Tickets for the opening night of “Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” on Thursday, Dec. 17, have been selling at a record pace, but there still are seats available to be among the first to see the latest movie in the “Star Wars” franchise.
The movie, directed by J.J. Abrams, will open this weekend on a minimum of 55 theater screens in the central San Joaquin Valley. The number continued to grow as the movie’s early screening day draws closer. (“The Force Awakens” officially opens on Friday, Dec. 18, but early screenings start at 7 p.m. the night before.) There were 46 early screenings for “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.”
Neil Pearlmutter, vice president of Santa Rosa Entertainment Group, owners of the Sierra Vista Cinemas 16, compared the interest in this movie to what the company saw for the last “Harry Potter” movies and offerings in the “Hunger Games” series.
The six screens being devoted to “The Force Awakens” at the Clovis movie complex are the most for any movie since the theater complex opened.
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“The Force Awakens” will be shown on nine screens at Edwards; six screens at Maya Fresno & MPX; six at Sierra Vista Cinemas 16; five screens at Manchester; and two at Broadway Faire.
“It’s definitely the highest interest and excitement we have seen in a while,” Pearlmutter said.
Lawrence J. Porricelli, Maya Cinemas vice president, described the sales as very brisk since the theater was allowed to start selling tickets in late October.
You have waited too long if you were planning on seeing the film on the IMAX screen at Edwards Fresno Stadium 22 theaters on opening night. The screenings on the massive screen at 7 and 10:30 p.m. plus the 1:55 a.m. showing are sold out.
If you like to stay up late or get up really early, though, there are tickets for the 5:20 a.m. screening Friday morning. If you opt for the 8:30 a.m. screenings this Friday-Sunday at the Maya Cinemas Fresno 16, the theater will be serving up cinnamon rolls to patrons.
The IMAX screenings aren’t the only theaters where all the tickets for the latest edition in the “Star Wars” franchise are gone. Eight of the screenings on the regular screens at Edwards also have sold out. The earliest tickets available at the theater complex on Thursday are for the 10:15 p.m. showing.
There also are three sold-out screenings for the opening night at the Regal Visalia Stadium 10.
And tickets for one of the 7 p.m. showings at the UA Broadway Faire Stadium 10 are also all gone.
Don’t worry if you haven’t got a ticket as there are plenty of seats still available for other screenings in the Fresno-Clovis area. “The Force Awakens” will be shown on nine screens at Edwards; six screens at Maya Fresno & MPX; six at Sierra Vista Cinemas 16; five screens at Manchester; and two at Broadway Faire.
Once you have a ticket, the next decision is when to get in line to make sure you get a good seat. Local theaters have different policies about when you can get in line and what you can wear.
At the Regal Theaters, costumes are OK as long as they don’t include a mask. Maya Cinemas also doesn’t allow masks or toy weapons. There are no such restrictions at the Sierra Vista theaters.
“We are more open to everyone expressing their fandom,” Pearlmutter said. “We are not limiting anyone carrying weapons as long as we know they don’t work.”
Those attending screenings at River Park cannot get in line until early Thursday morning because there is a rule about camping out overnight at the facility. The Sierra Vista Mall and Maya Cinemas have no restrictions on when you can get in line.
Outside Fresno/Clovis, the movie can be seen at the Selma Cinema; Hanford’s Cinemark Movies 8; Galaxy Tulare 10; Regal Visalia Stadium 10; and Galaxy Porterville 9.
Outside the Fresno/Clovis area, “The Force Awakens” can be seen at the Selma Cinema; Hanford’s Cinemark Movies 8; Galaxy Tulare 10; Regal Visalia Stadium 10; and Galaxy Porterville 9.
Although the movie theaters at the Met Cinema in Oakhurst work on a membership fee, you can still catch the movie there. One person in your group can buy a day pass for $16, and the others can be their guests for $7 per ticket.
While other theaters are putting restrictions on costuming and when lines can form, Met Cinema co-owner Matt Sconce said, “People can line up early, and they can wear masks and bring lightsabers.”