(1) INCREASED THEATER SECURITY. “’Star Wars’ Theaters Tighten Security Due To Heavy Crowds And Suspicious Activity” reports Deadline.com.
“A majority of the reason why we’re beefing up security is because it’s the biggest movie ever,” said the security expert. He said he might assign one guard in any given weekend at an average 12-plex. Deadline has learned that in a venue, say, in downtown L.A., theaters normally employ about three to four security guards. However, those same locations through the holiday will now get as much as three times that. Disney, Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ distributor, is also said to be providing some security.
Dave Doering asks, “I actually expect to see mock light saber battles, odd costumes and aliens. Anything suspicious about seeing aliens in LA? And for that matter, what is ‘suspicious’ for LA?”
Oh, anybody walking instead of driving. Things like that.
(2) MOST NUTS. LA’s enthusiasm for the movie is apparently only a pale reflection of Dave’s home state of Utah. Or so says the Washington Post, in “This is the state where people are most nuts about Star Wars“
That is according to Google Trends, at least. During the past week, Utahns have done more Star-Wars related Googling than people in any other state. People in Utah are about 25 percent more likely to Google “Star Wars” than their nearest competitors in fandom, Californians. And they are more than twice as likely to Google the topic as people in Oregon and Mississippi, the two least Star Wars-crazy states.
(3) BOX OFFICE. The new Star Wars movie killed on Thursday night. Uh, figuratively speaking.
J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens awoke to a record-breaking $57 million in Thursday night previews at the North American box office.
The previous champ was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ Part 2, the final film in the franchise, which earned $43.5 million in Thursday previews in July 2011. The Dark Knight Rises took in $30.6 million in 2012, and Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 took in $30.4 million, also in 2012.
(4) RETURN OF THE LINE. And here are some of the customers, in line at Hollywood’s El Capitan theater at 1:30 this morning. Photo by Robert Kerr.
(5) NO WAITING. At the International Space Station, the line to watch Star Wars was much shorter.
“I am told that ‘Star Wars’ will be waiting for us up there,” British astronaut Tim Peake wrote on Twitter on the eve of his launch to the International Space Station on Tuesday (Dec. 15). “What a place to watch it!”
The space station’s six-person crew, which includes the newly-arrived trio of Peake, cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and NASA’s Tim Kopra, as well as commander Scott Kelly of NASA and cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergei Volkov, will be able to watch “The Force Awakens” thanks to Mission Control and a recently-installed theater system on board the orbiting outpost.
(7) FORD RAMPAGE. By now you’ve probably overdosed on Star Wars coverage and are in the mood to see “Harrison Ford continues his ‘Star Wars’ toy path of destruction on ‘Conan’”. The payoff is just after 2:10 in the video.
“Conan” associate producer Jordan Schlansky is a “Star Wars” superfan. Jordan Schlansky is also Jordan Schlansky, so when he got a chance to meet Harrison Ford and J.J. Abrams, he spent most of it boring them to tears asking about the grips on Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber. Then he asked Ford to sign his Millennium Falcon. And not just any Millennium Falcon — it’s the Lego Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon, which is worth thousands of dollars, according to a quick glance of eBay.
Ford took the Millennium Falcon in his arms and immediately tossed it over his shoulder “accidentally.” As it is a Lego set, it was promptly destroyed. Ford did end up signing a piece of it, but Jordan Schlansky had already walked off by that point, so Ford threw the piece back in the pile and then threw the pen offstage, presumably at Jordan Schlansky’s sad face.
(8) THE FORTE AWAKENS. The mischievous James Langdell asked on Facebook –
No spoilers please… but could anyone who has actually seen the movie let me know if it was done as a musical?
All the commenters are pulling his leg so hard it’ll be surprising if it doesn’t come off…
(9) IN TUNE WITH THE TIMES. Cultural commentator Martin Morse Wooster does know where you can find some Star Wars music.
If you go to blackcatdc.com, you will find that Ms. Cherry Pitz and the Hotsy Totsy Burlesque review are doing their “Tribute to the Star Wars Holiday Special” tonight at the Black Cat Backstage in Washington,
“If you want to see Wicket the Ewok in pasties, now’s your chance,” Kristen Page-Kirby says in the Washington Post. “(And if you really want to see Wicket the Ewok in pasties, get some help.)”
You know–and you can quote me on this–“Cherry Pitz” is NOT a good burlesque name.
My goodness, I forgot to include the link!
(10) OVER THE AIR. In the UK, Sian Welby’s weather report on 5 News made 10 Star Wars puns in 40 seconds, all delivered with a straight face.
True, the wordplay varies in quality, ranging from the excellent “A Leia of cloud covering the UK” and “If you’re forced to awaken early tomorrow morning it will be on the dark side” to the groansome “If you Luke father west you will be seeing a glimmer of sunshine – if you’re Wookie” but you certainly have to admire the effort.
(11) BOX SCORE. I had to include Mark Lawrence’s new post for obvious reasons: “A Year in Numbers… Five!”
