It’s been years, yes YEARS, since I’ve had to run into a sold out movie theater on opening night and battle my way into a non-front row seat. That is exactly what happened Thursday night at the Bowtie Royale 6 in Norwalk for the 7pm showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
You know what? It felt really good. I felt alive again as a moviegoer. This was not just going to opening night of a movie. This was going to opening night of a movie EVENT. Like it used to be. Like it should be!
The Internet, Netflix, steaming, and technology in general has changed the movie going experience. Don’t get me wrong I love all the new technology. But there is a time and place for Netflix/streaming and it’s not opening night of a giant blockbuster movie.
I remember going to see Jurassic World on opening night this summer in the same theater I was in last night. Jurassic World. The highest grossing movie of 2015 so far (not for long after this weekend) and it wasn’t even close to being sold out. It was at that moment that I thought the idea and feeling of an opening night movie event was long gone.
Luckily I was wrong.
As I ran from my car which was parked two plazas away from the theater in Norwalk (yes, I was even an hour early. I heard some theaters in CT were full two and a half hours before showtime) on a mission to pick up my tickets I was captivated by the sight of costumes, local news crews, and just the overall excitement. There was a buzz.
This was all before the movie even started!
Once that opening title Star Wars logo hit the screen with that iconic theme music behind it the sound of cheers echoing throughout the theater were enough to give me chills. As each one of our favorite Star Wars characters walked on screen throughout the 2 hour movie there was cheering, laughter, audible sadness, every emotion that should be felt while watching a movie you could hear out loud. A truly amazing experience.
I haven’t had this much fun at the movies in a really long time. So thank you J.J. Abrams, George Lucas, Luke, Han, Leia, Kylo, Fin, Rey, Poe, Chewy, BB-8, C-3PO, R2, and the rest of the galaxy.
May the force be with you.