Theaters everywhere welcomed fans early for the latest release of the beloved franchise. Adler Planetarium held an "Adler After Dark" event, busing fans- many of whom dressed in costumes- to the Showplace ICON.
"The hype is incredible and what' they're projecting - if it holds true - we're going to have a fantastic week," said David Loomos, Pickwick Theatre.
The elegant 88-year-old Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge is set to welcome 900 fans Thursday night and hopefully for showings throughout the weekend.
"Sitting at home watching it on TV you don't get the same experience. Out with 900 other people, it's the way it should be," Loomos said.
"We're going to be real busy here tonight with all the people going before and after the show, it's very exciting," said Tim Griffin, owner, Pickwick Restaurant.
The Chicago Podcast Network is also in on the fun.
"This is myth - I like to think of 'Star Wars' as part of like the 'Batman,' 'Superman,' Marvel; America is a relatively young country and these are our stories," said Nicholas Sarantos.
At the AMC Theaters downtown near Navy Pier, fans got in line early for the first screening at 7 p.m.
"Our tickets are for 7 and it's what, 1 p.m.? So we're here fairly early trying to beat the rush," said Travis Stickel, a fan.
Fans are hoping the new film does not disappoint like some of the prequels of the late 1990s and early 2000s did.
"I'm pretty excited, it's going to be cool," said Robert Rohrman, a fan.
Fans attending the Pickwick Theatre showing as well as many other area theaters are reminded that masks are not allowed in theaters due to security concerns.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is produced by Disney, the parent company of ABC 7.
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