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MAY 25, 1977: Star Wars opens in theaters, quickly drawing massive crowds across the nation. Imagined by director George Lucas as an homage to 1950s sci-fi serials and fueled by groundbreaking special effects, the film’s throwback sense of swashbuckling fun struck a chord with viewers, who embraced the film’s characters — even the villainous Darth Vader — and the catchphrase “May the Force be With You.” The film’s runaway boxoffice success would reshape the summer movie business — affecting everything from how films are marketed to the importance of merchandising tie-ins — and set the stage for two sequels and, after a break, three prequel films. Lucas sold the franchise to Disney in 2012 for a cool $4 billion.