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‘Star Wars’ opening Thursday in Pacific

Air Force 1st Lt. Steve Waters, with sons Jason, right, 4, and Jacob, 3, was the first to buy "Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith" tickets at the Camp Foster Theater Monday morning.

FRED ZIMMERMAN / S&S

Bases get 'Revenge of the Sith' on same day as U.S. theaters

By STACY CHANDLER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 18, 2005

Evidently, the Force is with Pacific base movie theaters.

Seven theaters scored coveted prints of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” in time to show the movie on Thursday — the same day it opens in theaters across America.

The theater at Yokota Air Base, Japan, is leading the pack with a showing at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

“We thought we would show it one minute after midnight to add a little more fun and excitement,” said Flishia Bailey, Army and Air Force Exchange Service Yokota general manager.

At Osan Air Base, South Korea, advance ticket sales were to start at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Osan Shopping Mall’s food court, said H. Lee Holloway, AAFES general exchange manager. “This is an opportunity … for the entire peninsula to take advantage of a movie that’s coming out at the same time in the States,” he said. “There are so many people who are ‘Star Wars’ fanatics … We’ve already started getting calls.”

“Star Wars” fanatics in Japan have extra reason to be excited by the movie’s release in base theaters: It doesn’t hit off-base theaters there until July 9. It opens in South Korean theaters on Friday.

Second Lt. Charles Gilbert, 374th Communications Squadron at Yokota, is planning to attend the midnight show. “I may know the ending but now I’ll know why [character Anakin Skywalker] is in the big black suit” as the once-good young Jedi transforms into villain Darth Vader, said Gilbert, a self-proclaimed “sci-fi nut” who built an enormous model of the movie franchise’s Imperial Star Destroyer out of Legos late last year.

AAFES on Okinawa started selling advance tickets at 10 a.m. Monday for all Thursday-Sunday showings at the Camp Foster Theater. First in line, at 6 a.m., was Air Force 1st Lt. Steve Waters, 18th Communications Squadron, Kadena Air Base.

“I was a little bit surprised to be first,” said Waters, who had time to wait in line because he’s in the process of transferring to the States. He said selling the tickets on a workday probably kept fans from camping out overnight.

Freelance photographer Matt Miller, a former Marine, was second in line. He showed at 6:30 a.m.

“I was surprised,” Miller said. “I figured there would be people out here in the middle of the night.”

But when the sale began, more than 150 “Star Wars” fans had queued on the sidewalk outside the theater.

Waters and Miller said one of the best things about the movie is sharing it with their children.

“They’re big ‘Star Wars’ fans,” Waters said. “They have light sabers. … They’re always running around the house playing ‘Star Wars.’ … They have the same passion now as I had when I was a 6-year-old.”

Miller added: “I was 7 when ‘Star Wars’ first came out. My son is 10 and he’s just as excited as I was back then. There are only so many things you can share with your kids these days and this is one of them.”

Waters said being able to see the film so soon is “awesome”: New films usually don’t play on Pacific bases for several weeks after stateside release; when “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones” was released in 2002, fans on Pacific bases had to wait two weeks or more to see that movie on base. But due to the time difference, “Star Wars” buffs here will see Episode III before their stateside counterparts.

“Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” rated PG-13, runs 146 minutes.

Fred Zimmerman and Franklin Fisher contributed to this report.


Go, you will

Following are planned start times, as of Monday, for the first day of showings of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” at base theaters in the Pacific region. All theaters showing the movie Thursday plan additional shows through the weekend; call your base theater for times. Theaters not listed had no “Star Wars” show times scheduled as of Monday.

Japan

  • Yokota Air Base: Thursday at 12:01 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Theater will open two hours before first show for ticket sales.
  • Yokosuka Naval Base: Benny Decker Theater, Thursday at 11:30 a.m., 3 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Ticket sales will begin from a special tent at the theater at 9 a.m. Thursday. Children 5 and younger will be admitted free but must obtain a ticket.
  • Sasebo Naval Base: Showboat Theater, Thursday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. No advance ticket sales; tickets are available before show times on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Naval Air Facility Atsugi: Thursday at 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Advance tickets went on sale Monday.
  • Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni: First showing is to be 7 p.m. Sunday.
  • Camp Zama: First showing is to be at 6 p.m. May 25.

Okinawa

  • Camp Foster: Showing Thursday at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Advance tickets went on sale Monday.
  • Kadena Air Base: First showing is May 26 at 7 p.m.

South Korea

  • Yongsan Garrison: Showing on three screens at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. No advance ticket sales; persons admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Osan Air Base: Showing Thursday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Advance ticket sales start at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Osan Shopping Mall food court.

Guam

  • No base theater showings now planned.

More than 150 fans lined up outside the Camp Foster Theater on Monday morning to buy advance tickets for the movie “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.”
FRED ZIMMERMAN / S&S

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