Star Wars Saga Hits Globalized Planet
J. Sean Curtin (Fellow, GLOCOM and Asia Times)
The long awaited final episode in the Star Wars double-trilogy movie series,
"Revenge of the Sith," has simultaneously premiered in Europe, the US as
well as the rest of the world, apart from Japan. Unlike the rest of the
planet, Japan must wait until 9 July. From Hollywood to Hong Kong, millions
of people in just about every country rushed to movie-theatres to see the
much anticipated series climax. This all demonstrates the truly global
nature of today's entertainment industry and the amazing power of the Star
What is perhaps most significant about the planet-wide launch of the final Star Wars saga installment is that it clearly demonstrates how genuinely globalized planet Earth has become since the first movie was released way back in 1977. In those days, it hit American screens first and then took several months before it reached Europe, Japan and other parts of the globe. Thus, its first showing at Leicester Square in London was many months after the US premier, while today it opened in Leicester Square at exactly the same time as in the US.
In many respects, 2005 is an entirely different world from 1977. Movies and products can now be released on the same day everywhere on the entire planet, allowing the world's inhabitants, if they so desire, to share the same experience at the same time, something that was not possible or even imagined when the Star Wars series began.
In Europe, the movie had its official premier at the beginning of the week at the Cannes international film festival, but did not go on planetary-wide release until Thursday. Many of the cast from the movie turned up for the Cannes performance, signaling the final phase of the global advertising blitz. By the time it opened, there was probably not a person on the planet who did not know that "Star War Episode III Revenge of the Sith" was coming. Global advertising has come an incredibly long way since 1977.
As for the movie itself, was it worth the 28 year wait? That is, of course, a decision for the public to make. I suspect the final segment of this incredible tale will be an enormous commercial success. It is a tragedy of truly Shakespearean proportions as well as being an epic story of good versus evil in the classic genre.
Additionally, the "Revenge of the Sith" pulls off an amazing feat in uniting the other parts of the saga, making the entire three-decade long project an outstanding masterpiece that will be talked about for decades to come. It will probably also be seen as a landmark in the entertainment industry, illustrating how truly globalized the world has become.