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Star Wars Debut May Force Productivity Loss

David Utter
Expert Author
Published: 2005-05-19

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Businesses around the country, especially those tied to high-tech industries, will see workplace efforts supplanted by Darth Vader.

They already know how the movie is going to end. Many of them already know much of the plot and have known it for some time. But that didn't stop moviegoers from attending sold-out 12:01 showings of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in droves.

That fan loyalty could cost U.S. employers as much as $627 million in lost productivity on Thursday and Friday, said Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., which based its estimates on attendance for the first two days of the previous movies in the trilogy.

The first showing of the movie, with a 2:26 running time, will of course have been preceded by numerous trailers, advertisements, public service messages, and instructions to attendees like "no lightsaber activations during the showing of the movie." The earliest fans will have left the theater would be 3 AM.

While a few enlightened companies will give employees time on Thursday to attend a daytime showing, or even close down for a few hours in the case of small businesses, most fans work for typically humorless firms.

That means fans will either have scheduled Thursday as a vacation day, or will be calling in sick on Thursday morning in the wake of attending the midnight showing.

9.4 million people saw the last Star Wars film in its first two days of release. Episode III should surpass that figure easily. However, if you were in Indianapolis for Celebration 3 and got to see some advance footage, keep in mind you were watching a digital version.

Your local theater will probably not have the same clarity and sound quality you enjoyed as the room where Rick McCallum showed you that preview.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

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