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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Views On 'Star Wars' Films Divided

This is how it is supposed to happen: People camp outside the theater for days, and, if they actually get tickets to the premier, they break into cheers at the first, stirring drumrolls.

But the crush at the door of the Udarnik movie theater, where "Star Wars: Epsiode One: The Phantom Menace" was previewed for the press Thursday, didn't feel much different from the average morning on the Moscow metro - it doesn't matter where you go, as long as you get there first.

In reality, the Russian public is not all that excited about the release, film studies student Natalya Sirenko said.

"People already stood in lines 10 years ago when foreign films first came to Russia," she said before the showing. "This time, I don't think there will be any lines."

Sirenko, 19, saw the earlier "Star Wars" films for the first time only five years ago. The trilogy, which came over at the beginning of the 1990s along with the rest of popular world culture, was hard to come by in Russia until then.

Natalya Orlova, a film critic of the older school and contributor to the magazine Sovietsky Ekran, said that the popularity of "Star Wars" in both America and Russia is a reflection of the two countries' cultural similarities. But her disbelief at discovering that the first film was released not 10 years ago, as she had previously thought, but in 1977, revealed that she didn't understand the extent of the movies' popularity on the other side of the Atlantic.

For the Russian media, at least, "Star Wars" is a pretty big deal. Sirenko compared the importing of this craze to that of another symbol of American culture - McDonalds. "It's mass culture," she said. "Everyone can eat it."