For many a science fiction fan within this galaxy, May 4 th marks Star Wars Day – an event which sees aficionados of the hugely successful movie series celebrate Star Wars culture.
In case you hadn’t guessed, the date relates to a pun on one of the space saga’s most quoted lines – “May the force be with you”.
This year's celebrations recieved a boost earlier this week following the official announcement of the cast for Star Wars: Episode VII, the next installment of the saga, which will see Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hammil reprise their roles as Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker from the original trilogy.
The Star Wars: Episode VII cast at a script read
To mark the occasion, we’ve delved deep into the Sarlacc pit-like depths of the Guinness World Records archive to bring you our pick of Star Wars world records.
Largest fortune made from a film franchise
Rather than taking a director’s fee for Star Wars (USA, 1977), George Lucas (USA) acquire d the rights to all sequels and future merchandise. In 2011, Forbes assigned him a net worth of $3.2 billion (£2 billion).
Highest box-office gross for a screenwriter
The 15 movies written by George Lucas (USA) have grossed a lifetime combined total of $ 3.33 billion (£ 2.06 billion) in box office receipts.
Until last year, Lucas also held the record for Highest box office film gross average for a director (male), with the six movies that had him the directors chair from THX 1138 (USA, 1971) to Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (USA, 2005), having grossed a total of $1.74 billion (£1.08 billion) at the box office, at an average of $290.6 million (£145.4 million) per movie. That title now belongs to Toy Story 3 diector Lee Unkrich (USA) who has an average US-gross of $332,904,144 (£207 million).
Highest-grossing space-opera movie
Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace (USA, 1999) had grossed $924 million (£577 million) worldwide by 3 February 2000.
Largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia
Steve Sansweet (USA) has amassed an estimated 300,000 unique items at Rancho Obi-Wan in northern California, USA.
As of 15 May 2013, only 90,546 items have been accurately audited and catalogued – a number sufficient enough, however, to beat the previous Guinness World Records figure by a factor of four. Sansweet estimates that the cataloguing process will take years to complete, as his collection continues to grow.
Largest simultaneous premiere – territories
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (USA, 2005) was released simultaneously in 115 territories by 20th Century Fox on 19 May 2005. It went on to secure an international gross of $303 million (£165.9 million).
Biggest opening weekend ever for a re-released film
Shown in cinemas in 1997 as the first of Lucasfilm’s 20th anniversary Special Editions of the original Star Wars trilogy, Episode IV: A New Hope (USA) grossed $35,906,661 (£21,903,063) in US cinemas on the weekend of 31 January–2 February 1997. A New Hope took $579,646,015 (£353,584,069) worldwide to June 1997 – the highest theatrical gross for a film re-release.
Most Oscars won for visual effects
Dennis Muren (USA) won the Academy Award for Visual Effects a total of six times between 1983 and 1994. He has also received two Special Achievement Awards, in 1981 for Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (USA, 1980) and in 1984 for Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (USA, 1983).
He also received the Technical Achievement Award in 1982 “For the development of a Motion Picture Figure Mover for animation photography”. In addition, Muren holds the record for the most Oscar nominations for visual effects. He has been nominated on 13 occasions, the first being in 1982 for Dragonslayer (USA, 1981) and the most recent being in 2006 for War of the Worlds (USA, 2005).
Best-selling single of instrumental music
A 1977 disco arrangement of John Williams’s (USA) music to Star Wars – entitled “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” – by record producer Meco, aka Domenico Monardo (USA), remains the only instrumental single to have reached platinum status, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), having sold more than 2 million units. The track featured on the album Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk (1977), which outsold the original movie soundtrack and was also certified platinum.
Largest entertainment voice-over project
More than 200,000 lines of dialogue were recorded by several hundred voice actors for the LucasArts videogame Star Wars: The Old Republic (Electronic Arts, BioWare and LucasArts, 2011). The MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) was first released on 20 December 2011. You can read more about the record here.
First Star Wars videogame
The inaugural Star Wars videogame, The Empire Strikes Back (Parker Brothers, 1982) was based on the second film in the series and made for the Atari 2600 and Intellivision.
Most spoofed film series
There have been direct references to the Star Wars series in more than 170 feature films, and in countless TV shows, comics, adverts and online videos. One episode of the cartoon comedy Family Guy, “Blue Harvest” (Fox, 2007, left), was an hour-long parody of the film. A number of full-length Star Wars spoofs have been made, of which the best known is Spaceballs (USA, 1987, below left). Individual Star Wars spoof scenes have been a staple of comedy movies for more than 30 years, from Airplane II: The Sequel (USA, 1982) and Get Crazy (USA, 1983) to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (USA, 1999) and The Simpsons Movie (USA, 2007).
Most successful book series based on a film series
Lucas Licensing has recorded more than 100 million sales of Star Wars related books, with over 850 novelizations, original novels, reference books, children’s books and role-playing supplements, including 80 New York Times best-sellers. The first original novel based on Star Wars characters was Splinter of the Mind’s Eye (1978), written by Alan Dean Foster (USA).
Largest film merchandising campaign
In May 1996, PepsiCo (owners of Pepsi, Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell and Frito Lay) signed a deal with Lucasfilm for the right to link their products with Star Wars during the Special Edition re-releases of the original trilogy, leading up to the 1999 release of Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
At a reported $2 billion (£1.34 billion), it is the most extensive single cross-promotion deal in history.
Most prolific videogame series based on a licensed property
As of April 2012, a total of 279 Star Wars videogames had been released across 41 different platforms.
Most successful action-figure range
As of 2007, the Star Wars toy lines from Kenner/Hasbro had generated more than $9 billion (£4.5 billion) in sales. In 1978 alone, Kenner’s first range of Star Wars figures sold more than 40 million units, earning in excess of $100 million (£52 million).