“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opens Dec. 18, but several theaters in NEPA are hosting early screenings for George Lucas’ latest installment in the revered franchise spanning nearly four decades.
Dec. 17 showings will be at Cinemark Theaters, Moosic and R/C Movies 14, Wilkes-Barre. The Dietrich Theater, Tunkhannock and Split Rock Resort, Lake Harmony, are hosting interactive premiers.
The Dietrich will show the movie at 7 p.m. and could expand to a second screening if enough people buy tickets.
Theater staff wear costumes to make big events fun and customers are encouraged to dress-up.
“Our staff will be dressed up,” Harvey said. “I will be in my Han Solo outfit.”
The theater will serve popcorn in special tins, Harvey said.
“There are four different collectors tins, and they have four different designs on them,” he said. “I’m also actively looking … to try to get some specialty candies that are geared toward Star Wars.”
Harvey said the excitement for this premier is unique.
“The Harry Potters have all come through; the Twilights have all come through; The Hunger Games is just ending,” Harvey said. “There’s always a movie that transcends the general public and it seems like everyone wants to see it, but I’ve noticed recently that Star Wars is everywhere, and it’s all anyone wants to talk about. It’s like nothing I’ve experienced before.”
Harvey cited the cross-generational quality of the series, saying the outpouring of fandom has as much to do with family ties as fascination with the stories.
Kyle Kuczma, public relations coordinator for Split Rock agrees with Harvey.
“They are reaching younger and older audiences, and people that saw it so many decades ago are still invested in it,” he said. “It’s such an iconic and epic cinematic story line that it lends itself with the hype.”
Kuczma said professional actors will be at Split Rock dressed up as characters from the movie.
“We will have … Finn, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren, a stormtrooper and Captain Phasma,” Kuzma said. “We’re encouraging everybody to come dressed up in costume.”
Split Rock Resort is also offering a package deal for its 7 and 10 p.m. screenings. A pair of movie tickets, deluxe accommodations in the resort hotel and photo opportunities with characters cost $149.
The first 50 children to check in with the movie package receive a special gift bag containing Star Wars merchandise.
Kuzcma said the anticipation for this premier is special.
“Buzz like this, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s unprecedented but, for a movie, it’s certainly beyond exceptional when you compare it to even most other major movie releases.”
While local theaters may not be offering packaged deals, theater management said they expect many movie-goers to also be in costume during the premiers.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter@TLArts