'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' hits big screen as fans flock in record numbers

Friday, December 18, 2015
'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' hits big screen as fans flock in record numbers
EMBED <>More Videos

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' opens after years of anticipation.

HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Due to its popularity, extra showings have had to be added for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

So far, the reaction to the film for fans in Los Angeles has been spectacular.

"It was an 11 on a 10 scale," Gary Marlis said.

"Your mind will be blown. You'll laugh, you'll cry," Ryan Quigley of Laurel Canyon said.

The El Capitan hosted a 21-hour marathon of seven straight Star Wars films leading up to the big debut of "The Force Awakens."

The theater also had actual costumes worn in the film on display for fans to get a close-up look and also plenty of Star Wars merchandise to purchase.

MORE: Fans catch up on Star Wars movies before 'The Force Awakens' opening

On Thursday, the TCL Chinese Theater IMAX held a very special ceremony as Darth Vader escorted Caroline Ritters down the aisle to her fiance Andrew Porters.

Their wedding party included Chewbacca and R2D2.

After they felt the force of marital bliss, the Porters cut their wedding cake with a light saber.

The couple helped raise $5,000 for charity before heading off to a galaxy far away to watch "The Force Awakens."

Disney bought the rights to Star Wars for more than $4 billion then launched an unprecedented roll out.

The lead up to the film included a 100,000 fan strong convention, a Comic Con symphony spectacular and the biggest premiere in Hollywood history.

MORE: Photos of stars walking red carpet for Star Wars world premiere

The film is showing on more than 4,000 screens, which is a December record.

Host of the "Nerdist" podcast and the "Talking Dead" Chris Hardwick said the film will have broad appeal.

"Without spoiling, what's so amazing about 'The Force Awakens' is if you grew up with it, there's a ton of stuff for you. If you're new to it, it completely opens the door to the Star Wars world," Hardwick said.

Some fans who talked to ABC7's Elex Michaelson said they have tickets to see the movie multiple times this weekend.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is expected to make nearly $3 billion at the box office.

But some analysts predict Disney could make another $5 billion in Star Wars merchandise over the next year.

Disney is the parent company of ABC7.