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?

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

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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...

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...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.

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Lining up nowadays is easier thanks to portable technology.

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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.