A tight embargo and strict security surround the press preview of the latest Star Wars film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens that will start showing in South Africa and several other territories a whole two days before its official release in the United States.
The latest 7th installment in the archetypical science fiction blockbuster franchise set in that galaxy far, far away will start showing in South Africa and several other countries from Wednesday 16 December, 2 days before the film's official debut in the Unites States where it had its official, star-studded red carpet premiere in Los Angeles on Monday night.
While Disney is careful to temper expectations for the movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will likely shatter box office records in South Africa – especially for IMAX showings where pre-ticket sales have soared – as well as internationally as well as in the United States.
In South Africa, like in the United States, there's been no advance press showings to the media and film critics of the new movie as Disney and Lucasfilm are trying to keep the secrets and surprises of the film under wraps.
In America only a few publications and selected film critics are being shown the movie and in South Africa the press screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes place on late Tuesday afternoon, less than 12 hours before the film opens to moviegoers locally.
Reviews for Star Wars: The Force Awakens are embargoed for Wednesday, 16 December at 12:01 in the United States and for Wednesday 10:01 in South Africa.
Disney is also requesting film critics to limit their reviews of Star Wars: The Force Awakens to not include spoilers as to keep the surprises of the film intact for fans and moviegoers. It means that film critics have to refrain from spoiling things like why the Millennium Falcon crashes, what happened to Luke Skywalker, who Rey really is and why C-3PO has a red arm.
As in America, and as has been done before for certain high-level security film, no recording devices are allowed for press screenings and South African film critics like their US counterparts will have their cellphones collected beforehand and only returned afterwards.
The new event film helmed by J.J. Abrams is already breaking movie records in South Africa which is setting a new benchmark for ticket pre-sales for IMAX.
Moviegoers clearly want to see the latest Star Wars film on a really big screen and it represents the most advance bookings of any IMAX title in the country before.
Advance bookings to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens at IMAX and 3D venues across South Africa have already reached record levels.
More than 34 500 tickets have already been sold to watch the film at Ster-Kinekor cinemas in the country alone. Meanwhile Nu Metro is also showing the film at its 4DX cinema at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.