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Monday, April 26, 1999 Published at 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK


Death to the queue?

Fans plan to carry on queuing, despite advance ticket sales

Cinemas in the US will now be able to sell advance tickets to the latest Star Wars film.

Lucasfilm and Twentieth Century Fox have bowed to the force of the US cinema industry and reconsidered their ban on selling tickets before the film's 19 May opening.

Fox spokesman Tom Sherak said: "It's a bit of compromise for us, but the theatres have invested a lot of equipment and money into providing the advance ticket service to their customers. They really wanted this."

But die-hard fans, who have been waiting outside cinemas in the US for several weeks hoping to be the first to get tickets, say that the news about advance sales does not mean they will be packing up and going home.

'We don't plan to go home'

[ image: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace is relased in the US on 19 May]
Episode 1: The Phantom Menace is relased in the US on 19 May
Star Wars fan Lincoln Gasking, spokesman for the group waiting outside Mann's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, said:

"We plan to book out the whole theatre for the first showing, but we don't plan to go home once we've got the tickets.

"Lining up is part of Star Wars fan mythology - we're here just to share in the whole excitement.

"Some people don't even care if they don't get in to see the movie anymore. We're having so much fun - it's a Star Wars Woodstock."

Mr Gasking said that he had been assured all those currently queuing are likely to be offered tickets first when they go on sale on 12 May.

Move was to prevent touts

Fox, which is distributing the movie and LucasFilm, its makers, originally banned advance ticket sales to prevent ticket touts cornering the market.

Cinemas selling advance tickets are restricted to selling no more than 12 to each person.

"The theatre owners promised sellers would watch so that some guy doesn't buy tickets and then get right back in line. But if somebody wants to do it bad enough, they will," said Mr Sherak.

Although the cinema industry might be happy with the arrangement - some fans are not so pleased.

Mr Gasking said: "I'm very disappointed. I'd prefer there were no advance sales. With 12 tickets per person a whole theatre is going to be bought out very quickly."

He also had a warning to international fans planning to jet over to the US in time for the movie's release. With tickets going on sale a full week beforehand the film could be sold out for days or weeks. Ticket booking lines are also likely to be jammed.

"People coming in the week before expecting to line up for tickets are going to be in for a shock.

"Lots of fans in the UK flying out on the 15th, 16th or 17th May are going to miss out," he said.

Tickets will be available at US ticket outlets that offer an advance sales service from 1500 EDT, 12 May.

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