Dozens of Star Wars fans lined up outside the Met Cinema in Oakhurst on Thursday, many before 8 a.m., to be first to see “The Force Awakens,” which opens at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The seventh episode in the Star Wars series is all but sure to astound fans such as Roy Kline, 67, who entered a theater in 1977 to watch the first movie, “A New Hope.”
“Oh I’m very excited,” said Kline, who got in line at 7:30 a.m. to be first for a ticket. “I’ve seen all the other ones so I’m very anxious to see this one.”
Kline, waiting in line for a ticket for himself and his wife to the 7 p.m. showing, joked that many of the others behind him were “the youngsters.”
“Or the gamers as I like to call them,” Kline said as he joined in laughter with the younger fans behind him. “But there’s going to be nothing wrong with this movie for any of us, you can believe that.”
At the Met Cinema, owner Matt Sconce said a costume contest will be held throughout the evening as judges pick the most stalwart Star Wars fans, once theaters open for seating at 5:30 p.m.
That fan will win a $34.95 gift card to the Met Cinema, Sconce said, while another will be chosen through random draw by ticket stub to win a model of BB-8, the new droid that may become a huge favorite like R2-D2 in the original films.
“I’m like a giant Star Wars fan,” Sconce said. “I’m super excited the new episode is coming while I own a theater, which is great. I think people are really going to like it.
“I’ve never seen a line like that,” he added of the dozens there to pick up reserve tickets. “I think it will be even bigger when we get ready for seating.”
Within an hour of initially releasing reserve tickets, both for monthly members and new custimers, more than 215 were sold, Sconce said.
Those tickets will be available throughout the day, though three theaters have a combined total 546 maximum capacity, and only 15 can be purchased by any one customer.
Contest winners will be announced at 6:45 p.m. and 6:55 p.m., five minutes before the movie starts at 7 p.m.
The Met Cinema offers monthly memberships ranging from $19.95 for individuals to $34.95 for two people, which allows to watch any movies any number of times throughout the month.
Day passes are also available for $16, with guest tickets for both day passes or members $7 a person.
Details: movieheroes.com, (559) 683-3456.
The Force rises
“The Force Awakens” is sure to earn numerous records, as it shattered the standards for advanced ticket sales with more than $100 million sold, per CBS News, quadrupling the record set by “The Dark Knight Rises” with $25 million in 2012.
The first day of its presale tickets, Oct. 19, even shut down internet servers as websites couldn’t keep up with demand.
The film picks up after the end of “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi,” where the evil Galactic Empire’s attempt to construct a second world-destroying Death Star have been foiled by the Rebel Alliance.
Key characters from the original films, including Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia Organa, and others will make their reappearance in the new film, along with a new cast that’s already delighted reviewers.
“I’m really excited to see a lot of the old characters, like Han Solo and Chewbacca,” said Josh Willis.
When asked whether the new trilogy will have its own “I am your father” moment that was key to the original three films, Willis said he couldn’t wait.
“I think it’s going to have some kind of cliffhanger,” Willis said. “I don’t know what to expect, and that’s part of the fun.”