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The Journal Gazette

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Scarlet Eckhardt, marketing manager at Carmike Jefferson Pointe 18, puts up posters for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on Wednesday.

Thursday, December 17, 2015 4:22 am

Theaters set for 'Star Wars' blitz

Frank Gray | The Journal Gazette

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the seventh installment in the Star Wars saga, opens at 7 tonight, and at Carmike Cinemas at Jefferson Pointe, the movie will be shown for 32 hours straight, starting in one of its theaters every 15 minutes.

The movie will also be shown at Carmike Cinemas on Dupont Road, but there will not be a 32-hour run there.

Asked if any movie had been given such an opening anywhere, Joshua Sievers, a managing director for Carmike, said: "That answer is no. Some theaters have done marathons," showing the same movie over and over again, but an opening like the one planned for "Star Wars" is a first.

Some showings have sold out locally, Sievers said, but he added, "We will not run out of tickets." If someone shows up, they will be able to get a seat. They might have to wait 15 minutes, but they will get in, he said.

Activities will start long before the showings begin, though.

Carmike has invited people to start showing up, and even camping out, starting at 6 a.m. today, and moviegoers are encouraged to wear costumes of various "Star Wars" characters.

"Buy your tickets early, come early, come in costume and have fun," Sievers said.

The goal is to have a line of people, many in costume, stretching hundreds of yards from the theater doors to the Christmas tree at Jefferson Pointe.

Nationally, some theaters have told people they can’t wear masks or carry blasters, those guns that shoot lasers but that don’t work in real life. At Carmike, there will be no such restrictions.

"We have a plan in place," Sievers said. "We’re embracing a huge event. We do have security" for people entering the theater. "It will be quick and painless."

Among the people who will be in line are members of the Northern Darkness Garrison and other "Star Wars"-related groups who have made what they call movie-quality costumes who will be part of the show outside the theater before showings begin and into the evening.

Alex Kartman, a Ball State University telecommunications instructor, said the latest "Star Wars" movie may be the biggest movie event ever from an economic and pop culture standpoint. Demand for tickets crashed online ticket agencies, he said.

News reports say that according to sources advance ticket sales have exceeded $100 million.

Kartman added that the film is not being marketed just to children, but also to baby boomers wanting to relive with their children and grandchildren the nostalgia of the "Star Wars" saga that started 38 years ago.