You used to have to be quite patient as a British cinema fan - films would open in America, and then, eventually, they'd find their way across to the UK. If you didn't enjoy going to the movies, or lived too far from a cinema, you'd have to be even more patient waiting for the film to turn up on TV.
The changing nature of the entertainment industry - driven in part by digital media - has made the wait times shorter, and even - for some blockbuster films - virtually non-existent for a transatlantic transfer.
The first six Star Wars films, which cover a period of time (in our galaxy at least) between 1977 and 2005, give an interesting insight into how what was once a gap of years has shrunk.
|Film title||Theatrical release in US||Theatrical release in UK||Days between US & UK release||UK free to air first broadcast||Days between UK cinema & Free to Air TV debut||Pay TV first broadcast||Days between UK cinema & TV debuts|
|Empire Strikes Back||21/05/1980||20/06/1980||30||25/12/1988||3110||3110|
|Return Of The Jedi||25/05/1983||02/06/1983||8||26/12/1989||2399||2399|
|The Phantom Menace||19/05/1999||16/07/1999||58||03/12/2002||1236||16/04/2001||640|
|Attack Of The Clones||16/05/2002||16/05/2002||0||29/11/2005||1293||15/11/2003||548|
|Revenge Of The Sith||19/05/2005||19/05/2005||0||07/11/2007||902||30/09/2006||499|
- Download an xls spreadsheet of this data
- First UK free to air broadcast in each case was on ITV; first pay TV broadcast was on a Sky Movies channel - Sky Premier or Sky Movies 1. Release date is for first general release, and doesn't include restricted access events such as royal premieres.
- Sources: Wookiepedia, thestarwarstrilogy.com, TV Times, IMDB.com, The Times, Birmingham Evening Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Express
This article is part of our Star Wars collection. The articles in this special dedicated to Star Wars pay homage to the films and franchise while looking at out of this world themes. You can help Yoda sort out his syntax, decipher a moon from a fully operational deathstar, find out whether jediism is a religion and much more. Look now, you must.
You may also like to view our pages on Astronomy - just in case you fancy heading to a galaxy far far away any time soon!