Originally created 05/07/99

Theaters offer early `Star Wars' showings



Augusta area theaters are preparing for their own midnight madness frenzy surrounding the hotly anticipated Star Wars prequel.

Upholders of the Force won't have to sweat it out until opening-day matinees to experience the most anticipated film of the year.

At least three area cineplexes will screen Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace in the weehours of the morning May 19.

Regal Cinema's Augusta Village 12 will show the latest installment of George Lucas' sci-fi series at 12:01 a.m.

Georgia Theatre's Evans 12 Cinemas and Masters 7 Cinemas are also planning special after midnight screenings at 12:30 a.m. the same day, according to the theaters' managers.

Crowds flocked to area toy stores to snap up the new line of Star Wars action figures, which went on sale at midnight Sunday.

Advance tickets for The Phantom Menace go on sale Wednesday, a week before the film opens.

Customers can purchase a maximum of 12 tickets for showtimes up to four weeks in advance, starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Augusta Village.

Advance tickets also will go on sale Wednesday at Evans, probably at the theater's regular opening time of 4 p.m., said Manager Scott Bagwell.

At Masters, patrons can buy certificates that can be traded in for movie tickets the day of the show, also available starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, theater Manager Brian Cherry said.

"It's gift certificate-type deal. They can bring it back and redeem it at the box office," Mr. Cherry said.

Kent Kimes covers arts and entertainment for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at (706) 823-3626 or feature@augustachronicle.com.