Local News

Star Wars 'Forces' Fans to Ticket Windows

Posted May 11, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— There were long lines at movie theaters Wednesday. Fans had been camped out since Tuesday night to buy tickets for the newStar Warsmovie"Episode One, The Phantom Menace."Now they have to wait for opening day.

At least 350 people waited in line outside theRaleigh Grande, playing monopoly, frisbee, even crocheting.

The manager said he had never seen anything like it.

"I've been in this business 17 years, and this is the first time I've seen an outcome this strong," said theater manager Mark Leonard.

"It's a devotion thing," said fan Darren O'Connor. "I love 'Star Wars' that much."

Fans entertained themselves with music and dancing and light saber duels. Some people napped. And everyone was fed by an ice cream truck that stopped by to sell snacks to the captive crew.

"There is music and dancing and frisbee, even light saber duels. Okay, so we are geeks," said one fan.

Many say the waiting is worthwhile, because the experience is not just about the movie.

"This is an event," fan Sean Fannon said. "This is one of those things if you look back ten years and go, 'Yeah, I was there when we camped out.' Some people have Woodstock; we have 'Star Wars.'"

Tickets went on sale at 3 p.m. and can be purchased until May 27. The movie opens May 19.

The Raleigh Grande will show the film on five screens; each of the theatres seats about 250 people. The theatre plans to show the film 21 times the first day.