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Revenge of the Sith Japan

May 15th, 2005

As I posted before, the final Star Wars movie is being released worldwide May 18-20th, with the sole exception of Japan, which will see it open on July 9th (with no good reason that I can see for the delay). But there is at least one thing that will make it a bit less late, if you really want to see it: advance screenings. Japanese theaters will often give advance showings one and two weeks before a film gets released. Warner/MyCal, an American-style theater chain in Japan, will have screenings on June 25 and July 2, tickets for which will go on sale on June 16. Toho Cinemas (formerly Virgin Cinemas, and so another western-style chain) will be having screenings the same day, though they haven’t decided when ticket sales will begin. The advance screenings will likely begin in the morning and go past midnight each day.

I frequent those two chains because of the theater styles. If you’ve been to movie theaters in Japan, you will know what I’m talking about, the concessions in particular. Stale popcorn with minimal salt and no butter, and otherwise a limited selection of supermarket-type snacks, some very odd to the westerner. Drinks often are sold from vending machines in tiny cups. The western-style chains have the full fresh buttered-popcorn, large drink, and more appealing snack routine–interestingly at prices that can often be less than at U.S. chains (though the high ticket prices in Japan make up for that). They also have designated seating–when you buy your ticket, you can see exactly what seats are available and choose where you’ll sit–though if you buy e-tickets, they make you choose blindly by section (dividing the theater into only a few large sections, meaning you could be seated way up front or far in back), a weird idea, making it less convenient to buy online (unless you don’t care where you sit too much).

Ticket prices are a standard ¥1800 for adults (almost $17), with advance tickets going for ¥1300 ($12) or ¥1500 ($14). Though they don’t have matinees in the morning or afternoon, they do have late shows (after 9pm usually) for ¥1200 ($11), and “First Day” specials on the first of every month for ¥1000 (just over $9). Wednesdays are usually “Ladies’ Days” with women getting in for ¥1000.

Sometimes theaters in Japan sell memorabilia for big movies, including movie program booklets, large-size glossy photo books introducing the movie, its characters, cast credits and other stuff like that.

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  1. May 16th, 2005 at 12:12 | #1

    Up here in boonies where I live we have a nice multiplex, with assigned seating. It’s not too bad. We do have matinees, but the prices are the same for the evening shows, except as you mentioned, the late show is cheaper. However, we were able to purchase a membership card that lets us get in cheaper for all regular shows. We also get free movie coupons when we reach certain point levels and often get freebies at the concession stand. However, they don’t put butter on their popcorn.

    I thought I was missing out by not living in Tokyo, guess I was wrong.

    Saw my first preview for Revenge of the Sith yesterday. Looks good!

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