(Reuters) - An Australian couple got married on Thursday as they waited in line for the first U.S. public showings of “Star Wars; The Force Awakens,” while movie theaters around the country 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 plan to celebrate by seeing the movie afterward.
Online ticket seller Fandango said on Thursday 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.
At the first set of screenings on Thursday at Universal City, near Hollywood, fans were dressed in characters ranging from Jedi soldiers to Stormtroopers.
Carol Vasquez, 24, from South Gate, California, who came in costume, said she was excited to see the return of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo.
“It’s something so incredible that I can’t even describe. It’s like family, this is family here right now,” she said.
In San Antonio, Texas, several dozen fans stood in line at dawn on Thursday to watch a 16-hour marathon of the first six movies in the “Star Wars” franchise to set the mood for seeing “The Force Awakens” later in the day.
“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 the age of 30, according to data from Movietickets.com.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is expected to take some $200 million 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.
(This story was refiled to fix a typo in the gender in the eighth paragraph)
Reporting by Jill Serjeant, Piya Sinha-Roy, Lisa Richwine, Jim Forsyth and Reuters Television; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Cynthia Osterman