“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” had some Minnesotans confessing Tuesday to shedding tears over the latest trailer — and fears that tickets may not be available for the Dec. 18 opening.
Tickets went on sale Monday night after a 2½-minute preview aired at halftime of the Giants-Eagles NFL game. Demand was so heavy that such ticketing sites as Fandango.com crashed temporarily.
Sellouts have been reported for many of the Thursday night preview showings Dec. 17, according to Reuters. AMC alone sold out 1,000 shows in less than 12 hours but noted that there are still nearly 4 million tickets available for opening weekend.
Laney Austin of Minneapolis was hovering online Tuesday to order tickets for the midnight premiere at the Showcase Icon theater in St. Louis Park. But another buyer snapped them up, so she settled for a Friday evening showing. She and her family ordered 20 tickets — still 17 shy of their haul for the final “Harry Potter” premiere. They plan to invite friends.
“It appeals to all generations,” said Austin, 27, of the “Star Wars” franchise. “My dad is really excited, too, because he was around when the original ones came out, so this has mass appeal.”
“The Force Awakens,” directed by J.J. Abrams, will be the seventh installment in the series — and the first since Disney purchased the Lucasfilm franchise in 2012 for $4.05 billion.
It is expected to easily break the $100 million barrier for opening-weekend ticket sales in North America.
“I guarantee you that record is going to fall, and it’s going to fall hard, given the amount of excitement surrounding this movie,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Rentrak senior media analyst.
Imax theaters alone have sold more than $6.5 million for U.S. screenings, Reuters reported Tuesday.
“It’s a cultural phenomenon, and for a lot of people it is the movie where they fell in love with cinema,” Dergarabedian said of the series launched by George Lucas in 1977.
The trailer had nearly 17 million views on YouTube by late Tuesday afternoon, and it was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter.
Fandango.com has not yet posted regional ticket sales numbers, and a representative at Minnesota-based chain Muller Family Theaters said they have not yet counted their sales.
“We have to brace ourselves for quite the December releases of this movie,” Dergarabedian said. “It even more instills in people the necessity, and the great experience, of seeing a movie in a movie theater.”