George Lucas to Attend ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Premiere: “He Really …

5 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Disney’s Hollywood Studios unleashes new ‘Star Wars’ attractions.

ORLANDO — Two new short film experiences, a menu of treats and a geek’s dream museum of Star Wars artifacts are the highlights of Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios’ new Star Wars experiences, which opened to the public this week. Park officials touted the new additions as just the beginning — there are plans in the works for an entire Star Wars land to be built on the property. Abrams drew the original design for BB-8 on a little napkin,” Scanlan says. “The idea of using a droid that can roll and navigate things using a wheel or a ball is very current. In a post on Chinese microblogging site Weibo WB 1.35% , Star Wars, the film franchise owned by Disney DIS 2.10% , wrote that “super idol” Lu Han had endorsed the seventh chapter in its movie series, “The Force Awakens,” which opens in theaters later this month, and is working on a new song to promote the film.

Poor R2 is becoming a dinosaur.” See exclusive photos, get a first look at new characters and learn more secrets from the cast and crew of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in PEOPLE’s Star Wars collector’s edition, on newsstands Dec. 9. There have been almost 140m visits to cinemas so far this year, but when the November and December figures are published admissions could reach the highest level since 2002, when there were 175.9m visits. For example, the space epic will see competition from local holiday movies in Italy, while Chinese audiences aren’t as familiar as others with the first six films in the series. Lu Han also posed with a lightsaber and spherical robot BB-8—a character that will appear in the latest movie for the first time—in a series of photos posted on Star Wars’ Weibo profile. And for more exclusive Star Wars news, come back to PEOPLE.com every day until it hits theaters Dec. 18 Like R2, though, the real BB-8 is a (somewhat) working robot, not a CGI character.

That record, reached in the year the second movies of the Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings franchises were released, is actually an outlier, with the previous high set in 1971, when the world’s top-grossing film was Fiddler on the Roof. “There is an enthusiasm and optimism that has not been around for a few years,” said Phil Clapp, chief executive of the UK Cinema Association. “Clearly some of that is dependent on a very strong slate [of films] this year, with Star Wars still to come, but we are also seeing a change in the quality and range of cinemas. And in a YouTube video, he fondly nuzzles up to classic droid R2-D2: On his own Weibo page, Lu Han responded to the announcement, writing in Chinese, “I am honored to be the Star Wars ambassador to China, May the Force be with you.” We are in a period of unprecedented investments in terms of refurbishment and expansion.” The cinema industry has gone through some dramatic ups and downs in the UK. They will be nightly and features John Williams music. (Official name: “Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular.”) This means there will be fireworks at Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Magic Kingdom every evening. 2.

Main puppeteer Brian Herring, wearing a blue suit so he could be digitally removed, would perform the gestures and even the initial sounds. “Those aren’t the sounds you’ll hear in the movie,” says Scanlan, whose team used that approach for all their characters, including the creature menagerie in the castle of Maz Kanata. “But the people that performed the puppets would vocalize to mirror the performance, which means you start to engage with them as characters. Premium ticket prices for 3D and IMAX screenings will also boost grosses — 90% of the advance tickets bought in Germany, for example, have been for the 3D version, said Tim Richards, CEO of movie theater chain Vue. Abrams and other high level creatives in the franchise geeking out over progressing the narrative they grew up loving. “I don’t know what it’s like to be a kid growing up in a world with this much awesome,” gushed Dave Filoni, an executive producer of Disney’s Star Wars Rebels. After a while, people don’t talk to the performer anymore, they talk to the puppet.” That on-set interaction helped give BB-8 a well-rounded personality, including some secrets beyond just what all those orange panels are hiding.

Eva Rekettyei, programming manager of Yelmo Cineplex, one of Spain’s biggest exhibition chains, praises Disney’s launch strategy of “going beyond the fan base, targeting all kinds of audiences.” She added, “Original saga fans will be going to the theaters with their kids.” Richards at Vue, which has 1,859 screens in 10 European countries, said, “It has broken records for pre-booking in most if not all of our markets. Once guests leave the theater, they enter the Launch Bay, which is basically a Star Wars museum replete with to-scale artifacts from all seven movies — both Anakin’s Podracer and Rey’s Speeder vehicles have their own displays.

