'Attack of the Clones' to Invade 3,161 Theaters

by Brandon Gray
May 14, 2002

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones may not be opening as widely as Spider-Man did, but it's giving new meaning to playing "everywhere," 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm Ltd. confirmed on Tuesday.

George Lucas' digital epic will strike 3,161 theaters domestically on Thursday, May 16, and will play on about 6,100 screens, 454 fewer theaters and about 1,400 fewer screens than the 3,615-theater, 7,500-screen launch of Spider-Man. The release was slightly limited by Fox and Lucasfilm's insistence that only theaters with digital sound could show the picture.

Make no mistake, though, Attack of the Clones is at the saturation level, ranking as the 33rd widest release of all time. It's also a step up from The Phantom Menace, which bowed at 2,970 venues and on around 5,500 screens.

Like The Phantom Menace, selected theaters in major markets will start showing Attack of the Clones at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. That strategy helped The Phantom Menace levitate to $28,542,349 on its opening day—Wednesday, May 19, 1999—breaking all daily records at the time.

Exhibitors are reportedly required by Fox to keep Attack of the Clones in theaters for a minimum of four weeks, twice the standard two-week booking. Fox is asking for 70% of the box office for the first three weeks, 60% the next two and 50% the two weeks after that.

After the smashing success such movies as Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings had with major international release dates coinciding with their domestic ones, Fox will send in the Clones into 74 different countries on May 16 and 17, the most ubiquitous simultaneous worldwide release ever.

Additionally, Clones will mark the widest digital launch ever with 94 digitally-projected presentations at 87 venues in 17 territories. Most of those will be in the United States and Canada, where it will play at 54 such theaters.

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