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.

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