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Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (#110 of 2)

Box Office Rap Insidious: Chapter 2 and the Twitter Index

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Box Office Rap: Insidious: Chapter 2 and the Twitter Index
Box Office Rap: Insidious: Chapter 2 and the Twitter Index

I imagine that predicting box-office grosses on a weekly basis in a pre-social media, pre-Internet environment would not only have been difficult, but virtually impossible to register with any accuracy, unless said prognosticator held a position of some esteem within the film industry. Let’s give this pre-era a concrete date—say, roughly 1999. I choose this year not because of Y2K or the neat temporal markers brought about by a new millennium, but because that year introduced Brandon Grey’s website Box Office Mojo, which specializes not just in forums meant for box-office speak, but seeks to function as a comprehensive, online database for the domestic and international grosses of every film released in North American theaters within the modern era. Now, 14 years later, the site offers such information dating back to 1980, a year significant to film history for many reasons, though more because it’s a year that symbolizes the death of New Hollywood filmmaking and the full-on emergence of a blockbuster mentality within the studio system. The Empire Strikes Back was the highest-grossing film of the year; Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate was met with devastating financial and critical failure, to the extent that United Artists went bankrupt. Moreover, Peter Bogdanovich has suggested that contemporary film students possess no conception of film history prior to Raging Bull—also released in 1980.

Princess in Chains: Leia’s Jedi Bikini

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Princess in Chains: Leia’s Jedi Bikini
Princess in Chains: Leia’s Jedi Bikini

A contribution to Edward Copeland’s Star Wars blogathon.

Take a look at Princess Leia on the posters for Star Wars movies IV through VI. If you didn’t know better, you might think that the role had re-cast—and in a way it was. The original poster looks like pulp sci fi/fantasy novel book jacket: a futuristic yet retro illustration of an anonymous, muscular blond hero wielding a gleaming sword (or something) while a leggy heroine, cocks her hip (and a pistol) in the foreground. This galactic bombshell doesn’t look much like Carrie Fisher. Only the signature bagel-braids identify this heroine as Princess Leia. Her shredded low-cut frock looks nothing like the mostly practical and un-revealing costumes Leia favors throughout the series—with one glaring exception we see in Return of the Jedi.