Why Air France's 'Star Wars' Promo Got Grounded

Airfrance - H 2015
<p><span data-scayt_word="Airfrance" data-scaytid="1">Airfrance</span> - H 2015</p>   |   Getty Images
The airline offered fliers an exclusive deal to catch 'The Force Awakens' in France two days before its U.S. premiere on Dec. 18 — without letting Disney or Lucasfilm know.

A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Feel that disturbance in the Force? It's as if dozens of Air France executives cried out in terror and were silenced suddenly. On Nov. 2, the airline announced a "Flight & Cinema" promotion on its website — under a Star Wars logo — offering fans a chance to fly to France and catch The Force Awakens two days before J.J. Abrams' movie hits U.S. theaters on Dec. 18 (in some European cities, it opens Dec. 16).

The $1,500-$2,000 promotion included an economy flight from San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York to Paris on Dec. 15; transportation to EuropaCorp Cinemas; and a ticket to the film. Trouble is, nobody at Air France let Disney or Lucasfilm know about the airline's tie-in, sources say. The airline is of course not the first company to jump in and try to make some cash off of the fanboy fervor surrounding the film, but most products (including Covergirl and HP) have official partnerships with Lucasfilm.

By Nov. 4, the logo was no longer on Air France's promotional website, and all of Air France's tweets about the Star Wars package had been deleted.

While it may have been unsanctioned, the promotion is still available online as of Nov. 11. Air France had no comment.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens features original stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher alongside Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis and Domhnall Gleeson. For those not willing to fork over the cash to fly to France, it will hit theaters in the U.S. on Dec. 18.