On May 21, 1980, The Empire Strikes Back began its 70mm run in 41 theaters in 16 cities.

"When it came time to open Empire, there was tremendous excitement and everybody agreed we should try something that had never been done before. So we opened it at the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles at midnight—and then kept running it without stopping for one full day."

- Sid Ganis (Vice President: Publicity, Lucasfilm)