Disney plans to release a 4K version of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the second movie in the Star Wars original trilogy, in the United Kingdom. This re-release of the 1980 movie — set to celebrate its 40th anniversary on June 20 — is being done in conjunction with the reopening of movie theaters across the pond. As of mid-June, we know UK theaters are looking to reopen in early July after months-long closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Variety reports the planned Empire Strikes Back screenings will be at VUE Cinemas across the UK. This is the first time one of the original Star Wars Skywalker saga trilogy movies has been shown in 4K. UK movie theaters were among the last business to shutter, ultimately closing their doors around mid-March. Earlier this week, we reported Regal Cinemas owner Cineworld plans to reopen U.S. and UK locations on July 10. Similarly, Variety notes VUE theaters are looking at an early July reopening, too. That said, it’s unclear whether Empire Strikes Back screenings will be available on the day of reopening or a little further down the line. It’s also unclear how long the 1980 Star Wars movie will be available at VUE locations.
Given the stature of the Star Wars franchise, this is a smart move for both Disney and VUE, especially as the latter company looks to entice moviegoers back to theaters since the mid-March closures. It’s also a great way for Disney and Lucasfilm to celebrate the milestone anniversary of the Star Wars movie. One additional mention in Variety’s report worth focusing on is Disney is reportedly offering a variety of titles, in addition to Empire Strikes Back, to UK exhibitors. This seems to go hand-in-hand with the push to revive moviegoing in the UK; Disney movies always manage to bring in customers, after all.
UK moviegoers will be able to see Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back at VUE Cinemas locations beginning in July. Additionally, UK and U.S. Star Wars fans can watch The Empire Strikes Back on Disney+. Get even more Star Wars updates here.