Star Trek III: The Search For Spock was the first Trek film which I saw at the theater on its first day of release. Here are all the gory details, as captured in my June 2nd diary entry:
"Star Trek III premiered yesterday at the Rideau Centre. The first showing was at 1:30 in the afternoon. I was there shortly after 9. But it was all worth it. Quite simply Star Trek III: The Search For Spock is the most exciting , most intriguing, funniest, and best of the Star Trek films to date. I absolutely loved it. The film is somewhat less serious than Trek II (in some places, in fact, it is absolutely hilarious. Scotty's "Up you shaft!" and McCoy's attempt to nerve pinch a Federation official come immediately to mind.) The story did hold some startling surprises, including the death of David Marcus at the hands of a Klingon, the destruction of the Enterprise (which was to be decommissioned by Starfleet anyway) and the revival of Mr. Spock who was found on the Genesis planet as a rapidly aging child. His mind, transferred to Dr. McCoy in Trek II, was reunited with the revitalized but brainless body of Spock on the top of Mt. Seleya by the Vulcan priestess T'Lar. The special effects of the film were super, especially those involving the destruction of the Genesis planet as it finally broke up. Also the matte shot of the temple on Vulcan was very good, much more believable than the interior of the Genesis cave in the last film. The pacing of this film was also far superior to the somewhat uneven pace of ST II. The only thing missing was a stand-out performance by Shatner. This was made up for by an all-out effort by each of the crew. Especially noteworthy were Scotty, who has some of the best lines in the film, and Sulu who has some good parts as well. Uhura, Chekov, David and Saavik were all good as well. DeForest Kelley did a good job showing the internal conflict he was experiencing throughout the film. A super effort from everyone involved from the model builders (with the huge space station and the Klingon ship, the Excelsior and the Grissom) to the costume designers and set crew. The turbulent destruction on the surface of Genesis is especially noteworthy. In fact I loved this film so much that I went back for the 4:00 show to see it again the same day. The only problem is what will happen next. Everyone of the Enterprise crew is [?] for disobeying orders and treason for escaping with the Enterprise and disobeying orders to return. That ought to be a very sticky question which will have to be resolved in Star Trek IV. Spock seems to be in good shape, though what he will decide to do in future films is a big question mark."
I captured a bit more of my reaction in the 5 June entry:
"I think I like the latest film the best, because of its pacing, humour, and effects along with a strong story. ST II had a more powerful good-bad conflict, more "human" emotion and a very strong and moving death scene -- that of Spock, of course. I think the edge would have to go to ST III."
I saw ST III at the theater one additional time on 1 August:
"Second-month anniversary of the release of Star Trek III: The Search For Spock and I celebrated by seeing it for the third time. I love it as much as I did two months ago. There are a few little things that would have made it close to perfection. But I could fill in the gaps with knowledge from the comic and novel. Some have complained it to be boring but I was captivated during the entire showing. I can't wait for some extra material on the film (i.e. my magazines, a "making of" book and, I hope, a photostory). Also I can't wait for the videotape, which should be out late this year or early next."