Fans anticipate holiday movies; ‘Star Wars’ likely to bust record

12 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Harrison Ford needles Trump for ‘Air Force One’ praise.

As the premiere date for her highly anticipated film Star Wars: The Force Awakens draws near, there’s little doubt Daisy Ridley is frequently swarmed by enthusiastic fans.

‘I was not expecting it to be made’: Harrison Ford admits surprise at new Star Wars instalment… as he arrives at Sydney Opera House ahead of fan event The veteran actor will take centre stage at the event – his first Australian promotional trip on behalf of the franchise – when it launches at the iconic venue on Thursday evening.Footage of actor Harrison Ford reacting to praise by Republican White House hopeful Donald Trump for his patriotic performance in the film “Air Force One” has gone viral. “I love Harrison Ford — and not just because he rents my properties. The Star Wars heroine was unable to hide her delight when she was greeted by a cherubic young fan, who she lavished attention upon and dubbed ‘tiny Rey’ on Instagram. Nearly 40 years after Star Wars first hit screens, excitement for next week’s release of the latest instalment in the blockbuster space saga is reaching fever pitch.

He stood up for America,” the billionaire real estate mogul and GOP presidential frontrunner recently told The New York Times of Ford’s character. The actress grinned brightly as she crouched down at eye level to chat with the youngster, who wore a costume that was a dead ringer for the outfit Daisy’s Star Wars character Rey wears on screen. ‘Literally the cutest little thing I’ve ever seen,’ she wrote. ‘Getting off a flight and being greeted by this tiny Rey was the ultimate!!!!!!!!

I will never get tired of seeing this!’ Before landing the role of Rey, following an intense five-audition process, Daisy had appeared in numerous British TV shows including ITV’s Mr Selfridge, Silent Witness and Casualty but the upcoming release marks her first major film role. And they’re succeeding — with ample help, of course, from the marketing and merchandising empire at Disney, which took over George Lucas’s sci-fi franchise in 2012. “I can’t think of anything we’ve all been this excited about,” said Bradley Bush, a Stillwater naturopathic doctor and father of four girls ages 5 to 13, all “Star Wars” fans. However, her nerves almost got the better of on the first day of shooting and she reminisced about her big moment in the spotlight in an interview with Glamour magazine, earlier in the year. The global roll-out will begin on Wednesday in France, Belgium and more than a dozen other countries before it officially hits US theatres on Friday. “Star Wars” has attracted generations of loyal fans ever since the first film arrived in 1997, introducing the world to The Force, Jedi knights, Darth Vader, Wookiees and two clever droids, R2-D2 and C3PO.

The latest teaser for the film appeared to add weight to the fan theory that the continuing space saga will once again be a family affair, and that the smuggler may be parent to one or even two of the franchise’s new stars. ‘Harrison was required to bring a level of complexity that a 30-year-old Han wouldn’t be required to have,’ JJ Abrams told Wired magazine in November. And getting to that $5 billion figure is going to require selling a helluva lot more than just action figures and trading-card packs with stale sticks of gum. If the original Star Wars trilogy hit the world like an unexpected bolt of lightning, the onslaught of Star Wars to come is more of a military affair—planned meticulously, executed with precision, set to conquer. The hype around the movie is such that 70 US super-fans are paying up to US$5,000 to fly to Paris so they can see the film on Wednesday – two days before most Americans will have a chance to do so.

Some are making the 18,000km round trip from Los Angeles in one day, taking a bus from Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris to a nearby cinema to see the movie, before returning to the US the same evening. “It’s so awesome to see all ages interacting with it in that enthusiastic way,” said Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, who joins the franchise using motion-capture technology to play pirate Maz Kanata. Abrams to Rian Johnson, to top-of-their-game actors like Oscar Isaac and Lupita N’yongo, the films are also an interactive catalogue that allows fans to experience their future products in action. It’s a late capitalist bonanza, and for the coup at the center of the madness, Disney has found itself an unknown commodity in their new leading lady, Daisy Ridley.

Louis Park theater has been continually adding times based on advance ticket demand. “We’ve been hearing requests for tickets going back to January,” said Michelle Longest, operations manager at Kerasotes Showplace Theatres. Experts predict that products tied to the film could bring in up to US$5 billion in revenue for Walt Disney Company, which paid US$4 billion for Lucasfilm in 2012. “We have all been holding our breath ever since we heard the movie was going to production,” said Lawrence Green, a Los Angeles government attorney and avid fan who is a member of the 501st Legion, a Star Wars costuming club where he dresses as Skywalker. It must be a strange experience going from working at a bar in your hometown to having your face scanned for use in selling merchandise, but it’s a strange world we live in and Star Wars lead actress Daisy Ridley seems up for the challenge.

In France, a record 300,000 advance tickets have been sold while in Britain, 200,000 tickets were purchased in the first 24 hours of availability on October 20, also a record. In Turkey, fans’ religious devotion to the franchise has taken a more political turn, with nearly 9,000 signing a petition demanding a Jedi temple at the Dokuz Eylul University in the western city of Izmir.

She appeared in a music video for the British rapper Wiley in 2013 for his song “Lights On” and notched a handful of guest appearances in British television series like Mr. Their call has been seen as a satirical riposte to a controversial wave of mosque building on campuses across the country, but in a statement, the petition’s organisers insisted Turkish Jedi knights were in dire need of training.

The wide reach of the space epic is clearly reflected in the US$4.4 billion it has generated in worldwide ticket sales since it began in 1977, according to tracker website Box Office Mojo. Like her slightly more established costar John Boyega, who starred in the 2011 sci-fi film Attack the Block, Ridley hails from London—a casting choice departure from both the original films and the prequels, where the main cast was dominated by American actors like Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, both of whom will return for the sequels. He credits new animated TV shows such as “Star Wars Rebels.” “It has become the kind of thing where a dad whose wife didn’t want him hanging out here playing our games all day now can come in with his kids, and they play these games together,” Dekker said. She’s already hitting the red carpet in an impressive array of designers, from major houses like Dior, Chanel and Giambattista Valli to trendier fare like David Koma and Mary Katrantzou.

The father-child connection is especially strong for Dan Cote, manager at Treehouse Records in Minneapolis, who has fond memories of his dad bringing home “Star Wars” action figures whenever he went away on a business trip. Her role in the new films clearly requires that she stay fit, but if Rey has to worry about guns and battleships and rogue Adam Drivers on the loose, it’s the marathon of promotion and publicity facing Ridley that will require the most training of all. But Ridley seems to be taking it in stride. “I think if I was a crazy loon, I’d be worried,” Ridley responded. “The one thing I got told: “Tone down the dramatics.” But I’ve not been told to be anything else than I am.

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