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Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
Charity première for Star Wars
The Phantom Menace
The last Star Wars film was a big hit in 1999
The New York première of the next Star Wars film will raise money for disadvantaged children and youngsters who lost parents in the 11 September attacks.

Director George Lucas said he wanted to help the city's children through the release of the hotly-anticipated Star Wars Episode II: Attack of Clones.

Star Wars fans
Fans began queuing in January
The New York gala screening is one of 11 premières taking place across the United States on 12 May, four days before it goes on release at cinemas around the world.

Excitement is mounting among millions of Star Wars fans keen to see the latest instalment in the popular sci-fi series, which will be the fifth Star Wars film so far.

Fans in Seattle started queuing outside a cinema in January, while a queue in Los Angeles now has 70 people.

A leaked script on the internet, thought to be an early draft, has whetted appetites further.

Star Wars became a cult hit when the first instalment was released in 1977, and the original film is still the second most successful movie in US box office history.


The 11 US premières will all have seats set aside for disadvantaged children, with the New York event will raising money for The Children's Aid Society.

There will also be a special screening earlier in the day for children and their families.

Stars including Natalie Portman, Dan Ackroyd and Frances McDormand are expected to attend the New York première.

The film will then open to the public in over 30 countries on Thursday, 16 May.

UK fans will get to see it five hours before those in the US when midnight screenings take place, due to the time difference.


Fans have got a taste of what is to come with the release of a script, claiming to be an early draft, onto the internet.

Ain't It Cool News
Harry Knowles: The Ain't It Cool News webmaster has seen the film
The film's producers, Lucasfilm, have refused to comment on it - but many believe it is genuine.

It is thought to have been changed significantly before the film was shot, though, with some scenes missing.

"It is an early draft that someone smuggled out of Australia," according to Scott Chitwood of Star Wars website

"However, there are numerous changes between it and the final film."

'Real deal'

Lucasfilm had threatened legal action when a script was offered for sale last year.

Only one reviewer has written about the finished film so far - Harry Knowles, who runs influential film fan site Ain't It Cool News.

He says he was invited to a top secret screening when someone slipped a note into a book at a signing session for his autobiography.

He told fans that the film would not disappoint, describing it as "the real deal" and "relentlessly entertaining and thrilling".

See also:

24 Oct 01 | Film
Star Wars breaks DVD records
19 Jun 01 | Film
Star Wars set for DVD release
20 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Star Wars sets UK record
03 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Satellite TV feels force of Star Wars
14 Jul 99 | Star Wars
The Phantom Menace invades the UK
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