Re­turn of the Jedis to screens thrills fans across the galaxy

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - ARTS & LIFE - By Sandy Cohen

LOS AN­GE­LES — Af­ter months of se­crecy and an­tic­i­pa­tion, Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens is thrilling fans and the­atre own­ers alike.

The most an­tic­i­pated film in the galaxy opened glob­ally Thurs­day, set­ting in­ter­na­tional and pre-sale box-of­fice records and de­light­ing movie­go­ers who’ve had open­ing-night tick­ets in hand for months.

Kelly An­drews, who wears her love of Star Wars on her skin in the form of Yoda and R2-D2 tat­toos, bought tick­ets in Oc­to­ber for the first show­ing at Hol­ly­wood’s clas­sic TCL Chi­nese The­atre, where the orig­i­nal Star Wars pre­mièred in 1977.

“It was out­stand­ing,” she said as she left the screen­ing Thurs­day night clutch­ing a shiny keep­sake pop­corn bin. “I cried happy tears. I cried sad tears. It was beau­ti­ful.”

She was among thou­sands of devo­tees who praised the space saga’s lat­est in­stal­ment. The film has re­ceived over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive re­views from crit­ics and fans in­ter­na­tion­ally.

All over the world, Star Wars en­thu­si­asts toted lightsabers and wore char­ac­ter cos­tumes to packed open­ing­night show­ings of The Force Awak­ens. They laughed and cheered and gasped to­gether, il­lu­mi­nat­ing their sabers in the the­atre dur­ing key scenes.

While do­mes­tic box-of­fice re­turns won’t be avail­able un­til later Fri­day, the Walt Dis­ney Co. said Thurs­day the film de­buted with $14.1 mil­lion from its first screen­ings in 12 in­ter­na­tional mar­kets. The largest was France, where the film earned $5.2 mil­lion. It set a one-day record in Nor­way and Swe­den.

More than $100 mil­lion in tick­ets have been pre-sold in North Amer­ica. The movie ticket ser­vice Fandango said it has al­ready sold more tick­ets for The Force Awak­ens than any movie over its en­tire the­atri­cal run.

Not ev­ery­one in the open­ing-night au­di­ence was daz­zled, though. Michael Danke of Los An­ge­les, who said his friend waited in line for 52 hours for their tick­ets, was dis­ap­pointed.

“I was kind of look­ing for­ward to a fu­tur­is­tic, bitchin’ movie, but it was an old Star Wars movie,” he said. “They did it old style.”

That nostal­gia worked for Tony Bren­nan, who said he “can’t get off of that high that I’m on” af­ter see­ing the film with the open­ing-night crowd in Hol­ly­wood.

“It’s definitely worth all the hype,” he said. “I like how they bring back the old quotes and old scenery and old peo­ple... It passed all of our expectations. I’m watch­ing it five, six, seven more times.”


Star Wars fans ap­pear sat­is­fied by their first view­ing of the new movie.

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