Australian 'Star Wars' Fans Ready for Midnight Screenings

Brendon Thorne/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios

The country's largest exhibitor Hoyts will run screenings of 'The Force Awakens' back to back for the first 24 hours on its 340 screens

Pre-sale tickets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens have been in huge demand Down Under, with major multiplexes scheduling 24 hours of back to back screenings of the seventh episode in the galactic franchise from 12.01 a.m. local time on Thursday, Dec. 17, meaning Australian audiences will be amongst the first in the world to see the film.

Expectations are high that local opening day and weekend records will be broken, with the country’s three major exhibitors reporting advance ticket sales of $4 million (AUS$5.5 million) two weeks ago, according to local reports. The current opening weekend record holder is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which made $13.2 million (AUS$18.3 million) in 2011. 

Hoyts, the largest exhibitor in the country, said Tuesday that it has scheduled 7,000 sessions for the opening week from midnight on Thursday. All its 340 screens will open from midnight.

Disney in Australia won’t comment on pre-sale numbers, nor on the number of screens the film will open on. That’s expected to be in excess of 750 or a third of Australian screens. But the distributor was buoyed by the success of its “fan event” on Dec. 10 in Sydney, which replaced the traditional red carpet premiere. Instead 3,500 fans bought tickets to a Q&A and meet and greet session with star Harrison Ford, which took place on the Sydney Opera forecourt. VIPs invited to the event were shown a nine minute sneak peek of the film, and so far, no spoilers.

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