Movies are digital now and are downloaded at the theater. The films are then accessed with a digital key.
Even though "Star Wars" opened on Friday, December 18 there were "preview" screenings starting at 7 p.m. Thursday night. (It's unclear why they didn't just say the movie opened on the 17th...)
Disney, the studio responsible, sent out explicit instructions that the theaters could not access the films with the key except for a quality control screening attended by 1 or 2 people, specifically the projectionist and a manager. If they violate this rule they would lose the rights to all future Disney films. Or something along those lines.
The employee screening WAS after midnight on Thursday: it started at 1:30 a.m.
Well, midnight is one thing but watching a movie from 1:30 to about 4 a.m.? (Thor, who is young and sleeps odd hours already, went to it.) And I had a doctor's appointment on Friday morning so my only option was to see a showing at some other time.
Thor said it would be no problem getting a ticket as it was showing on at least 6 screens. So he got me a ticket for Thursday at 8:30 p.m. This meant standing in line by myself starting at 6:30 as ticket holders wrapped around the outside of the theater, something I don't think I'd done since my college years. (CPA Boy was at his company's Christmas dinner.)
It's funny how things change with the passing of years. As high school and college students we thought nothing of crowds or standing in long lines for movies on opening night. But then you just don't have the patience for that anymore. You go to the movie whne the crowds have died down or you just wait for it to come out on DVD.
But this was "Star Wars", something that really goes back to my high school and college years. I saw the first movie in 1978 because that's when it got to our theater in the small town I then lived in.
In fact, there's a famous family story about seeing "Star Wars". We all went and my parents, as was there preference, sat in the back rows while Everest and I --- who had already seen the movie once already --- sat down towards the middle of the theater. I think K2, who was only 7 or 8 at the time, sat with my parents. The movie began and then a voice yelled, "SHUT THE HELL UP OR GET THE HELL OUT!"
Ev and I hunched lower in our seats because we recognized Pops' voice. A couple of young teen girls were sitting in front of my parents and the girls kept talking once the movie started. They got up and moved to different seats after Pops' comment.
I saw "The Empire Strikes Back" about half a dozen times during the summer of 1980 and a bunch of us cut college classes to see "Return of the Jedi" when it opened. So I have loved these movies since the 1970s! (I skipped the prequel movies though I know the general plots.)
You'll notice my ticket is for a senior. Um, thanks Thor? It was definitely cheaper as movies cost $10 now. (Since Thor is an employee we can get into movies for free but not on opening weekends. But "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is an exception and can't be seen for free for a whole month.)
I definitely got misty-eyed when the "Star Wars" logo and music started. I knew no spoilers going in besides the names of most of the new characters and the actors portraying them. I am very glad to have seen it early as there are major spoilers EVERYWHERE on entertainment-related web sites.
So to avoid spoilers I had to see the new one as soon as possible because I read things on several entertainment-related sites! I really loved it and will probably see it again at some point, assuming CPA Boy wants to go. (Or I'll see it for free in a month!) He's more into Jennifer Lawrence films and we still need to see the final "Hunger Games" film. "Star Wars" or JLaw? I think I know which one he wants to see first!