Harrison Ford Sneaked into a Preview of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and …

13 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Star Wars: Force Awakens’ Will Debut in 3D, A First for the Franchise.

LOS ANGELES – “Light or dark?” the woman asked a reporter. When Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens everywhere in the U.S. on Dec. 18, it will be the first film in the Star Wars franchise that will be presented in 3D during its original release.”Everyone on the crew would get excited,” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy told PEOPLE about filming the new movie with fan-favorite characters like Ford’s Han Solo. “You walk down to the Millennium Falcon [set], and you had the new characters doing a scene and in walks Chewie and Harrison. In 2012, Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace, first released in 2D in 1999, was converted to 3D and re-released, but then Disney tabled plans to re-release 3D versions of the second two films in the series.

We have the exclusive reveal of life-size building-block versions of Ridley’s scavenger character Rey and the roly-poly droid that are slated to appear on the red carpet next week. A select group of Australian fans were given the opportunity to watch 10 minutes of footage from the upcoming film – the plot of which has been kept largely under wraps – at the IMAX Theatre at Sydney’s Darling Harbour, but they had no clue that Harrison Ford was also in attendance. At one of the Hollywood Boulevard location — the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre, where the first “Star Wars” premiered in 1977 — fans are already camped out this weekend, eagerly awaiting their turn when the film opens for regular folks next Friday.

A floor-to-ceiling white curtain concealed the proceedings from passersby who might have wanted to take advantage of selfie ops with R2-D2, C-3PO, and their new robot pal BB-8. Abrams, at a recent junket, explained his decision to send out a 3D version, saying, “As someone who really hasn’t been the most vocal advocate of 3D, the strangest thing happened to me on this. And for more exclusive Star Wars news, come back to PEOPLE.com every day until it hits theaters Dec. 18 What lines did Ford come up with this time to Leia? She and several friends who drove up from Orange County wanted an out-of-this-world experience. “I need to see it in an epic place with people who are just as excited about ‘Star Wars’ as me,” said Dominguez, 32, who was among about 150 devotees in line at the Chinese on Friday, occasionally ducking under awnings to avoid a passing shower.

Hollywood is enamored with advance ticket sales, in part because they enable theater chains to glean detailed data about their customers’ tastes and moviegoing habits so that they can better program their schedules to meet consumer demand. When I was watching the reels in 3D, there were a number of shots — and I know this sounds insane — that I hadn’t understood in the three-dimensional space quite the way I did when I saw them in 2D. Advance sales also provide a vehicle for capturing email addresses, a precious commodity for any consumer business. “While it’s still a nascent piece of the overall business, it’s going to continue to become a bigger and bigger thing,” said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Burbank-based Disney. “Technology is going to continue to do more to build a relationship with consumers.” For the studios, early ticket sales help generate hype for hoped-for blockbusters and get an idea of how their movies will perform once they open. All the hoopla was a sideshow to the many interviews and photoshoots, as well as two press conferences (moderated by “Star Wars” fan Mindy Kaling), taking place throughout the cavernous building.

I had never felt that before.” Disney and Lucasfilm announced in late 2013 that Force Awakens would be available in 3D, and the movies’ format choices are now listed on marketing materials. This time, the theater operator is allowing them to camp out on top of the theater’s famous celebrity hand- and footprints, instead of along the sidewalk out front.

Advance sales for Universal’s February hit “Fifty Shades of Grey” helped stoke excitement among the film’s largely female fan base and gave couples and groups of friends an incentive to reserve seats before its opening over Valentine’s Day weekend. “Fifty Shades” was one of five Universal films this year that were among the top 10 advance ticket sellers. “We were able to use the availability of tickets and the early sales success to generate even more interest in the film,” said Nick Carpou, head of domestic distribution for Universal. “We were able to announce it and create that early heat.” There are other benefits too. Instead, Ford describes his time on set to PEOPLE, “It was fun to see some old friends, to be involved in something that I knew was much anticipated, to work with J.J., who brought great energy, passion and clear focus to the whole event.” Ford is similarly tight-lipped about his scenes alongside newcomers John Boyega (Finn) and Daisy Ridley (Rey). “They are very nice people, hard-working, intelligent actors, and they have created wonderful performances,” he says. The fans must log at least 24 hours in line to gain entry to the theater’s first public showing of the film, but those who spend more time in line will earn preferential seat selection.

When you pay for a ticket at the box office — and most people still do — you reveal little or no information about yourself and your moviegoing tastes. But when you buy an advance ticket with a credit card, you are giving theater chains or ticket services information such as email address, gender, date of birth and Zip Code. They can then use that information to target you for future promotions, based on how often you visit your neighborhood theater and what your preferences are. Even though the appetite for the format has waned in North America, it remains far more popular overseas. “It’s very rare that a big tentpole doesn’t have a 3D component. An invitation sent to members of the media Friday afternoon requested that they withhold from spoiling the film after seeing it for the first time Monday night and dress in “‘Star Wars'” chic” attire to the event.

At present, theaters and online ticketing companies say they don’t share all of their data with studios, although the largest online ticketer, Fandango, is owned by the same company — Comcast Corp. — that owns Universal Pictures. It’s especially popular overseas,” said Eric Handler of MKM partners. “Disney is a big fan of 3D film.” Three different formats of Force Awakens will play in Imax theaters. The vast majority of locations will offer Imax 3D, while 18 to 20 locations will play Imax 70mm film and another 18 to 20 theaters Imax will use laser project. John Jenal said the department is treating the premiere like other marquee events that take place on Hollywood Boulevard, including the Academy Awards.

Abrams shot one key sequence with Imax cameras, and anyone seeing the movie in an Imax location will see the movie expand to take up the entire screen during that sequence. Getting customers to plan their treks to the multiplex well ahead of time is increasingly important for exhibitors, who must compete with the growing number of entertainment options competing for people’s time and money, including sports, videos games, streaming services like Netflix and premium television.

To better compete, the major exhibitors in recent years have invested millions in making their theaters more of a draw to discerning consumers with reserved seating, remodeled stadiums and dine-in options. The stars of that film, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher, reprise their roles in “The Force Awakens.” The Rebel Alliance, now known as the Resistance, battles the evil First Order.

Afterward, the group will lead a parade of costumed revelers into the French Quarter, accompanied by a brass band playing a medley of “Star Wars” music. With the new “Star Wars,” for example, people have set aside tickets for screenings in January, weeks after the big opening. “We have people buying ‘Star Wars’ into 2016. It’s not just an opening-weekend phenomenon,” Yanover said. “It’s another indication there’s a very clear momentum for where the market’s moving.” Consumers like advance sales too because they can ensure that they have seats for opening night. Buying “seat insurance” was the motivation for Ramsey, whose husband is a “Star Wars” fanatic who has dedicated a section of their basement to the VHS tapes, toys and Pez dispensers from the franchise. “I’ve been shown the trailers over and over,” she said, referring to the previews of the upcoming “Star Wars” film. Imax Entertainment CEO Greg Foster said his company has been scheduling “Star Wars” showtimes at unusual times like 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. to satisfy the demand for tickets.

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