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Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Boss decrees Star Wars holiday
Natalie Portman as Queen Amidala and Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker
The movie will be a geek highlight of 2002
The boss of a computer game firm has acknowledged the power of Star Wars and is allowing his staff a day off to watch the new film Attack of the Clones.

Stewart Gilray will be taking six of his staff from Binary9 Studios, in Yorkshire, to see the first showing in Leeds at 0005 BST on Thursday, the day of release.

His gesture will avoid what one survey has dubbed a "Star Wars virus" with millions of workers in the US expected to call in sick to see the film on release day.

The survey estimated Star Wars-related absenteeism could cost the American economy more than $300m in wages.

There are 6,500 people [in the video games industry] - many are geeks in their bedrooms and many are fans of comic books and Star Wars

Stewart Gilray
Binary9 Studios
As a dedicated Star Wars fan himself, Gilray has given them a full day or half day off to recover from the excitement.

He told BBC News Online: "In the video games industry, a lot of people will be doing the same sort of thing.

"We don't keep normal hours - sometimes we are here until midnight.

"There are 6,500 people [in the video games industry] - many are geeks in their bedrooms and many are fans of comic books and Star Wars."

The trip and day off would boost morale and creativity, Gilray maintained.

"If you treat your staff well they will treat you with respect back again."

Fancy dress

And Gilray will be indulging his own passion, admitting he has a track record as a dedicated Star Wars fan, as well as a wife who was a "Star Wars baby".

He was on his honeymoon when Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace was released and insisted his wife book tickets on her mobile so he could watch it on his return.

Gilray explained the appeal: "We will turn up [at the cinema] and there may be a few dozen Jedi knights or storm troopers.

"It is a complete fantasy. It takes you away for two hours."

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