Finally! Fans turn out for ‘The Force Awakens’ debut – Detroit Free Press
From her doughnut-shaped hair buns to her white gown, 7-year-old Cassidy KellyÂ of Commerce Township was aÂ Princess Leia look-alike as she waited for the first screening of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at Emagine Novi Thursday night.
What was her prediction for how good the film would be? “I’m pretty sure it’s going to be mind-blowing,” she saidÂ as her father, Rick Kelly, who’s been a fan since he was 7, too,Â looked on proudly.
“I was so stoked when she wanted to be Leia for Halloween,” he admitted.
There was no generation gap at the opening night of the new “Star Wars” movie, where plenty of parents brought children who’ve inherited the force of fandom.
“I created a mini-me ‘Star Wars’ geek,” said Jamie Reynolds, who dressed up as Luke Skywalker,Â of 8-year-old Walker Reynolds, who came as his dad’s character’s dad, Darth Vader.
And just to clarify, Walker is a family name, not a “Star Wars” reference.
The Emagine Novi wasÂ one of many metro DetroitÂ multiplexes celebrating the opening of the most-hyped movie in recent memory.Â Fourteen of its 18 screens were devoted to “The Force Awakens,” the J.J. Abrams continuation of the franchise that George Lucas built.
Crowds had gathered 90 minutes before the first 7 p.m. shows, withÂ seven group events being held byÂ businesses and community organizations. All the 7 p.m. shows were sold out, according to the Emagine staff, andÂ subsequent times were filling up quickly.
Reynolds hosted one of the events forÂ his Spillane & Reynolds orthodontics practice, Patients donated more thanÂ 5,000Â nonperishable food items and 400 toys for those in need in order to get tickets.
All the numbers seem big whereÂ “The Force Awakens” is concerned.Â It has already broken the record for most tickets sold by fandango.com for any previous movie’s entire run.
The seventh edition of the “Star Wars” sagaÂ also has broken the advance ticket record with more than $100 million. That’sÂ compared to theÂ previous holder “The Dark Knight Rises” with $25 million.
Predictions for its total weekend tally in North America range from $180 to $220 million, or more thanÂ most movies can imagine for their entire run.
Anticipation from longtime fans is fueling ticket sales. So are mostly glowing reviews.Â “That old “Star Wars”Â magic is back,” raved USA Today, giving it four out of four stars.
But several moviegoers in Novi said they had been purposely avoiding spoilers from reviews and social media.
“I just want to be amazed. I’ve stayed away from Facebook all week so I won’t find Â out anything,” said John Gabriel of Westland, who wore a mix of “Star Wars” Â garb and carried a Millennium Falcon model he’d handpainted for authenticity.
Local film producer Michael Angelo Zervos, a volunteer for a Northville Education Fund event, came dressed as Han Solo and remembered seeing the 1977 original “Star Wars” during a late 1990s re-release.’
“I begged my parents to go see it,” he recalled.
Plenty of tickets are left for screenings through the weekend, but theater owners advise going online and purchasing advance tickets to avoid showing up for a sold-out time.
Contact Detroit Free Press writer Julie Hinds: 313-222-6427 or firstname.lastname@example.org.