‘Rogue One’ pre­miere brings the Force back to Hol­ly­wood

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Fans cheered wildly Saturday as the star-stud­ded world pre­miere of the hotly an­tic­i­pated “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” con­tin­ued the space saga af­ter the last episode shat­tered box of­fice records. The $200 mil­lion spin-off is ex­pected to be the hottest ticket of 2016, record­ing the sec­ond-high­est first day of do­mes­tic pre-sales ever, be­hind last year’s “The Force Awak­ens.” Po­lice cor­doned off the area around the Pan­tages Theater in Hol­ly­wood host­ing al­most 3,000 guests, set­ting up me­tal de­tec­tors and de­ploy­ing scores of of­fi­cers and snif­fer dogs.

“I feel hon­ored to be part of this fam­ily, and by that I mean the fans, not just the film­mak­ers,” British ac­tor Riz Ahmed, who stars as pi­lot Bodhi Rook, told AFP ahead of the screen­ing. “They are what keep this alive. And it’s them that we’re all look­ing to, to gauge how we’ve done. I re­ally feel proud of the film, and I hope they con­nect with it too.” Set just be­fore “A New Hope”the orig­i­nal 1977 film-Gareth Ed­wards’s “Rogue One” stars Felic­ity Jones as rebel Jyn Erso along­side Diego Luna, Don­nie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen and For­est Whi­taker.

Jyn-a delin­quent with a string of con­vic­tions for forgery, as­sault and theft-is re­cruited by the Rebel Al­liance for a mis­sion to de­stroy a planet-sized weapon of mass de­struc­tion re­cently named the Death Star. Mikkelsen told AFP it felt “sur­real” to be part of the iconic saga, hav­ing grown up with the orig­i­nal tril­ogy.

“Peo­ple will be sur­prised that we did a grit­tier film than the for­mer ones, and more char­ac­ter driven,” he said.

‘Per­fect film’

As well as the cast and crew, celebri­ties in­clud­ing ac­tors Michael Dou­glas and Chris­tian Bale, as well as mav­er­ick film­maker Kevin Smith, walked the red car­pet ahead of the screen­ing. The in­ter­ga­lac­tic tale of good ver­sus evil, friend­ship, loy­alty and love cre­ated a defin­ing mo­ment in the his­tory of popular cul­ture, and launched one of the big­gest movie fran­chises ever. The orig­i­nal “Star Wars” (1977) and its 1980 se­quel “The Em­pire Strikes Back” turned Har­ri­son Ford, Car­rie Fisher and Mark Hamill-who play its he­roes Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Sky­walker-into Hol­ly­wood’s big­gest stars.

“I love ‘Star Wars’ be­cause it’s a gate­way drug, but ‘Em­pire’ is a per­fect film, a top five movie of my life­time,” “Chas­ing Amy” and “Clerks” di­rec­tor Smith, 46, told AFP. Ex­cite­ment around the “Rogue One” pre­miere had been build­ing for days as the en­vi­rons of the Pan­tages were closed to traf­fic to make way for a huge mar­quee and a full size model of an X-Wing fighter, parked in the street. Ear­lier in the day par­ody “Rogue Won: A Cul­ture War” posters ap­peared at bus shel­ters and benches around Hol­ly­wood, fea­tur­ing Pres­i­dent-elect Donald Trump as the hero of the piece.

Ear­lier in the week a #DumpS­tarWars hash­tag be­gan trending on Twit­ter af­ter one user made the claim-strongly de­nied by Dis­ney-that the movie had been reshot to in­clude an anti-Trump mes­sage. The cam­paign ap­peared not to have reached scores of fans who lined up to catch a glimpse of the “Rogue One” cast, sev­eral in the out­fits of their favorite char­ac­ters.

‘Awe­some’

“My hus­band is a col­lec­tor. He owns 65,000 pieces. Jyn Erso is a great fe­male char­ac­ter. I love that they have in­cor­po­rated fe­male char­ac­ters with great lead­er­ship,” said Anne Jenk­ins, 48, of Kansas City. “Rogue One” is part of an at­tempt to re­vi­tal­ize the fran­chise since Dis­ney bought Lu­cas­film in 2012, when it was still reel­ing from grim re­views for the much-ma­ligned 1999-2005 pre­quel tril­ogy. The idea was to bring out a se­quel tril­ogy with a movie ev­ery other year-start­ing with “The Force Awak­ens” in 2015 — and in­ter­sperse those re­leases with an “an­thol­ogy tril­ogy” of one­off, stand­alone movies in the even years.

J.J. Abrams’s “The Force Awak­ens,” made $2 bil­lion to be­come 2015’s big­gest re­lease, the most suc­cess­ful Dis­ney mo­tion pic­ture and the third-high­est gross­ing movie of all time. Pun­dits ex­pect “Rogue One” to open at $130-$150 mil­lion, some way be­hind the $248 mil­lion de­but week­end for “The Force Awak­ens,” and end up with a fi­nal global to­tal around $1.4 bil­lion.

The pre­miere will be fol­lowed by a global roll­out tak­ing in 11 coun­tries be­gin­ning on Wed­nes­day be­fore the film gets a wide US re­lease on Fri­day.

“This is what the pre­quels should have been all along,” TV host and film critic Scott Mantz told AFP af­ter the screen­ing. “I thought it was awe­some. I thought it was clever the way they tied the orig­i­nal ‘Star Wars’ in with this... I ac­tu­ally felt like this was a more en­ter­tain­ing and re­ward­ing ‘Star Wars’ ex­pe­ri­ence than ‘The Force Awak­ens.’” — AFP

The cast of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at the World Pre­miere at The Pan­tages The­atre on Saturday, in Hol­ly­wood, CA, where Nis­san de­buted their new Star Wars Lim­ited Edi­tion Nis­san Rogue. —AP pho­tos

Jaime King ar­rives at the world pre­miere of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”.

Isa­iah Crews, left, and Terry Crews jump as they ar­rive at the world pre­miere of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”.

Char­ac­ters from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” ap­pear at the film’s world pre­miere.

Dy­lan Michael Dou­glas, from left, Michael Dou­glas and Carys Zeta Dou­glas ar­rive at the world pre­miere of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”.

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