'Star Wars' Premiere Street Closures Are "Bigger Than the Oscars"
Four blocks of Hollywood Blvd. — from Highland Ave. to La Brea Ave. — were already closed to traffic on Thursday night at 11 p.m.
While the Star Wars: The Force Awakens world premiere doesn't take place in Hollywood until Monday night, the construction of a massive tent on Hollywood Blvd. is already underway.
Four blocks of the iconic street — from Highland Ave. to La Brea Ave. — were already closed to traffic on Thursday night at 11 p.m. On Friday, a large white tent was being erected on the boulevard, which hosts the famous Hollywood stars on its sidewalk.
As construction continued on Friday afternoon, traffic officers stood on either end of Highland and La Brea, to direct and divert cars to the marked detours, while police officers patrolled the sidewalks, walking through groups of tourists.
"This is definitely bigger than the Oscars," one production manager told THR Friday. The Oscars, held at the end of February, close down one block on Hollywood Blvd., from Highland Ave. to Orange Dr.
Disney and Lucasfilm have not officially told guests which theaters will be used in Hollywood for the premiere. The blocks of Hollywood Blvd. that are closed include three: The Dolby (where the Oscars are held), El Capitan Theater and the TCL Chinese Theater.
In spite of the street closure, the sidewalks on Hollywood Blvd. will remain open through the weekend, allowing foot access to all businesses along that stretch. Public parking at the Hollywood & Highland center also remains open. However some shop owners tell THR that they plan to be closed on Monday, when the actual premiere takes place.
On Friday, street performers on Hollywood Blvd. were already capitalizing on the Star Wars hysteria. A guitar player strummed an acoustic version of the famous John Williams score, while a balloon artist made "lightsabers" for children, which looked less like force-powered weaponry and more like regular swords.
The group of Star Wars fans that has been camping out in front of the TCL Chinese theater since Dec. 5 plan to stay there until a 7 p.m. Dec. 17 screening of the J.J. Abrams-directed franchise film. They will have to move for the premiere, but the TCL theater will hold their camping equipment until they are allowed to return.
According to camper Caroline Ritter, they will be allowed back into the TCL courtyard to sleep late on Monday night, from midnight until 6 a.m.
It was not easy to sleep on Wednesday night, when the setup for the premiere first began, but the campers didn't mind too much. Ritter said: "Lucasfilm bought us pizza, so that was nice."