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'Star Wars' Fever Drives Fans To Internet

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RALEIGH, N.C. — "Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones" opens Thursday. There are some estimates the opening will cost workplaces more than $300 million in lost productivity. but perhaps a million people are not waiting for the big opening.

The

"Star Wars" official Web site

is where most fans are getting previews and all kinds of information about the latest installment in the "Star Wars" saga. The Internet is full of Web sites offering "Star Wars" stuff. File sharing sites offer downloads of the entire movie, which takes hours to complete, even with a high-speed Internet connection.

LucasFilms, which made the movie, wants an investigation of the piracy, claiming those downloads are illegal.

Don Weinstein, a member of the local "Star Wars" fan group, is looking forward to the Wednesday night preview. They hope the newest George Lucas creation will do as well as the movie, "Spider-Man."

"It's got a long way to go before it gets to $220 million, but I think we're very excited about how Episode II is going to do," he said.

Local fans are anxious to get their seats and are planning events around the opening.

"We're hoping to have a lot of the fans that were lucky enough to buy the tickets for [Cary] Crossroads' midnight showing, and I know there's going to be about four theaters running on that and we're hoping to have a good turnout," Weinstein said.

Many people are expected to call in sick or play hooky from their jobs Thursday. One outplacement firm said that could cost companies more than $300 million.

 Credits

Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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