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Star Wars: Northern Ireland prepares for Episode VII The Force Awakens

Published 14/12/2015

Ready for the Dark Side? Fans are looking forward to seeing the new characters like Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. There has been unprecedented demand for the midnight shows at Movie House and many extra shows have been added to accommodate all the fans.
Ready for the Dark Side? Fans are looking forward to seeing the new characters like Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. There has been unprecedented demand for the midnight shows at Movie House and many extra shows have been added to accommodate all the fans.
Tickets are selling fast for the midnight shows of Star Wars at Movie House Cinemas at Dublin Road, Cityside and Coleraine. New character Kylo Ren will be joining in the excitement as he collects his tickets from Beth English and Declan Glasgow from Movie House Dublin Road.
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Cinemas in Northern Ireland are bracing themselves for what is expected to be the biggest film in history, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Movie goers in their droves have booked to be among the first to see the film open on Thursday.

Midnight screenings of the film, the seventh in the blockbusting series, are being hosted across the country.

Movie House Cinemas has 11 screening of the film from midnight, with more likely to be added to meet demand.

Read more: Star Wars: The Force Awakens to premiere in Hollywood

"It will be something the like of which we have never before seen," said Movie House managing director Michael McAdam.

"There have been others that have been massive - but nothing on this scale.

“I would anticipate this movie will run for weeks as many will opt to see it more than one time. We know it will continue to be popular throughout the Christmas and New Year period."

He added: "This is going to be a real experience movie and fans will want to see it on the big screen.

"We are using our biggest screens to give the best experience to customers and to try to keep up with demand, we will continually programme in additional screenings.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens character guide
Star Wars: The Force Awakens character guide
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will released in the UK on 17 December 2015
An image taken from the Star Wars YouTube channel of a scene from the trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
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The trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted on US TV
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits UK cinemas on December 17
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Millions of fans have taken to YouTube to watch the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer.
Millions of fans have taken to YouTube to watch the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer.
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A scene from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Excitement is building after the trailer of Star Wars: Episode VII —The Force Awakens
Stills from the forthcoming Star Wars film were released online
Stills from the forthcoming Star Wars film were released online
Stills from the forthcoming Star Wars film were released online
The cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens have a read through
The Force Awakens is due to come out next December
Harrison Ford broke his leg during filming on the new Star Wars movie, which is to be called The Force Awakens
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"All of the showings will take place just minutes after midnight, ensuring people who want to see the movie get the opportunity,” he added.

The latest instalment of the sci-fi epic doubled Odeon's previous record of pre-booked tickets set by Spectre, prompting the cinema group to launch its biggest ever logistical operation to cope with the huge crowds.

Demand for tickets was forecast to be so great that handling the surge has required months of planning akin to that seen for the World Cup or Queen's Jubilee, the cinema claimed.

The chain plans to hold nearly 5,000 screenings of the blockbuster during its opening weekend, with the first sell-out shows scheduled to start simultaneously in 113 Odeon cinemas nationwide at 12.01am on Thursday.

Read more: Star Wars 'old guard' made it like a school reunion, says Carrie Fisher

Die-hard fans hoping to see the film on the first night can still get tickets for screenings between 3am and 6am and tickets are still available for the following days.

Duncan Reynolds, managing director of Odeon UK & Ireland, said it is poised for a "24-hour operation" and has recruited 500 extra staff.

"We expect it to become the biggest film of all time, and (it) promises to be a landmark cinematic event," he said.

The chain expects "tens of thousands of guests" to fill seats across the country when screenings begin just hours after the stars attend the UK premiere in Leicester Square.

However it emerged earlier this week that fans who wear Darth Vader or Storm Trooper-style helmets may be barred entry at some cinemas.

An Odeon spokesman said guests were being "encouraged to dress up", but added that "the usual rules apply on decency".

That means no full-face helmets, switching lightsabres off when the film begins and not carrying props that resemble offensive weapons.

Odeon's Star Wars opening weekend by numbers:

  •  600,000 cartons of popcorn
  • 550,000 carbonated drinks
  • 500,000 cups of coffee
  • 300,000 Star Wars souvenirs (including cups, popcorn tins, posters, mugs, keyrings and stickers)
  • 180,000 portions of nacho cheese
  • 170,000 bottles of water
  • 100,000 cakes and pastries

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