Thursday, December 17, 2015

Hundreds pack in for Star Wars movie marathon in Southgate

Fans as young as 10 were among those waiting in line at 3:30 a.m. this morning to rush into the MJR
Theater in Southgate.
In all more than 300 fans waited in line, up to four hours, for the right to be among the first to see “Episode VII” also known as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
PHOTOS: Star Wars fans attend movie marathon
The hitch? About 16 hours of movies prior to the screening of the newest installment of the series.
The fans were waiting outside for the right to be among the first to see “The Phantom Menace” which was originally released in 1999 and is almost universally hated among fans of the franchise.
The theater was showing all seven numbered installments of the franchise, skipping out only on the animated release called “The Clone Wars” that bridges the gap between the original and prequel trilogies in the saga.
First among those in line were St. Clair Shores residents Ken and Amy Willard. They arrived at the theater around midnight, in full costume. Ken was wearing Mandalorian Armor designed to look like iconic bounty hunter Boba Fett, while Amy was wearing a Princess Leia Organa costume.
“It’s a once in a lifetime experience,” Ken said. “You just have to do it.”
Despite the first three films being shown generally being the least popular the fans didn’t mind getting up that early.
“It’s been 10 years since we’ve had a movie in theater,” Lincoln Park resident Andrew Aben said. “Plus I can just sleep through 'Attack of the Clones' if I have to.”
Aben was seeing the marathon with Dearborn resident Devin Crawford.
“Yeah it’s almost 24 hours of movies,” Crawford said, “but this is about the experience. You have to see them all in order.”
RELATED: 7 Star Wars toys expected to be hot after "The Force Awakens."
For some fans seven movies weren’t enough. Several had tickets to the marathon, and also a ticket to the 10 p.m. showing of the newest release.
“I know I’m going to love it,” Southgate resident Thomas Weid said. “I’ll be happy to see it again right away.”
Those who were seeing the marathon and the second screening were in for about 22 hours at the theater.
“Hopefully it’s worth it,” Flat Rock resident Sarah West said. “This is the first time I’ve seen ‘Star Wars’ in a theater.”
Among the youngest in the audience was 10-year-old Ethan Schmidt of Gibraltar, he was there with his dad Erik.
Ethan cited “The Phantom Menace” as his favorite film in the saga.
“I like the end with all the fights,” he said. “Darth Maul is my favorite character.”
Erik said that despite most people calling “The Empire Strikes Back” as their favorite, his favorite is “The Return of the Jedi.”
“That’s the first movie I have real memories of seeing in theater,” he said. “My father and I saw it together.”
Schmidt was excited to share the newest trilogy with son, Ethan.
“The Force Awakens” smashed records with more than $100 million in pre-sale tickets for opening weekend, and was on track to gross more than $200 million in its opening weekend. The previous record for pre-sale tickets was “The Dark Knight” which sold about $25 million before its release.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

“Star Wars” marathon begins Thursday at MJR Southgate Digital Cinema 20

The MJR Southgate Digital Cinema 20, 15651 Trenton Road, Southgate, will show a marathon of all
six previous “Star Wars” movies in chronological order beginning at 4 a.m. Thursday. The viewing will start with 1999’s “Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace” and end with 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.”

Costumes are allowed at the marathon, which costs $50. If moviegoers do not want to see all six movies yet want to see others, they still have to pay $50. For questions or further information about the marathon, call the MJR Southgate at 734-284-3456.

