Marriage and Marathons as Star Wars Opens Worldwide

Andrew Porters kneels in front of Caroline Whitter on Thursday in front of the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. Photo: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

LOS ANGELES — An Australian couple got married yesterday as they waited in line for the first U.S. public showings of "Star Wars; The Force Awakens," while movie theaters around the United States held marathons of the previous films in the franchise.

Caroline Ritter, 34, a truck driver, and firefighter Andrew Porters, 29, were among about 100 die hard fans who camped outside Hollywood's Chinese Theatre since Dec. 5 for the opening of "The Force Awakens."

Ritter was walked down the aisle by another fan, dressed as Darth Vader, and a violinist played the "Star Wars" theme music as the couple exchanged vows. They planned to celebrate by seeing the movie afterward.

Online ticket seller Fandango said yesterday that the new movie, which has received glowing reviews, has already broken its record for the most tickets sold for any film's entire theatrical run.


"It is Fandango’s top-selling movie of all time, even before it has even hit theater screens," said Fandango President Paul Yanover.

But movie studio Walt Disney Co. says millions of tickets are still available this weekend as theaters add capacity to meet demand.

"Part of it is like the mythology of it, the religious aspect of it," fan Matt Shavers said. The storytelling is so amazing. It's gorgeous. It's the greatest saga ever written," he said.


Although "The Force Awakens" has several strong female characters and marketing for the movie has been directed at women more than ever, some 68 percent of those buying tickets in advance are male and the majority are people over 30, according to data from

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is expected to take some USD$200 million (7.2 billion baht)  at the North American box office over its opening weekend, according to box office analysts, making it one of the biggest openings of all time.

Story: Jill Serjeant, Piya Sinha-Roy, Lisa Richwine and Jim Forsyth