On Line

Movie premiere lines are the lost art of fandom

Camping out in lines is a time-honored fan tradition, but will it survive the pandemic?

Originally Published: 
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Caroline Ritter from Hunter Valley, Australia camped out in line for every single Star Wars prequel.


10 years later, she camped out for 12 days to see The Force Awakens, but she didn't do it alone.

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Ritter and her fiancé Andrew Porters were married outside Grauman's Chinese Theater on the release date of The Force Awakens.

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The bride was given away by Darth Vader...


...and R2-D2 was the perfect astromech ring bearer.

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Huge movie studios like Warner and Disney may be shifting their focus from theaters to streaming, but there's one thing that can't be replicated: the premiere line.

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Even when Star Wars was just a fledgling science fiction film, excited viewers lined the block to get a glimpse.

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And so it continues for every "event film" from Star Wars to Marvel — or even a franchise not owned by Disney.

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They're not the only ones. Never underestimate what teen girls will do for Edward Cullen before a new Twilight movie.

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This phenomenon isn't exclusive to movies, either. A huge book release, like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, prompts tent cities outside of bookstores worldwide.

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And those fans come back years later for the movie adaptation of the same book, still camping outside.


Lining up nowadays is easier thanks to portable technology.


These fans waiting for The Rise of Skywalker could feasibly watch all 8 other movies and The Mandalorian with a stable wifi connection.

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That wasn't the case in 1999 when The Phantom Menace came out.

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This Australian fan used an impressive (and clunky) set up just to live stream to his home country.

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Then came the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while the waits weren't as monumental just because of the sheer quantity of movies, the fans were just as die-hard.

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From the first Avengers movie...

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...to Avengers: Endgame.

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The MCU was poised to become the new movie theater campout franchise.

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It may be a while before a movie gets people out of their houses for days on end, but the effect of premiere line culture is everywhere.

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Premiere lines aren't gone forever, just as in-person conventions and other fan events aren't gone either.

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In fact, they're responsible for at least two fans' happily ever after.

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