A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, if you have wanted to be among the first to see a new “Star Wars” movie, you had to line up at your local multiplex. The line has been a regular staple of the last six films, with diehard fans pitching tents, unfolding lawn chairs, and creating mini-tent cities as they awaited the next chapter in their favorite saga. But if you think that in the era of online ticket sales and reserved seating that maybe folks are staying home before opening day, you’d be mistaken.
The New York Times reports that the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles already has a line going as fans wait it out for the evening of December 17th, when the first screenings will begin. But it’s the sense of community that’s drawing people together. “At night you freeze and in the daytime you cook, but you come for the camaraderie and the chance to be a part of cinematic history,” fan Erik Murillo told the paper. “Besides, there are traditions to be upheld.”
But this isn’t an entirely self-serving affair. In a nice touch, money is being raised for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, taking collections in the line, or providing information about how passersby can contribute.
As for the movie itself, the marketing continues steadily with a couple more featurettes and a TV spot landing. However, a new video compilation (via Boing Boing) of local news reports capturing audience reactions after the first screenings of “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” is pretty great. Indeed, it bears to keep in mind that enthusiasm can sometimes override an honest evaluation of a movie, so keep that in mind when you sit down at your local theater next weekend. Watch below.