U.K. theater websites crash under presale demand for new Star Wars

star wars the force awakens end credits shot
How high in demand are tickets to J.J. Abrams’ new Star Wars sequel? High enough to essentially collapse the websites of several U.K. theater chains during presales.

Citing “unprecedented” demand for Star Wars: The Force Awakens tickets, this morning’s presale opening caused major havoc for Odeon, Picturehouse, and CineWorldaccording to The Hollywood Reporter.

Vue, the third largest cinema chain in the country, remained unaffected by the unusual amount of web traffic, and announced that it had sold 10,000 advance tickets to the new film in just 90 minutes. A spokesperson said it was the, “Biggest first hour of advance ticket sales seen so far this year.”

Advance tickets to the new film are set to go on sale in the United States this evening, following a new trailer which will air during halftime of tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles on Disney-owned ESPN.

Stateside, Disney and Lucasfilm have been busy building anticipation for pre-sales to open; A few scenes from that trailer have already been teased by Lucasfilm, and the studio released the official theatrical poster for the film yesterday.

Time will tell whether American theater chains can handle the high volume of online buyers better than their counterparts in the U.K., and midnight showings at most American theaters are expected to sell out quickly.

The seventh installment in the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens takes place three decades after the final events of Return of The Jedi. In case you’ve been on Neptune, the new film features members of the original cast reprising their original roles, as well as a group of young new stars to carry the franchise into three new sequels, and several spinoffs.

The new film will hit screens for the first time on Friday, December 18.

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