Scanlan has cryptically warned that BB-8, who is already a favorite breakout character, “shouldn’t be trusted.” Of the droid’s mysteries, Scanlan did reveal to PEOPLE, “BB-8 knew what he was up to, or she knew what she was up to because we’re not quite sure if it was a boy or a girl. She or he is using all those little tricks to be able to get around Rey [the central character, played by Daisy Ridley] and be able to transport himself on this incredibly important journey. But just as the rise of television damaged cinemas in the 20th century, new technology including DVDs, high-definition televisions and online streaming services have posed a threat in the 21st century. However, a string of hits this year – notably Jurassic World and Spectre – have confirmed that cinemas in Britain are enjoying a 21st-century revival. “The death of cinema has been foretold on many occasions – our aim has always to be make sure the experience is one or two steps ahead of the home,” Clapp said. Although the number of cinemas is steadily falling, the number of screens is rising as multiplex chains Vue, Odeon and Cineworld, the biggest chains in Europe, dominate the market.

In Germany, exhibitors and market watchers are confident “Star Wars” will become the most successful film of the year, besting local comedy “Fack ju Goehte 2” — so far the year’s biggest moneymaker with a total box office haul of more than $65 million, and beating “Minions” and “Spectre” as well. CinemaxX reported record pre-sales for the film after selling more than 40,000 tickets within 24 hours — the highest number of pre-sold tickets in the exhibitor’s history. Britain has also witnessed the growth of upmarket arthouse cinema chains, such as the Everyman and Curzon, where viewers can enjoy champagne, reclining leather chairs and even a meal with a film.

Disney chefs team with the company’s creative types on ingredients and look. (An early version made Chewbacca look a little too much like a lion, so he got a trim, I’m told.) 5. We need to be seen as very, very good value for money,” he said. “When you consider the cost of going to Legoland or London Zoo, where you will last about three hours at most, we are a fraction of the prices.” “This is a really good year, possibly a great year. After a full morning of photo opportunities, even casual fans will appreciate the merchandise available from BB-8 drink cups to full-size replicas of Master Yoda. Hollywood Studios growing Star Wars presence could one day rival other local nerd magnet Universal Studios Orlando’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It will screen at premium IMAX and its 4DX screens, the state-of-the-art theaters equipped with motion-effects chairs and environmental effects tuned to the on-screen activity.

Garcia’s estimation for its first weekend is $8 million-$8.5 million, on a par with “Spanish Affair 2,” which notched up the best first-weekend bow of this year of $8.4 million. “’Star Wars’ could end up the year with around $22 million and a final cume of $37 million,” he told Variety. Two years later it screened a live transmission of a Genesis concert. “We intentionally call ourselves Vue Entertainment and not Vue Cinemas for exactly that reason,” Richards said. “We have assets in extraordinary locations.” It is understood that Justin King, the head of portfolio businesses at Terra Firma, which owns Odeon, wants to look at initiatives that can boost visitor numbers outside major film releases. The China release on Jan. 9 will be the last international opening, and will test of the power of international marketing to leak across Chinese borders. Imax, which shows films on large screens, enjoyed its best ever weekend of sales when Spectre opened and it is opening 130 new screens this year around the world.

That’s because the previous six “Star Wars” films were not released theatrically in China, meaning today’s key movie-going demographic should be relatively unaware of the franchise. But Jimmy Wu, chairman and CEO of the Lumiere Pavilions cinema chain, says there is both awareness and pent-up demand. “’Star Wars’ has a huge fan base in China. Fans have already been calling us to organize cosplay [costumed role-playing] events before and during the release of ‘Star Wars.’ They also organized people to review the series beginning from ‘Star Wars 4,’” Wu said. “The international hype will definitely help the promotion of the film in China. ” Wu’s fairly conservative prediction is that the film will gross RMB150m-RMB200m ($23.5-$31.3 million) in Chinese theaters, though it could well total considerably more. Total ticket pre-sales in Italy are estimated to be 100,000. “The gamble will be to attract teenagers,” who are new to the franchise, he pointed out.

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