that a lot of the movie is "fairly cheesy."

Brothers Ody and Erik Uy, both of Washington, D.C., were more effusive about "Sith." ("This was like the final piece of the puzzle," Erik explained.) Both said they'd see it again.

But the mother-daughter team of Shaun Murphy and Clare Murphy McGreevey were split. Mom dug it, but Clare didn't. "It didn't really do it for me," she said. "The moment where [Anakin] transforms happened too quickly. It wasn't believable to me."

For more fan reaction, check out our reader reviews. I'll also continue coercing opinions from people who clearly don't want to talk to me at theaters near you. Should I uncover any earth-shattering responses ("This is by far the finest film I've seen since 'House of Wax.'"), I'll report them here.

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Posted at 10:53 AM ET, 05/19/2005

The Uptown Becomes Crazytown

Outside the Uptown Theater last night at around 10 p.m., I thought a fight might break out. I was strolling up and down the long line of fans waiting to see the 12:01 a.m. show when I heard booing and hissing coming from the front of the queue.

"Did they cancel the screening?" I wondered.

No, turned out it was just some guy wearing a Jar Jar Binks mask who bravely walked the line, taking more abuse than Peter Angelos at a Washington Nationals tailgate party.

"Booo! You ruined my life!" one kid yelled. He said some other stuff, but most of it can't be printed on a family newspaper site.

On the whole, though, the Uptown crowd was remarkably pleasant and civil. Aside from the Jar Jar incident, a few light saber duels and a game of Twister that broke out on the concrete outside the Four Ps, nothing too wild happened.

By 10 p.m., the line stretched the length of Connecticut Ave., around the corner and part of the way up Newark Street. (This is why they call 'em blockbusters, people.) I chatted with a few fans, some of whom had stood in line for only a few hours, and one who had been sleeping on the street for eight days.

Jimmy Merrit, 23, from Greenbelt, Md., told me that his career as a stand-up comedian gave him the flexibility to devote himself to the "Star Wars" line for more than a week. Merrit -- who was dressed as Capt. Needa -- said everyone in Cleveland Park had been very nice to the group of campers, bringing them free bagels and other food. The only people who disturbed them: drunks and journalists. (I hear your punchline: What's the difference? Very funny.)

"The only people who would wake us up were the reporters," Merrit said. The Darth devotee became a media superstar yesterday; he estimated that he did 30 interviews. If you see a guy dressed up as Capt. Needa doing bits on "Letterman" someday, you can say you knew him when he was just a dude sleeping on the street in front of the Uptown.

As for line leader Adrienne Maul-Sari, she was (naturally) dressed in full Darth Maul regalia, complete with creepy yellow contact lenses. Thanks to a radio promotion, she got to see "Sith" at 7 p.m. She said she cried throughout much of the movie and was ready to see it again at 12:01. If you hit the Uptown in the next few days you may see Adrienne yourself; she's seeing the movie today at 8:30 a.m., then at 7 p.m., again at 10:30 p.m. and then another time for good measure on Saturday at 7 p.m. Say what you will, she's certainly committed. (I hear your punchline on this one, too: "Sounds like she needs to be committed." Seriously, you guys are pretty funny.)

I'm hoping to hit the Loews Georgetown later today to conduct my patented, fully scientific survey of how fans are reacting to "Revenge of the Sith," otherwise known as harassing moviegoers as they leave the theater. Stay tuned...

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Posted at 2:36 PM ET, 05/18/2005

I Spy Jedis

Here's a fun little game to play while watching "Revenge of the Sith": Where's George Lucas? Apparently, the director makes a cameo appearance in Episode III, but only the sharpest viewers will be able to catch it. That is until one person spots him, posts the info on a "Star Wars" fan site and clues in everyone else. I think this raises yet another possible way to annoy people waiting in line for "Star Wars": Walk up to one of them and say, "I heard the director does a cameo in this movie. That's so cool. I can't wait to see where Alfred Hitchcock turns up."

In the interest of fair play, perhaps the "Star Wars" fans should start a list of comebacks that can be directed at anyone who busts on them for camping out for the movie. A few suggestions:

"Gosh, you're right. We are really lame to be waiting in line for this. If we were smart like you, we'd be on our way home to watch 'Britney & Kevin: Chaotic.'"

"Wait, I'm waiting in line to see 'Sith'? I thought I was waiting in line to see Styx. Great, now I'll never hear 'Mr. Roboto' live."

"Yeah, this Darth Vader suit is really lame. My girlfriend likes me to wear it, though. Did I mention she's, like, super-hot?"

And the always-classic Napoloeon Dynamite response: "Yes, I'm standing in line for 'Star Wars.' I do what I feel like. GOSH!"

