Star Wars Trilogy Premieres on DVD

Twentieth Century Fox released creator George Lucas's first three Star Wars movies, A New Hope (released as Star Wars in 1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), today in the popular DVD format.

It marks the first time the original Star Wars trilogy, among the most heavily promoted DVD compilations since the format was introduced to the home entertainment market, is available on DVD (suggested retail price: $ 69.98).

Besides the digitally restored and remastered pictures, which provide improved sounds and picture quality, the package includes Empire of Dreams, a 2 1/2-hour documentary directed by Kevin Burns and new audio commentary for each motion picture provided by Mr. Lucas, cast and crew.

The four-disc box also contains three features about the light saber, the characters and the movies' influence. Other features include Star Wars-related game demonstrations, trailers, television advertisements and a peek at the next installment in the series, Revenge of the Sith, scheduled for theatrical release on May 19, 2005.

The DVD set, which, like the trilogy's 1997 theatrical re-issue, encompasses Mr. Lucas's latest changes to each movie, has stirred controversy among some in the press. During the Hollywood premiere, a few reporters who challenged George Lucas's right to change his movies peppered Lucasfilm marketing vice-president Jim Ward.

"George [Lucas] very strongly believes in an artist's right to have his work presented in the way that he wants it presented," Ward said at the press junket.

Mr. Lucas, who created the Star Wars story, wrote and directed A New Hope and co-wrote and executive produced both trilogy sequels, changed the pictures according to his original idea for the serialized story—which still stands as the top-grossing motion picture series domestically at over $1.8 billion.

Originally posted on Box Office Mojo on September 21, 2004.

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