Dietrich and Split Rock theaters to hold festive premier nights for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
The highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opens Dec. 18, but before audiences view George Lucas’ latest installment in what has become a revered franchise spanning nearly four decades, several theaters throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania are providing fans some early screenings.
Show times are offered for Dec. 17 at the Cinemark Theaters in Moosic and R/C Movies 14 in Wilkes-Barre, but two smaller theaters are going to extra lengths to ensure customers are thoroughly entertained. The Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock and the Theater at Split Rock Resort in Lake Harmony are making their premier nights interactive.
The Dietrich Theater will show the movie at 7 p.m. on Dec. 17, but assistant general manager, Ronnie Harvey, said they will expand to a second screening if enough people buy tickets.
Harvey said the theater staff usually wear costumes to make the big events fun, and this premier is no exception.
“Our staff will be dressed up,” Harvey said. “I will be in my Han Solo outfit.”
Harvey said customers are encouraged to join in the cosplay fun. The theater’s fare will be particular to the screening.
“We have special popcorn tins that we’ve acquired,” Harvey said. “There are four different collectors tins, and they have four different designs on them. I’m also actively looking … to try to get some specialty candies that are geared toward ‘Star Wars.’”
Harvey, who has been employed at the Dietrich for nearly a decade, said the excitement for this premier is unique.
“I’ve seen the movies come through,” Harvey said. “The “Harry Potters” have all come through; the “Twilights” have all come through; “The Hunger Games” is just ending. There’s always a movie that transcends the general public and it seems like everyone wants to see it, but I’ve noticed recently that “Star Wars” is everywhere, and it’s all anyone wants to talk about … It’s like nothing I’ve experienced before.”
Harvey cited the cross-generational quality of the series, saying the outpouring of fandom has as much to do with family ties as fascination with the stories.
Kyle Kuczma, public relations coordinator for Split Rock Resorts agrees with Harvey.
“They are reaching younger and older audiences, and people that saw it so many decades ago are still invested in it,” Kuczma said. “It’s such an iconic and epic cinematic story line that it lends itself with the hype.”
Kuczma said professional actors will be on the grounds at Split Rock dressed up as characters from the new movie.
“The characters we will have on hand will include Finn, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren, a stormtrooper and Captain Phasma,” Kuzma said. “We’re encouraging everybody to come dressed up in costume.”
Other than inviting both patrons and staff to be festive with their attire, Split Rock Resort is offering a package deal for its 7 and 10 p.m. screenings. The package costs $149 and includes a pair of movie tickets, deluxe accommodations in the resort hotel and photo opportunities with characters.
In addition, the first 50 children to check in with the movie package will receive a special gift bag containing “Star Wars” merchandise. Visit www.splitrockresort.com for additional information, show days and movie times.
Kuzcma said the anticipation for this premier is special among fans.
“Buzz like this, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s unprecedented but, for a movie, it’s certainly beyond exceptional when you compare it to even most other major movie releases.”
While local theaters may not be offering packaged deals, theater management said they expect many movie-goers to also be in costume during the premiers.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter@TLArts