The first trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens hits theaters this Friday, but unless you live around the nine Regal Cinemas, you’re going to miss out. This isn’t the first time this has been done to promote a Star Wars film. When The Phantom Menace trailer premiered in 1998, that was on 75 screens in 26 stats. Many fans showed up to watch it, and then left.
The nine locations are:
CA Irvine — Edwards Irvine Spectrum 22 & IMAX
CA San Diego — Edwards Mira Mesa Stadium 18 IMAX & RPX
GA Atlanta — Regal Atlantic Station Stadium 18 IMAX & RPX
IL Chicago — Regal City North Stadium 14 IMAX & RPX
NY New York — Regal Union Square Stadium 14
PA Warrington — Regal Warrington Crossing Stadium 22 & IMAX
TN Knoxville — Regal Pinnacle Stadium 18 IMAX & RPX
TX Houston — Edwards Houston Marq’E Stadium 23 IMAX & RPX
WA Seattle — Regal Thornton Place Stadium 14 & IMAX
Most likely Regal rolled up a large truck full of cash to make this happen, thinking it’ll drive individuals to the theaters, but in this day and age where the internet provides easy access, and access usually before planned, the move seems to be idiotic and shortsighted. If you don’t live around one of these theaters, then sucks to be you in Disney’s eyes. I guess major metropolitan areas like Dallas, Washington, DC, San Francisco, and many others’ money isn’t worth it to Disney, and movie chains.
The move is clearly to build hype around the trailer (not the movie) in a weekend that generally is a big one for movie theaters, Thanksgiving.
But, in the age of the internet, is this even worth it? Marvel hyped the first trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron to see it leak five days earlier. At first Marvel and Disney handed out “cease and desist” letters like candy, then eventually released the trailer officially. They are currently fighting Google to find out who leaked it. Chances are when the weekend is up, the trailer will be officially released, but before that happens, Disney is creating an artificial demand pirates are more than happy to deliver to.
There’s a chance more locations will be announced, but with just nine initially making the list, any more will come off as reacting to what’s likely a lot of head scratching, and anger. For such a huge movie that’s likely to be one of the highest grossing films of the year when it comes out, this seems like an unexpected, and unneeded bump in the road, and middle finger to those who have made Star Wars what it is, the devoted fans.
The Force Awakens will be released on December 18th, 2015.
Update: Starwars.com has released a much fuller list with quite a few cities missing off of the first update. It’s up to 30 theaters: