Unless you're George Lucas himself, you might want to avoid Hollywood altogether today. The world premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes place tonight at THREE theaters on Hollywood Boulevard—the Chinese Theatre, the El Capitan, and the Dolby Theatre—and it's completely taken over the neighborhood, reports City News Service. In preparation for the event, large swaths of Hollywood have been shut down to traffic completely and the whole area is being patrolled by a security detail that dwarfs even the Academy Awards.
Hollywood Boulevard has been shut down to traffic from Highland to La Brea since last week, and will remain closed until Tuesday December 15 at 10 am. In addition, both Sycamore Avenue and Orange Drive are closed off to traffic as those roads approach Hollywood Boulevard from the north and south. To put the size of the street closures into perspective, the annual Oscars ceremony only closes down one block of Hollywood Boulevard. Tonight's event is shutting down four.
Due to high-profile terrorist attacks in the past few months, security for the premiere has been beefed up considerably. The LAPD Hollywood station will be deploying 70 officers to the area during the premiere, in addition to the guards from the private security firms hired by the studios for the event. TMZ reports that Disney has spent $20,000 on the extra police detail, and the officers are taking their jobs very seriously. People walking near the Chinese are apparently subject to searches, a trip through the metal detector, or even a frisking. With a who's who of Hollywood and even Mayor Eric Garcetti attending tonight, the police are taking no chances.
Other LA theaters screening the much anticipated film are taking precautions too. Arclight Cinemas has sent out an email to the thousands that have pre-bought opening night tickets detailing their intensified security policies: moviegoers will be prohibited from bringing large bags and wearing masks or face paint to all Star Wars screenings. Even lightsabers are banned!
The Star Wars takeover of Hollywood doesn't end after tonight's premiere. Fans began camping out outside the Chinese as early as December 5 in preparation for the regular opening of the new sequel. Today, at least 25 people are calling the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Orange Drive home until the first screenings of the film at 7 pm on Thursday night. One hitch though: for security reasons, they all have to clear out while the A-list celebrities attend tonight's event. But luckily the theater has their back and promises they will hang on to their camping gear until all the famous people have left the premises.
Two of those Star Wars campers might take that day off from tent living to put the finishing touches on their wedding vows. Caroline Ritter and Andrew Porters came all the way from Australia to see the new Star Wars at the famous Chinese and figured it would be the perfect place to get hitched. Just a few hours before the first screening on Thursday, the couple will be married in the Chinese Theatre forecourt amid costumed fans and a Storm Trooper brigade. Darth Vader will be walking the bride down the aisle and someone named Obi-Shawn Crosby (in full costume) will officiate. After a makeshift reception with coffee and pastries from Dunkin' Donuts, the couple will see their first Lucasfilm as man and wife. Aww.
It's not all Wookies and Deathstars in Hollywood this week, though. Hollywood Boulevard will close between Orange and Highland again on Tuesday and Wednesday for the world premieres of The Revenant and Point Break. Something tells us no one has been camped out, dressed like a pioneer or beatnik surfer for those events.
· Tonight's 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' premiere will close Hollywood Boulevard [Daily Breeze]
· Security Force Awakens for 'Star Wars' Premiere ... Random Searches in Hollywood [TMZ]
· ArcLight Cinemas to ban props, masks ahead of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' [KPCC]