A few days ago -- or, long before everyone in the universe had already seen The Force Awakens -- I pulled a page out of The Dallas Morning News archives listing all the other movies screening in Dallas that day in late May 1977 when Star Wars erupted at the NorthPark I & II. Two things became immediately clear:
When you could choose between Star Wars and Annie Hall, everyone's a winner. And: Good Lord, we sure did have a lot of porn theaters around here when I was a kid -- including the one in University Park next to Kuby's.
Not much had changed come May 21, 1980, when The Empire Strikes Back opened -- aside from the fact it marked the debut of the AMC Prestonwood 5, which snagged Empire opening weekend (to compete with NorthPark) and lasted a whole 19 years before becoming a giant nightclub and, ultimately, a pile of rubble.
Han Solo or Thunderbuns? Your weekend was wide open.
Come May 25, 1983, the third offering in the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi, opened in wide release -- on six screens, including the old UA Walnut Hill. Its main competition: Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone and Chained Heat.