A Dagobah-Level Cleaning: What Really Happened During the Star Wars Opening Weekend

Commercial CleaningDecember 2015.

Theatre owners all over the world were awash with bittersweet dread as the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens drew nearer. The hype that has been accumulating for the past few years hummed and rumbled in the horizon. A lone theater manager attempts to mount a defense for the incoming legion of Star Wars fanatics, but no amount of preparation could have been enough to handle what perhaps may be the decade’s biggest cinematic event.

Have You Felt It

In his detailed, forward recounting of the events that unfolded during the mid-December opening weekend, an unnamed theater manager shares how Star Wars pushed the boundaries of cinematic culture as well as his duties of marketing it. “The first challenge was staffing the opening weekend, with no certainty about how many people we’d need to handle the rush,” he says, mentioning how in his years of experience as a major theater chain manager, he has never dreaded coming to work the way he did around The Force Awakens’ release.

“I’ve seen some pretty strange stuff: a projectionist walking off during the middle of a shift and leaving the building to reel 20 screens of 35mm film, a damaged drive forcing film critics to wait 2 hours, and the cinematic classic known as  Oogieloves: The Big Balloon Adventure,” the manager writes. He referred to the live action children’s film created by the studio that created Teletubbies. It was a commercial failure that stands as a total inverse of what the seventh Star Wars installment would be.

Laugh It Up

The opening night came, and the cinema’s lobby quickly swelled with eager viewers. The number of people was so high that it overworked the theater’s power supply. The manager mentioned how it broke their frozen drinks machine and caused one of their popcorn kettle’s oil lines to burst. “In a single moment at 7 p.m., we had to process more people than we normally do on an entire Friday night of business. These are the moments you learn that hell is real, and we are living in it,” he wrote.

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The manager continued to describe how the volume of moviegoers changed the way he perceived post-screening cleanup: “A single showing of Star Wars can generate 10 more trash bags of garbage than a regular show, and between the three theaters, it can take 75 minutes to clean. Cleaning up people’s left-behind garbage is, and always shall be, the worst.” Professionals from Forte Commercial Cleaning agree, saying that Star Wars truly brought an immense level of challenge along with its immense level of cultural significance.

In the end, Star Wars: The Force Awakens capped off 2015’s incredible year in cinema at a truly wondrous note. “Star Wars brought home the magic, even if it did ruin my life for a weekend,” the manager jokingly remarks.