The Phantom Menace, first of three new Star Wars films, is being released this May. To promote it, George Lucas, its writer, director and producer, is giving sneak previews in the form of movie trailers.
The first trailer was released in the fall, and theaters that showed it rang up a 25 percent increase in ticket sales. In fact, in some locations, it was evident that most of the sold-out audience was there only for the 2-minute trailer, since the theater cleared out before the start of the feature film, Meet Joe Black starring Brad Pitt.
Now, a second trailer for The Phantom Menace, the first prequel of the Star Wars trilogy (are you following this?) is coming out. This time, it will show before the movie Wing Commander.
John Benson and Carl Cunningham, creators of a popular Web site about Star Wars, joined CBS This Morning last week.
Their Web site, Jedinet.com, is wildly successful, logging 10,000 hits per day. Both work at I.B.M. and have families. Besides their huge appetite for The Force, they're normal, average guys.
Benson grew up with Star Wars and its toys. Now, his obsession continues. His wife is tolerant, though not nearly as into it as he is. He started the Jedinet Web site three years ago because he couldn't find enough information on Star Wars on the Internet. He thought it would be a good way to find people who were also interested.
Will he be on of those theater-goers to buy a ticket for the new trailer? You bet, he says, adding he doubts he'll stay for the movie that follows it.
Carl Cunningham has been collecting Star Wars memorabilia since 1978 and now has thousands of items cluttering his basement. His wife also likes the films but, as he puts it, she "just doesn't get it."
Cunningham was five years old when the first Star Wars movie came out, and he likes the idea that his daughter will be five when The Phantom Menace is released. He plans on taking her, like his father took him.
©1999 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed