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Friday, 5 April, 2002, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
UK gets early Star Wars screenings
The Phantom Menace
The Phantom Menace was a big hit three years ago
Star Wars fans in the UK will be able to see the latest instalment in the sci-fi drama ahead of the US.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of Clones will be shown at screenings just after midnight on 16 May at selected Odeon cinemas.

The movie is simultaneously released across the Atlantic but the special screening time will ensure UK audiences see it at least five hours before the US due to the different time zones.

In the US fans have begun queuing for tickets to the latest space adventure outside the world's most famous cinema - Mann's Chinese Theater in Los Angeles.


The first midnight showing will be an exciting event for all of us

Luke Vetere, Odeon
Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman reprise their roles from Episode I - The Phantom Menace, which went on to become the third highest grossing movie ever.

The UK première will be held at the Odeon in Leicester Square, central London on 14 May.

Odeon Cinemas head of marketing Luke Vetere said he is expecting huge demand for the midnight screenings.

He said: "Episode II: Attack of the Clones is a hugely anticipated film, especially as the Star Wars films have such a dedicated following.

"The first midnight showing will be an exciting event for all of us."

Dedication

Tickets will go on sale on 12 April and the Odeon chain has taken on extra staff to cope with demand.

In the US a small group of fans have started waiting at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Orange Street outside Mann's Chinese Theater, where George Lucas's original film had its première in 1977.

Star Wars fans
Fans queued overnight for The Phantom Menace in 1999

"We never run out of things to do," the news agency Reuters quotes one of the group as saying when asked how they intend to spend the next six weeks.

However, the fans outside the Chinese Theater are not the first in the global queue to see the new film.

Two devotees have been queuing outside a Seattle cinema for tickets since 8 January.

John Guth and Jeff Tweiten are attempting a world record for the longest wait.

The pair also see their adventure as an art project, and are making a video diary.

Meanwhile, Star Wars fans have been logging on in their thousands to the film's website to watch a new trailer for the forthcoming release.

See also:

24 Oct 01 | Film
Star Wars breaks DVD records
19 Jun 01 | Film
Star Wars set for DVD release
20 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Star Wars sets UK record
03 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Satellite TV feels force of Star Wars
14 Jul 99 | Star Wars
The Phantom Menace invades the UK
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