The blog had its millionth hit in 2015 and got almost 70,000 hits in one month!
And finally, Twitter, where at last I broke the 10,000 follower barrier!
(12) ALTERNATE AWARDS. Kary English, who hadn’t posted on her blog for almost six months, has briefly commented on Sasquan and thanked the people responsible for her having “Rockets in my pocket”.
Shahid Mahmud, my wonderful publisher at Galaxy’s Edge, who made sure I didn’t go home rocketless no matter what happened at the awards ceremony. The lovely red rocket he gave me now has a place of honor on my brag shelf.
Her other rocket is one of Ken Burnside’s Crashlander Awards.
(13) FUNDRAISER. SFWA is auctioning a George R.R. Martin-signed Game of Thrones 2016 calendar on Ebay.
This is a twelve month wall calendar with thirteen paintings (one for each month, plus a centerfold) by artist Magali Villeneuve depicting scenes from each of the published volumes of A Song of Ice and Fire as well as a scene from the forthcoming The Winds of Winter. The calendar is signed on the front cover by George R. R. Martin.
Auctioned off by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. All proceeds from this auction will be given to the SFWA Givers’ Fund.
The SFWA Giver’s Fund combines non-restricted charitable donations to SFWA and will use these funds to provide needed grants to genre-related organizations and/or individuals and will also disburse funds to the SFWA Emergency Medical and Legal Funds as needed.
(14) GAIMAN READS. From last year, the New York Public Library recording “Neil Gaiman Reads ‘A Christmas Carol’”. (Via ScienceFiction.com.)
Acclaimed author Neil Gaiman performs a memorable dramatic reading from NYPL’s own rare copy of “A Christmas Carol,” which includes edits and prompts Charles Dickens wrote in his own hand for his unique public readings 150 years ago. Dressed in full costume and joined by writer and BBC researcher Molly Oldfield, Gaiman performs the classic tale as its great author intended.
(15) REACTION. Adam-Troy Castro shared his highly negative response to Daniel Enness’ latest Castalia House blog post in a public Facebook post. Some good lines, but you’ll need to read them there. They only work in context with direct allusions to material I’ve chosen not to excerpt here.
(16) IN HIS STALKING FEET. From the BBC: “Author Richard Britain jailed for ‘bad review’ attack”. [Via Ansible Links.]
A former Countdown champion who travelled 400 miles to attack a teenager who gave his book a bad review has been jailed for 30 months.
Richard Brittain, 28, used Facebook to track victim Paige Rolland, 18, to the Asda store in Glenrothes where she worked.
He then smashed a full wine bottle over her head – knocking her unconscious.
Warning – from here it’s turtles Star Wars all the rest of the way down!
(17) CONSPIRACY THEORY. Camestros Felapton explains it all to you in “The True History of R2D2 – Sith Lord”.
In the films we know of five Sith lords, in addition there is one other character who:
- is directly linked to the dark side in the film
- appears to use force powers including using a ‘force jump’ to move
- appears to us the ‘Jedi mind trick’ to manipulate minds
- shoots lighting
- holds a lightsaber
(18) HOT STOVE LEAGUE. Cut4, a Major League Baseball blog, has the baseball/Star Wars mashup of your dreams.
Yes, MLB has “Star Wars” fever, but did you know that “Star Wars” has MLB fever, too? In a world as big as the Expanded Universe, did you really think there was no baseball? Life in the Empire can’t be all battling with light sabers and zooming around in TIE fighters. Sometimes, you just want to watch the game. So here’s your introduction to ELB (Empire League Baseball)…
(19) PLANET POLL. “See the ‘Star Wars’ Worlds Exoplanet Scientists Can’t Help But Love” at Space.com.
Last week, close to 350 exoplanet scientists gathered in Hawaii for the American Astronomical Society’s Extreme Solar Systems III conference. Space.com took the opportunity to ask 20 of these folks about their favorite “Star Wars” worlds.
The scientists we polled were almost evenly split among three worlds from the “Star Wars” original trilogy: Hoth (from “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back,”), Tatooine (from “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,”), and the moon of the planet Endor (from “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.”).
(21) BOY TOY. “Sith lord or samurai lord? Darth Vader becomes decorative doll for Boys’ Day in Japan” at Rocket News 24.
A long, long time ago, in a country far, far away (from English-speaking territories, anyway), Yoshitoku Taiko made its first doll. Founded in 1711, the company’s history goes back to a time when Japan was ruled by a shogun, and the country sealed off from the rest of the world.
More than three centuries later, Yoshitoku Taiko is still in business, but Japan is now part of the global community. That’s why the company’s latest offerings are two exquisitely crafted dolls of Darth Vader in samurai armor.
(22) CONTENT WARNING. Boing Boing brings us “Star Wars medical merch from Scarfolk, the horror-town stuck in the 1970s”. A few of the others have a certain “ewww” factor….
[Thanks to JJ, Hampus Eckerman, Steven H Silver, David Doering, John King Tarpinian, and Brian Z. for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]