Fans hail Star Wars' return to old magic
AFTER a wait of 10 years and months of secrecy surrounding the film's plot, some Star Wars fans finally caught the world premiere of the next instalment in the hugely popular sci-fi saga, The Force Awakens, on Monday. And many were more than pleased.
"Everything I've dreamed of. It is absolutely fantastic," fan Brandon Jackson said.
"I want to tell you everything but I can't, because I can't do that, but it was awesome. It was amazing, it was everything that we've been waiting for. You won't be disappointed."
The story of The Force Awakens, directed by J. J. Abrams, follows on from a trilogy of films which began in 1977.
There was a set of prequel movies between 1999 and 2005, widely seen as a disappointment.
But fans at the Monday screening in Los Angeles said the magic was back.
"The look and the feel of the film is like the old trilogy. It felt like home," fan Mike Senna said. "It felt warm and fuzzy. It was really good. J. J. and his crew did so well."
The Force Awakens stars old hands Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill as well as newcomers Daisy Ridley and John Boyega.
Its plot has been shrouded in secrecy for months, with few details revealed except for some broad character outlines.
Reviews of the film could be published only after 4pm yesterday, Singapore time, when the first screenings were to begin in France and elsewhere.
More than half a million people have pre-booked tickets in France alone for Abrams' two-and-a-half-hour epic, which is reputed to go back to the story's roots.
So keen are some American fans to see the seventh episode that a dozen are paying up to US$5,000 (S$7,050) to fly to Paris to see the film 48 hours before it comes out at home.
"It was a very emotional and crazy movie, perfect and awesome. I loved the cast and the shots were great, so was the sound," young fan Cole Dickey said. "There was a lot of drama and I thought it was a really great movie."
Early praise for The Force Awakens gave a boost to shares of Walt Disney and Electronic Arts, which recently launched a video game based on the franchise.
On Tuesday, shares of Walt Disney rose 3.75 per cent while Electronic Arts, which last month released its Star Wars Battlefront video game after three years of development, jumped 5.26 per cent.
This was despite Electronic Arts' multiplayer shooter receiving less-than-stellar reviews and retailer GameStop last week cutting its price for the product.
"Healthy chatter after the industry premiere on (Monday) night in Los Angeles may have motivated some traders," said JBL Advisors analyst Jeffrey Logsdon, who covers Disney.
It could gross US$2.8 billion worldwide, he wrote in a note to clients. That would put it in the same league as all-time top grosser Avatar, distributed by Fox in 2009.
Creator George Lucas, who sold the Star Wars franchise to Disney in 2012 for some US$4 billion, was honoured at Monday's premiere, receiving a standing ovation from the audience.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in Singapore today