There's a discussion going on in the Saga forum on that subject right now--number of tickets sold--and it's still apples to oranges. As someone already mentioned in this thread I believe, before the home video market emerged and movies had a set DVD release date before they were even released in the theaters, they stayed in the theater longer. ANH was in the theater from May until December. Of course it was going to sell more tickets. In addition to the lack of home video and lack of ability to watch pirated films on the Internet, movie tickets were a hell of a lot cheaper then, and even "poor college kids" might go for repeat viewings. You really can't compare ticket sales in movies released decades apart in deciding whether a movie is more popular, too many mitigating factors in play, having nothing to do with the movies themselves.