A cinema in Wrexham is bracing itself for an invasion of Star Wars fans in fancy dress as it looks forward to the biggest night in its history.
Demand for tickets for the new blockbuster, The Force Awakens, at the Odeon at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre is even outstripping the likes of other movie favourites like Harry Potter and James Bond.
Originally, the Odeon had planned to have two screens showing the film at one minute past midnight on the official release date, Thursday, December 17.
But cinema manager Andy Elvis has already had to increase the number of screens to six to ensure fans aren’t disappointed.
Andy is expecting many of the Star Wars aficionados to turn up dressed like their favourite characters, Hans Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker.
Andy said: “It is absolutely huge and by far the biggest response we have had to any film since the cinema opened at Eagles Meadow in 2009.
“We were very busy for Harry Potter and the screening of Doctor Who a few years back but the pre-booking ticket sales for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has eclipsed everything.
“It’s the first film that has managed to cause the Odeon ticket website to crash, albeit briefly. We had something like a million people company-wide trying to book seats at the same time.”
Andy added: “Initially we had two screens showing the film at a minute past midnight but they sold out within minutes. So we added two more screens and they sold almost as quickly.
“We then took the decision to add two more screens with a 12.20am and a 12.30am showing and they too are selling incredibly well and that goes for both the normal and 3D formats.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been tipped to break all box office records and having seen the demand here at Eagles Meadow, I have no doubt it will. It’s definitely gearing up to be the biggest film event we have seen.”
Eagles Meadow restaurants are also warning customers wishing to book a pre-cinema table to get in early.
Peter Cross, the manager of Frankie & Benny’s Restaurant, says film-goers are already snapping up tables.
He said: “There is no doubt Star Wars is going to be a massive event and we know we are going to be exceptionally busy with fans wanting a meal before they take their seats.
“I would advise getting here early and booking a table if you can. It’s about businesses working together. I already know from the bookings we have had how busy it is going to be and as a result I’m bringing in additional staff.”
Eagles Meadow manager, Kevin Critchley, said: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the cinema event of the year and there is no doubt staff at the Odeon are in for a very busy couple of weeks.
“In particular next Thursday’s opening night is looking like it will be exceptionally busy with six screenings and tickets selling so quickly.
“It’s good news for Wrexham cinema goers that they can catch the long-awaited Star Wars film here in their own town and I’m pleased our restaurants are going to enjoy a busy time too.
“I certainly look forward to seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens – although I’m not sure I’ll be wearing a storm trooper or Jedi costume like many film fans do. It’s definitely going to be a great cinema event and the biggest ever here at Eagles Meadow.”