Fans fly across globe, from Las Vegas to Paris, to be first to see Star Wars

Two American Star Wars fans pose next to a Storm Trooper as they arrive at a cinema at Tremblay-en-France on Wednesday.
Two American Star Wars fans pose next to a Storm Trooper as they arrive at a cinema at Tremblay-en-France on Wednesday.PHOTO: REUTERS

TREMBLAY-EN-FRANCE, France, (AFP) - They were nervous, as you would be if you had just bought what may turn out to be the most expensive cinema tickets in history to see the new Star Wars film.

"I really hope it turns out to be great," said Trey Delap, who by his own admission spent "several thousand dollars" to fly to Paris to see The Force Awakens in a mall close to Charles de Gaulle airport.

But having travelled 16 hours through the night from Las Vegas to see a film he could have seen back home at a preview the following day, it was too late now for regrets.

"I know it is going to be great. I am not even going there," said the 37-year-old public policy consultant, one of more than 200 Star Wars fans to have crossed the Atlantic to see the film two days before its official release in the United States.

"Either you think we're crazy or you think it's brilliant. I'm not sure myself," he said.

"It is going to be extraordinary, I sure of it. The trailer sent chills down my body," Delap added.

"When I saw the price I thought 'No way!' That's crazy. But then I realised we would be the first in North America to see it and we would also be seeing it on screens and with technology that I have never seen back home. And it was a great excuse to visit Paris."

His friend Tim Mersch, 44, said he had never been to Europe before and probably would not have done so but for Star Wars.

"There are so many places in the States to visit. We've got everything in Las Vegas, even a Pyramid and a facsimile of the Eiffel Tower... but it'll be good to see the real thing," he joked.

"I am not so diehard a fan that I couldn't have waited another day to see the film," Delap chipped in. "I could have got preview tickets to see it on Thursday in Las Vegas. But this is an unique experience."

Other fans had made the trip from Chile, Argentina and Egypt to see the film in the high-tech EuropaCorp theatre in the Aeroville centre north of the French capital.

Before they were marched off to the cinema by an honour guard of Stormtroopers to the sound of John William's Imperial March - looking jet-lagged and a little embarrassed - Chinese-born Jun, who lives in San Francisco, said it had all been "worth it for the red-carpet treatment. It is has been a lot fun already."

Lois and David Tom, who are both in their sixties and who had also made the 9,000-kilometre journey from the Californian city, were beginning to feel the pace.

Both were hoping they wouldn't fall asleep during the two-and-a-quarter-hour epic. "That would be a real pity given the price we have paid," they laughed.

Emerging two and a quarter hours later very much awake, the fans - some clearly moved by the experience - gave the film the thumbs up.

"I just want to see the next one now," said Mersch.