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The force is back: ‘Star Wars’ returns

February 1, 1997

DENVER (AP) _ Christine Furgason saw ``Star Wars″ on the big screen years ago and owns the video. But Friday she waited three hours to buy tickets to see Luke Skywalker and his intergalactic pals all over again.

``I can’t believe I’m standing in line for a movie I can almost recite,″ said the 28-year-old at the sold-out Continental Theatre.

She had plenty of company.

``Star Wars″ fans across the country scrambled to get tickets for the 1977 movie, which was re-released Friday. Even a man on crutches was in line in Washington, D.C.

``The Empire Strikes Back″ (1980) and ``Return of the Jedi″ (1983) will follow in the next two months as part of the trilogy’s 20th anniversary celebration.

``People are lining up and camping out all over the country at big theater presentations,″ said Bob Capps, executive vice president of worldwide film for United Artists Theater Circuit Inc. in Denver.

He estimated weekend ticket sales at $25 million-$30 million nationwide.

Caye Crosswhite, spokeswoman for Kansas City, Mo.-based AMC Entertainment, Inc., said the theater chain was adding late night shows.

``Virtually all our theaters are sold out. It’s bigger than anyone expected,″ Crosswhite said.

Some of the most loyal and dedicated ``Star Wars″ fans were anxious to see the classic on the big screen for the first time. That’s because some of them weren’t even born or were too young when the movie was first released.

``I was in the womb when this movie first came out, and I’ve been a fanatic ever since,″ said Joshua Van Winkle, 18, a freshman at the University of Washington who was among 200 people who stood in line outside a theater in Mountlake Terrace, north of Seattle, for hours to get tickets.

``I was 1 1/2 when the movie came out. I think its the greatest movie of all time,″ Aaron Chaisson told television station WBRZ in Baton Rouge, La. He was one of 10 Louisiana State University students who camped out overnight.

Jesse Milnes, 37, who waited in line for tickets 20 years ago, was joined Friday in Denver by his 16-year-old son, Eric.

``His bedroom is a `Star Wars’ shrine,″ father said of son. ``He wore out a whole set of tapes, but he hasn’t seen it on the big screen.″

Bobbie Patrick, 45, who saw Star Wars 20 years ago with her husband, was buying seven tickets, including tickets for her 14-year-old son and three of his friends.

She said she waited in line for two reasons.

``It kind of reminds me of my youth,″ Mrs. Patrick said. ``But I’m also here to get some `Mom’ points.″

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