×

‘Star Wars’ Premiere: Fans, Security to Bring the Force

As befits a movie gunning to be the Biggest Ever, Monday’s Hollywood premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is shaping up to be bigger than big.

Crews on Friday shut down Hollywood Boulevard from Highland Avenue to La Brea Boulevard and began erecting a giant tent that appeared like it might stretch almost that distance. The space is being prepared to accommodate a giant party that will follow the 6:30 p.m. debut of the seventh installment in the space opera.

But this will not be just a standard showing at the TCL Chinese or El Capitan Theater. Instead, Disney has hired out both of those storied theaters and the adjacent Dolby Theater, sources say, to make room for a super-sized crowd of special invitees.

Security and crowd control will also be at Academy Award levels, with 50 uniformed officers patrolling the four-block stretch and the surrounding area, according to an LAPD official. By comparison, the premiere of “The Hateful Eight” a week prior at the Hollywood’s Arclight Cinerama Dome drew just four uniformed L.A. officers.

The company had to obtain a permit from L.A.’s Bureau of Street Services to close down the heavily-trafficked boulevard. It will pay for the cost of the extra police presence, as well, a city official said.

Three days prior to the kickoff, squads of fan boys and fan girls already dotted Hollywood Boulevard, particularly in front of the Chinese Theater. Many were there not just in anticipation of Monday night’s parade of stars but already waiting for the first public showings of “The Force Awakens,” which begin Thursday, Dec. 17. Even with most early tickets now purchased online, the “Star Wars” acolytes insisted on arriving early, to commune with their fellow space travelers.

Some of the fans on Friday made Jedi robes, while others knitted chain mail armor. Caroline Ritter and Andrew Porters of Australia looked forward to their Dec. 17 “Star Wars”-themed wedding, planned for the TCL Chinese’s famous forecourt. A Darth Vader character was scheduled to walk Ritter down the aisle, with a Storm Trooper honor guard looking on. As with all things “Star Wars,” there will be brand tie-ins: Baskin-Robbins will present a themed wedding cake, while Dunkin Donuts hosts pre-ceremony coffee and donuts.

Erik Murillo has been helping organize “Star Wars” camp-outs for the Starlight Children’s Foundation charity since 1999’s “The Phantom Menace,” when fans camped out for six weeks. “Not many people know, they think that we’re just sitting here camping out for Star Wars, but we decided to do the charity because why not?  Why not raise money and why not raise awareness of this great organization?,” he said, “We decided that it would be a great tradition to camp out for Star Wars, since it’s our favorite film.”

Fan Andrew Park is on his second day of camping out, and says he’s had his eye on J.J. Abrams for several years. “I go to Comic-con every year and in 2008 I actually took a selfie with J.J. Abrams when he was this little unknown director, when he was just working on the show called ‘Fringe.’ It’s cool to watch him take on Star Wars,” Park said.

Disney officials have been almost entirely mum about Monday’s extravagant opening, needing little extra promotional pop for a film that is the most anticipated in recent memory. Some pundits believe the film, also known as “Episode VII,” will eventually become the biggest box office winner in history, topping “Avatar’s,” nearly $2.8 billion.

Fans eager to read the first reviews of “The Force Awakens” will have to wait until Wednesday when the official embargo lifts at 12:01 a.m. PST.

Alyssa Sage contributed to this report.

Photos by Chelsea Lauren/REX Shutterstock

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

    Film News Roundup: Stephen King's 'Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon' Movie in the Works

    In today’s film news roundup, a Stephen King horror movie is in the works, “Downton Abbey” is seeing strong sales and a project about Revolutionary War soldier Deborah Sampson is in development. KING ADAPTATION Stephen King’s “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon” has been set up as a movie at George A. Romero’s Sanibel Films, [...]

  • Moviepass

    MoviePass Confirms Security Issue With Customer Records

    MoviePass, the struggling movie ticket subscription service, has confirmed a security issue may have exposed customers’ records. In a statement, MoviePass said Wednesday that the security lapse was recently discovered and its system was immediately secured. Reports of the data breach first surfaced Tuesday through the Tech Crunch site, which alleged that tens of thousands [...]

  • Matthew Modine

    Matthew Modine Accused of Violating Labor Laws With Campaign Videos

    Matthew Modine has been accused by SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris of violating federal laws in his campaign to unseat Carteris. The production of three campaign videos for Modine by the for-profit New York Film Academy — on whose board Modine sits — has been blasted by Carteris for alleged violations of federal labor law prohibiting [...]

  • Ready or Not Movie

    'Ready or Not,' 'Angel Has Fallen' Enter Box Office Race

    Three more contenders are joining what has lately been a hostile box office arena. Can anyone emerge from August victorious? Fox Searchlight’s “Ready or Not,” a black comedy about a diabolical game of hide-and-seek, will debut in 2,244 North American theaters on Wednesday. The low-budget film is expected to earn upwards of $6.5 million over [...]

  • Rules Don't Apply

    Warren Beatty and Arnon Milchan Settle Suit Over 'Rules Don't Apply' Flop

    Arnon Milchan and Warren Beatty have settled their two-year legal battle over the disastrous release of “Rules Don’t Apply,” Beatty’s period drama about Howard Hughes. Milchan’s attorneys have filed a notice with the court dismissing his suit against Beatty. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Milchan’s company, New Regency, sued Beatty and other investors [...]

  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends a

    Bolsonaro LGBTQI Outburst, Subsidy Freeze, Stirs Outrage

    Ramping up the drive into censorship in Brazil, its Minister of Citizenship, Omar Terra, has suspended a call for applications for governmental TV funding – until new criteria are established for its application. The country’s secretary for culture, Henrique Pires, who reports to Terra, has resigned in protest of the incentive freeze. The suspension, for [...]

  • Adam Brody'Ready or Not' film premiere,

    Adam Brody to Executive Produce, Star in 'The Kid Detective'

    “Ready or Not’s” Adam Brody has signed on to star in “The Kid Detective.” Sophie Nelisse will co-star in the dramedy from writer-director Evan Morgan. Brody will star as a once-celebrated kid detective, now 31, who continues to solve the same trivial mysteries between hangovers and bouts of self-pity until a 16-year-old client (Nelisse) brings [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content