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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, November 30, 2023


Thursday night's premiere of Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace may not have been as climactic on St. Thomas as it was on the U.S. mainland but a few die-hard fans arrived early to secure their seats in the theater.
Rob Swan, 20, took a ferry from St. John and was at Cinema One in Sugar Estate about 2 1/2 hours before the movie got under way.
"I got here early just so I could get in and make sure I got tickets," Swan said.
Tickets for the movie – which played at 6:20 and 9:15 p.m. – went on sale around 5:30 p.m. Although the theater wasn't sold out, some thought it better to be safe than sorry by coming early.
"I had no idea how many people to expect," said Hugh Greentree, an attorney with the Justice Department. "I headed out as soon as I finished work." Greentree, 39, a Star Wars fan from the beginning, recalled waiting in line when the first movie in the trilogy premiered 22 years ago.
"That was before anyone knew how big of a hit Star Wars was going to be," he said.
By 5:30 p.m. about 20 people had formed a line that wound its way along the sidewalk in front of the theater, waiting in anticipation to see the fourth installment in the Star Wars series. As they waited, fans shared memories of their favorite scenes from Star Wars, the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and speculated as to whether The Phantom Menace could hold its own.
"I believed in the hype and I definitely wanted to be here for the first showing," said Elroy Raymo, St. Thomas/St.John Police Benevolent Association president, who was one of those waiting in line Thursday.
Raymo admitted that he often borrows some of the philosophy behind Star Wars when training his officers.
"You have to believe in the force," he said. "It's the same as believing in yourself."
All of the excitement surrounding Thursday night's premiere fizzled when, three-quarters of the way into the movie, a power outage temporarily shut the theater down.
Customers were given passes to see the movie at a later date.
"It's like having sex without an orgasm," one fan grumbled as he walked out.

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