Star Wars fans camp outside theatre in Los Angeles a week before film opens

Star Wars fans wait outside Hollywood's Chinese Theatre one week before the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, in California on Dec 12, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Obsessed fans with sleeping bags and a portable movie projector have started camping outside Hollywood's Chinese Theatre, more than a week before a new Star Wars film begins playing.

Roughly 20 sci-fi lovers were in place on Thursday (Dec 12), seven days before doors swing open for the first preview screening of the much-hyped, saga-concluding The Rise Of Skywalker.

Organisers expect that number to swell to 150 in the coming days, with fans of all ages travelling from as far as Britain and Japan to see the movie first at the iconic venue where the original Star Wars premiered in 1977.

"When Star Wars comes, you put everything on hold - it's like having a baby," said mega-fan Nicolas Johnson, waiting with his dog Cookie.

Said lawyer Shing Hwong, who had her laptop with her: "I'm actually lucky that I'm able to work on the line."

The tight-knit community first began lining up for Star Wars premieres two decades ago for 1999's The Phantom Menace.

Back then, they waited for 42 days in Hollywood Boulevard.

Older and with more commitments now, they decided to trim that down for the latest film - particularly with this premiere taking place in winter.

The group use their projector to watch the old movies and catch the latest episodes of Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian.

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