As had been the case for Wrath of Khan, I followed the critical reaction and box office for The Search For Spock very closely in the days and weeks following its release. Here are a few diary entries from that time.
But first, the review from my local newspaper:
5 June: "Today the first box office results from ST III. In its first 3 days of release the film made $16.7 million. That made it the top film of the week, bettering Indiana Jones's second weekend mark of $16.4 mil by a bit. There was also a poll conducted by the Entertainment Tonight staff which stated that 12% of the theater-goers though it was "the best", 58% though it was very good, about 20 or 30% said they liked it, 8% were sorry they went and only 1% though it was a bomb. There was also a bit of a comparison between all 3 films which stated that 3% liked the first film best, 30% liked the second film best and 12% liked Star Trek 3 the best."
9 June: "Neil Gabler and Jeffrey Lyons reviewed Star Trek III on Thursday. Lyons, I believe, liked the film since he finally understood why Trekkies love the Star Trek universe so much while Gabler really hated the film. He called it gloomy and no fun at all. It's very strange how people can be so split over the same film. I'm still waiting for Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert's review of the film which is scheduled for Sunday at 6:00. Roger is a bit of a Trek fan I think, and Gene was very pleasantly surprise with Star Trek II. I hope they bot liked Star Trek III."
11 June: "Well, I was right. Both Roger and Gene liked the film. They said it was good Star Trek but not GRREAT Star Trek like that of the second film. I can see their point -- they enjoyed the philosophy and intellectualism of ST II. I however enjoyed the mixture of philosophy and action, seriousness & humour of this film."
19 June: "Two more enthusiastic "YES" votes for Star Trek III: The Search For Spock. John Cassar and Dan McPhee of Film Facts both really enjoyed the film. Dan gave it a 9 & Jon gave it a high 8."