By Phil Contrino
When speaking with Jim Kopp, Owner of the Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre in North Carolina, about Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the issue of the film being animated hardly comes up.
What seems to be most important to Kopp, as well as many other fans across the country, is that no matter how the content is presented, this is still Star Wars.
Located in Henderson, North Carolina, Kopp's theatre is one of only seven operating drive-in theatres in the state and there are only 398 still functioning throughout the country. Over the last decade or two, the drive-in theatre in general has come to represent a bridge to the past that people still respond to.
After all, it was at drive-in theatres that many people originally experienced the cultural phenomenon that was the first Star Wars back in 1977.
As a theatre owner, Kopp is doing his best to make experiencing this latest film as nostalgic and entertaining as he can for his audience. With support from Warner Bros. and Lucasfilm, audience members who attend the 7 p.m. showing this Saturday will be joined by authentic Star Wars characters such as Darth Vader, C3P0, R2D2 and Darth Maul. Kopp is even anticipating a bigger audience turnout than the one that welcomed Bill Clinton when he passed through town in support of his wife's presidential campaign this past spring.
Of course, not everyone is excited about this latest installment in the Star Wars saga. In his negative review of the film, Variety 's Todd McCarthy wrote that, "This isn't the Star Wars we've always known and at least sometimes loved." Many other critics are also singing the same tune as McCarthy.
Yet if there was ever a franchise that was absolutely critic proof it would be this one. According to Joel Cohen, Executive Vice President & General Manager for Movietickets.com,
is outselling the comedic juggernaut
by about 2 to 1 at the same point in the selling cycle. The two radically different films will be competing against each other this weekend in an attempt to dethrone
The Dark Knight.