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‘Star Wars’ Going HD on Cinemax

Aug 17, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The “Star Wars” universe is about to make the jump to high-definition. Cinemax has made a deal with Lucasfilm to offer all six “Star Wars” movies in HD for the first time.

The Time Warner-owned, premium movie cable channel plans to premiere the films in November and launch a national marketing campaign.

The release is certain to thrill “Star Wars” fans, who have helped the franchise earn about $4 billion at the box office worldwide.

The two most recent “Star Wars” titles, “Revenge of the Sith” and “Attack of the Clones,” have separately run on HBO and Cinemax in hi-def. Fox has also aired “Clones” in HD.

But the original trilogy has never been available in the format, and offering all the films together on one network is without precedent.

Last year, Spike TV announced a deal to acquire all six films in an exclusive basic cable contract, but the run doesn’t kick in until 2008. Also, Spike TV does not currently offer an HD channel.

Of the various incarnations of the films, Cinemax will run the same special-edition versions that were most recently released on DVD.

Terms of the deal were not available, but Cinemax typically plays films several times over three months during an initial run. A run on sister network HBO will almost certainly follow.

Several tentpole titles, such as “War of the Worlds” and “Mr. & Ms. Smith” recently premiered on Cinemax before running on HBO as part of a corporate strategy to help boost Cinemax’s profile and strengthen its brand as a movie destination.

Cinemax declined to comment.