Theaters put limits on costumes at new ‘Star Wars’ movie

For many, Christmas will come early this year when the hotly anticipated “Star Wars: The Force
Awakens” opens worldwide this weekend.
The long-awaited seventh installment in filmmaker George Lucas' beloved space opera that began with 1977’s “Star Wars” – his love letter to the matinee serials he loved as a child that changed the way movies are made and spawned a gigantic merchandising empire – is predicted to dominate the box office for the next two weeks at the very least and gross $2 billion before its theatrical run ends. Tickets have been on sale since Oct. 19.
Across metro Detroit, theaters are gearing up for a busy weekend and are cracking down on costumes. In the case of Cinemark and AMC Theatres, both are allowing costumes but within reason. Movie-goers cannot wear masks and face-paint, nor wield toy weapons such as blasters (laser pistols) or lightsabers. However, AMC is allowing lightsabers.
“AMC does not permit weapons or items that would make other guests feel uncomfortable or detract from the movie-going experience,” the Leawood, Kan., theater chain says on its website.
“Guests are welcome to come dressed in costume, but we do not permit masks. In short, bring your lightsaber, turn it off during the movie, and leave the blaster and Darth Vader mask at home.”
This is a safety factor, said Tahli Montgomery, the supervisor on duty at the AMC Star Fairlane 21 at the Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn.
According to Montgomery, if movie-goers are wearing a mask or face-paint, they will be asked to remove it. If they have to be asked more than once, they will then be asked to leave the premises. Likewise, if they are seen with toy weapons they will be asked to return them to their car; if they refuse, they will then be asked to leave the premises, as well.
Mike Mihalich, the founder/CEO of MJR Digital Cinemas in Bloomfield Hills, said the nine MJR theaters in Michigan, including the MJR Southgate Digital Cinema 20, will allow movie-goers to wear costumes to “The Force Awakens” on Thursday only. However, no masks, face-paint and toy weapons will be allowed.
“This is a different kind of deal,” Mihalich said. “This is going to be the biggest grossing film in a long, long time – maybe ever – so we’ll let people (wear costumes) on Thursday. This is an exception.”
The MJR Southgate is having a marathon of all six “Star Wars” movies – “Star Wars,” 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back,” 1983’s “Return of the Jedi,” 1999’s “Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” 2002’s “Star Wars – Episode II: Attack of the Clones,” and 2005’s “Star Wars – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” – beginning at 4 a.m. Thursday. (See sidebar for more details.). Costumes will be allowed at the marathon, Mihalich said.
RELATED: 7 toys expected to blow up after the release of Episode VII However, once the Thursday screenings are over, costumes will not be allowed at any MJR location, he said.
The policy on MJR's website says: "Costumes, masks or like attire is not permitted in the theater."
Mihalich said the reason for that also is a safety factor.
Theaters across the nation have increased safety protocols and banned costumes as a result of a mass shooting at a movie theater July 20, 2012, at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
The shooting took place at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., when graduate student James Eagan Holmes went on a rampage. Holmes, whose hair was dyed to resemble the Joker was dressed in body armor, was convicted of killing 12 people and wounding 70. On Aug. 24, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In addition to following theater rules about costumes, movie-goers are asked to leave their cell phones in their cars or turn them off completely during the screenings. If caught on their cell phones, they will be asked once to silence them; if they are asked again, they will be asked to leave the premises.
Montgomery encourages movie-goers to come early and asks for them to be patient.
“It’ll be pretty busy,” he said. “People need to get here early. We’re talking 30 minutes before the movie starts; there’ll be long lines. If you’re coming to a 7 p.m. show, get here at 6:30 p.m.”
Mihalich advises movie-goers to purchase tickets online to minimize waiting in long lines. Movie-goers shouldn’t avoid “The Force Awakens” this weekend if they don’t believe they’ll get a seat. Mihalich said MJR will open up other auditoriums to accommodate more screenings.
“We’re playing on lots of screens, and there’s lots of seats available,” he said. “Digital today is certainly more flexible than 35 mm films. This might be the highest-grossing film of the last 10 years.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (Rated PG-13) opens nationwide Friday, with some screenings Thursday evening. Check local listings for showtimes.

Originally written for republished with permission.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The 7 hottest Star Wars toys and collectibles just in time for Episode VII

“The Force” is about to awaken more than just on movie screens.
The seventh film in the “Star Wars” saga (Actually the eighth theatrically released film after the 2008 animated “The Clone Wars”) is set to drop Nov. 18, at which point Star Wars merchandise is expected to skyrocket in interest and value.
PHOTOS: Star Wars merchandise to own before the release of "The Force Awakens"
Quick Stop Comic Shop co-owner Dennis Barger, the self-proclaimed “king of the nerds” picked out seven pieces of merchandise he expects to be among the most sought after by Friday.
Among his criteria, he chose both new and vintage items, and items from price points that should be affordable to all level of collectors.
Check out Barger’s selections in the video below.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

In other news, Barger ages again

Not all is right in the comic book world, something is amiss.
Normally characters from the pages of comics near and far don't age (unless it's in a splinter universe, or advances the plot.), however on this day, the second of December, year of our lord 2015, one such character has aged by an entire year.
That's right lads and lasses, Dennis L. Barger, Jr., co-owner of Quick Stop Comic Shop admitted via a Facebook notification that he was in fact born, and continues to age.
Make no mistake, the self-anointed "King of all the geeks" is definitely a character of epic proportions, but he continues to break all the rules and not follow the well-known tropes of his genre of pop-culture.
Anyone that knows the man, knows its mostly myth and legend, but on this day hundreds of friends, coworkers, acquaintances and other people he vaguely knows reached out and told him "Happy Birthday," in one way or another. Some simply with the words, others with topless photos of Bea Arthur (who ironically enough is having a career resurgence because of it.). It's unclear if those are related.
Barger had an outpouring of support not seen since any other person with a similar number of Facebook friends also celebrated their own birthday

*Editor's note, this is a barely modified version of the post from his birthday last year.