Atlanta’s Plaza, the state’s oldest continuously operating film palace, will open celebrations of its 75th anniversary on July 18 with an extremely rare screening of Star Wars: Episode IV, the first of the six films (for the moment) in the much beloved sci-fi movie cycle. That original Star Wars film came out in 1977, then underwent a substantial cleanup of its VFX and more during the Special Edition version that came out on the film’s 20th anniversary. Disney officials confirmed that the digital print being provided the Plaza will be based on the Special Edition version which got a wide release in 1997. The original 1977 was re-released in April of 1981.
But think of this, some of the tickets are going for $75 a pop.
A few years ago, during a special event spotlighting Star Wars’ visual effects at the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles, writer-director George Lucas said that he would never want to re-release the film’s original version featuring the old (though then ground-breaking) VFX, because the technological progress made in the ensuing decades allowed him to come closer to actually creating the movie that he saw in his own head. Whatever the version on screen, the original Star Wars hasn’t had a lot of runs in theaters in quite a while. But then again, when the movie came out, it stayed out, setting box office records and running in some theaters for more than a year (76 weeks(!) at one Beaverton, Ore., theater alone) as part of more than 6,000 engagements in the United States and hundreds more overseas.
The Plaza shows an eclectic mix of indie, arthouse and revival films alongside the occasional first-run screening, said theater manager Brandon Delaney. Its current offerings include the original Godzilla, Alien, Mad Max and the just re-released first Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night, which is celebrating its own noteworthy birthday, No. 50.