Launching the new Star Wars trilogy is totally unlike the opening of any other franchise. Disney and Lucasfilm know this, and have gone all-out to ensure every moviegoer has the opportunity to watch The Force Awakens on the biggest screen possible. The plan: book the film into every single IMAX screen across North America for its first four weeks.
There are approximately 375-400 IMAX screens in the US - with more thought to open prior to the movie's December release date - along with a majority of international screens likely to follow suit. If audiences respond favorably, there's a strong possibility of Episode VII obliterating the previous IMAX record held by Jurassic World. Seeing as director J.J. Abrams filmed one specific sequence using IMAX cameras, die-hard Force fans won't want to miss out on seeing a Star Wars film as it was intended.
Having such a monopoly on one of the most profitable portions of movie exhibition might spell danger for competing films. The Revenant and In The Heart Of The Sea open in the post-Christmas week, and are now effectively locked out of the IMAX market. And of course, if Episode VII's IMAX run proves to be a success, who's to say it won't get extended?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens worldwide on December 17.