I'm sure you  can come up with a few, too. Give it a shot. It will make the time between now and the 12:01 opening go that much faster.

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Posted at 9:26 AM ET, 05/18/2005

The Post on The Force

Stephen Hunter, Style's Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic, weighs in today with his "Star Wars" review. Turns out he likes it, he really likes it: "What this movie does is rise, rise, rise to a level of demonic intensity that hasn't been achieved since 1983's 'Return of the Jedi,'" he writes, later adding, "For my generation, 'Revenge of the Sith' is a brilliant consummation to a promise made a long time ago, far, far away, in a galaxy called 1977." You can't ask for much higher praise than that. For those seeking another Washington Post opinion, a review from Desson Thomson, the critic for the Post's Weekend section, is coming soon.

In other news, I hope you've held on to any "Star Wars" action figures you purchased in 1977. According to this story, the first 12 figures released that year -- if still in their original packaging and in mint condition -- are worth $4,200 a pop.  Wow, that's enough to pay for 420 tickets to "Revenge of the Sith."

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Posted at 11:34 AM ET, 05/17/2005

Darth Gets 'Desperate'

I know I just posted, but I had to add this to the blog: Apparently Hayden Christensen, otherwise known as Mr. Darth Vader, is dating Eva Longoria of "Desperate Housewives."

Former Washington Post gossip columnist Lloyd Grove reports in the New York Daily News that the two were spotted canoodling (I love that word) at a "Sith" party, held Sunday during the Cannes Film Festival. A "spywitness" allegedly saw their PDA-fest and tells Grove: "I'm pretty sure they hooked up." Who is this source, someone who just walked out of a Sigma Nu crush party?

I don't know if any of this is true, but in a way it makes sense to me. Did you watch "Housewives" the other night when Longoria's character told her husband he may not be the father of their baby? She's got a mean streak that could take her to the Dark Side in no time flat.

In any case, I'll keep you posted on any new developments. I've heard a rumor that Marcia Cross may have a thing for R2D2.

-- Jen

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Posted at 11:05 AM ET, 05/17/2005

Fisher Photos, Lame Leia Questions

"Star Wars" fan Leigh-Anne Dennison sent an e-mail that included some nice photos she took at Thursday night's charity premiere at the Uptown. I've included a couple here, including one of Debbie Reynolds and daughter Carrie Fisher. I particularly like the one of the trooper standing next to a sign that reads Children's Defense (the event benefitted the Children's Defense Fund):

Star Wars Blog
View Enlarged Photo and Caption

Star Wars Blog
View Enlarged Photo and Caption

Even though she's already seen the movie, Leigh-Anne and her husband are taking a vacation day on Thursday to see it again. She also shared this memory of seeing "Star Wars" for the first time when she was 7: "My own memory of the first film was that it was love at first sight. It was 'our day out with Daddy.' At age 7, I was captivated by this big space fairy tale and even at that young age, smitten with a handsome, young Mark Hamill. For sometime after, I carried around a note in my little girl's purse that read, 'I'm going to marry Luke Skywalker.'" Very sweet. Who says "Star Wars" fans are only guys?

Speaking of female fans, I also received a message from Eliza M., who added this suggestion about ways to annoy people waiting in line for "Star Wars": "Ask anyone dressed as Princess Leia who they're supposed to be. When she answers, say 'Aren't you supposed to be wearing that metal bikini?' This has happened to me.  On Halloween. It is very annoying." I believe you, Eliza. I wonder if anyone thought to ask Carrie Fisher the same question the other night. I'm sure she would have looo-ved that.

-- Jen

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Posted at 3:40 PM ET, 05/16/2005

Mr. Vader Goes to Washington

If you haven't yet, feel free to take a moment to vote in this online survey, located in our "Star Wars" special section. The question: What's your favorite "Star Wars" quote? With 1618 votes counted, there's a tie for first place between two memorable Darth Vader statements: "Luke, I am your father" and "I find your lack of faith disturbing."

I've also just launched a new survey that asks the provocative question: What is the best contribution to American pop culture, courtesy of the "Star Wars" franchise? I'm torn, myself, but part of me wants to vote for the song "Ewok Celebration." After all, a couple of Meco fans can't be wrong.

Meanwhile, a helpful reader who runs this blog reminded me that the architecture of Washington's National Cathedral contains a hidden replica of Darth Vader's head. Why would the root of all galactic evil be part of a sacred religious facility? The Cathedral's Web site explains. Apparently many fans recently started to pray before the head of mighty Lord Vader in the hope that he will hear their pleas and make "Revenge of the Sith" a much better movie than "Attack of the Clones." All right, that last part I just made up. But if you want to visit the hallowed site in Northwest Washington and say a few "Amens," it probably wouldn't hurt.


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