18 Nov: How Star Wars Changed Movie Trailers

The official trailer for ‘The Phantom Menace’ was uploaded to the Star Wars website on 18th November, 1998 – a reaction to the franchise’s rabid fans leaking their own camcorder footage to the web. It was the first time that an online preview of a movie trailer became a significant event in its own right.

The trailer had been released into North American cinemas the day before, ahead of select screenings of ‘Meet Joe Black’, ‘The Heist’ and ‘The Waterboy’. Variety reported a lunch-time showing in L.A. for which as many as two-thirds of the audience attending had bought their ticket purely to view the highly-anticipated Star Wars trailer.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly revisit the glitchy, scratchy, pre-YouTube world of online trailer distribution; reveal how LucasFilm partnered with Apple to sprinkle some of their fairy-dust over a QuickTime product launch; and explain why the fan reaction to this iconic trailer remains more enthusiastic than for the actual film concerned…  

Further Reading:

• ‘Anticipation: The Real Life Story of Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace, 

By Jonathan L. Bowen’ (iUniverse, 2005):


• ‘How Star Wars and the internet changed movie trailers’ (The Verge, 2015): https://www.theverge.com/2015/12/10/9882404/star-wars-trailers-movie-marketing-youtube-disney

• ‘Trailer: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace’ (Lucasfilm, 1998):

#Film #90s #Internet

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Sophie King.

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