Dublin City Council lit up the Spire to resemble a lightsaber, the weapon of the Jedi Knights, as the latest Star Wars movie premiered in the Savoy Cinema in O’Connell Street.
Fans arriving for the screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens were greeted by a platoon of stormtroopers as the famous score played on the PA system at the cinema’s entrance.
Cinemas across Ireland were set to open after midnight on Wednesday when allowed to show the movie, which goes on general release in Ireland on Thursday.
Most cinemas will be showing it on multiple screens. IMC Dún Laoghaire had three screenings beginning shortly after midnight, and will show it another 17 times on Thursday.
Lightsaber-wielding fans Oisin (12) and Ben Taylor (10) attended the Savoy premiere with their aunt Cathy Belton. “She won’t tell us how she got the tickets,” Ben said.
Oisin said they had managed to avoid plot spoilers online in the run-up to the screening. The pair reckon they’ll see the film 10 times in the cinema if it’s any good.
Cathy Belton said she was very lucky to get a full summary of the Star Wars universe from the boys. “I only remember seeing The Return of the Jedi in the Ambassador cinema,” she said. “But today I got a very detailed summary of every film, so I’m very lucky.”
Lifelong fan James Lennon (39) attended with Mary Louise Slevin (33) and her son Oisin (9). James explained Oisin had been in Crumlin children’s hospital recently and Disney had showed up and given him three tickets.
“We’ve managed to avoid spoilers,” James said.
Scott Adair (25), who works in Dublin sci-fi specialty shop Forbidden Planet, said he had been “living in hope” someone would offer tickets to the staff.
“We usually do stuff with Disney and in return they give us tickets. So we had posters and stuff around the shop and we also decorated the front window.
“When I heard Disney had given us tickets for the premiere, I was on my knees in the office literally thanking God.”
Cinemas across the country say ticket sales are already outstripping the numbers for 2015’s other blockbusters.
The Odeon Cinema at the Point Village in Dublin on Wednesday had a pre-recorded voice message warning callers of long waiting periods due to “a disturbance in the Force”. A spokesperson for the cinema said that they had sold 3,800 seats already.
A spokesperson for the Gate Multiplex in Cork City described the pre-sale of tickets as “phenomenal”. “It’s already much bigger than Spectre or the new Hunger Games film.”