The Force is strong with this one

Matthew Lane • Dec 14, 2017 at 7:34 AM

KINGSPORT — The Force has reawakened. Million of voices will soon be crying out in excitement as the latest chapter in the Star Wars saga hits the big screen tonight.

But with all of the buzz surrounding “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” will you actually be able to get in and see the movie on opening night?

Good your chances are.

More than 1,300 theaters across the nation are holding fan and marathon events today for “The Last Jedi.” At the local level, all of our theaters are showing the movie on multiple screens, with most having pre-release showings tonight beginning at 7.

NCG Cinemas in Kingsport, the Pinnacle in Bristol and AMC Theatres in Johnson City will be showing “The Last Jedi” about every hour to 90 minutes throughout the weekend.

Cindy Hubble, manager of the Cinemall in Abingdon, said the theater will show the movie on as many of its 12 screens as needed.

“If we need 12 theaters, we’ll use 12. By the time you fill seven, eight or nine ... you’re pretty much into 12,” Hubble said. “We’ve had a huge amount of pre-orders, but if we still have tickets available up until I use that 12th theater, I’ll keep selling.”

Fans started lining up outside the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre of Hollywood last Friday to be among the first to see “The Last Jedi.”

Don’t expect to see anything like that locally.

“The first year we showed (”The Phantom Menace”) we had people sleeping on the sidewalk, and we’ve had people show up the day the theater opens at 10:30 a.m. in the morning and insist on lining up,” Hubble said.

“The Last Jedi” is the latest entry in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. For you non Star Wars fans out there, the movie is Episode 8 in the overall story arc and is the follow-up to 2015’s “The Force Awakens.”

Expect to see the return of venerable favorites like Luke Skywalker, General Leia and Chewbacca along with the next generation of heroes: Rey, the spunky Force initiate; Finn, the traitorous stormtrooper; and Poe Dameron, the ace fighter pilot.

The mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke, the metallic stormtrooper Captain Phasma and of course, the broodingly evil Kylo Ren round out the slate of villains looking to avenge the destruction of the First Order’s Starkiller base.

In case you’re not a big Star Wars fan, the story picks right up from “The Force Awakens” with Rey beginning her Jedi training under the elusive Luke Skywalker, who self-exiled to the planet Ahch-To. Meanwhile, in another part of the galaxy, the Resistance is continuing its seemingly never-ending battle against the First Order.

Will the galaxy be saved by the end of the two and a half hour movie? Doubtful. You’re going to have to wait until December 20, 2019 when Episode 9 drops.

From the trailers, you can probably expect to see lots of exploding Tie Fighters, screaming wookies and porgs (the cute little owl critter), blaster fights, lightsaber duels and epic space battles. Sadly, there will be one bittersweet moment. It’s the last time we’ll see Carrie Fisher reprise her iconic role as Leia Organa.

Industry tracking shows “The Last Jedi” is on target to gross $200 million during its opening weekend, while worldwide, the film could earn as much as $440 million. That’s a lot of Republic dataries.

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