23 May 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

The empire expanded and the Force added a few pages to the history books in the wake of Thursday's release of 20th Century Fox's Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith. The film that brings to light Anakin Skywalker's transformation into Darth Vader racked up a stellar estimate of $108.5 million on its debut weekend and a record-shattering $158.5 million in its first four days of release. Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Samuel L. Jackson star in the latest Star Wars epic, which was helmed and written by George Lucas and was the first in the series to carry the PG-13 rating; the other five films were rated PG. Through Sunday, the estimated worldwide boxoffice for Sith was a staggering $303.2 million. The opening for the sixth and final film in the George Lucas-conceived franchise -- which, excluding Sith, has taken in $3.4 billion at the worldwide boxoffice -- marked the second-biggest nonholiday three-day session of all time. But including Thursday's tally, it was the biggest first four days in boxoffice history.

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