“Star Wars” movies and merchandise go together like Han and Chewie. The next installment may not hit theaters until Dec. 18, but Disney-owned Lucasfilm wants fans to start filling their shopping carts and landspeeders beginning Sept. 4.
To misquote Yoda, “Buy, they will.”
Disney’s marketing Jedis dub the occasion Force Friday, the official rollout of products related to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” from Lego to lightsabers. This unprecedented event puts a Black Friday-type focus on a single entertainment brand.
Although the online leak of a Hasbro toy catalog already shot through cyberspace, the retail unveiling promises to give fans a bit more of what to expect from that cinematic galaxy far, far away. Fans looking to follow suit or simply take a look at the goodies have several ways to teleport themselves into Force Friday.
Reportedly more than 1,000 retailers around the world plan to open at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 4, including every Toys R Us on the planet. Its flagship store in Manhattan’s Times Square throws the biggest bash of all of its locations with a “Star Wars” toy museum, special guests and hands-on activities. For those who can’t make it to New York, the other Toys R Us spots give shoppers the chance to take home a commemorative Lego “Star Wars” brick and a “Star Wars” poster, while supplies last. Can’t leave the space station? The Toys R Us website (toysrus.com/StarWars) offers the new stuff beginning at midnight.
A total of 207 Target stores, including its Atlanta Perimeter, Peachtree City and Cartersville locations, open at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 4. The rest of its stores ring it in on Sept. 5 with its Share the Force Saturday event with giveaways, photo ops and more. Its online Share the Force campaign (sharetheforce.target.com) allows fans to post photos and videos related to their love for the franchise, which will be archived at Lucasfilm.
Thanks to the “Star Wars” YouTube channel, fans can get a virtual peak at some of the goods before hitting the shopping aisles. Hyping it as the first-ever global live toy unboxing event, Disney serves up a New Year’s Eve-style reveal spanning across 18 hours in 15 cities and 12 countries. It kicks off in Sydney, Australia, at 7:45 a.m. Sept. 3, which translates to 5:45 p.m. Eastern time Sept. 2. It wraps up at 11 a.m. Eastern time (8 a.m. Pacific) Sept. 3 at the Lucasfilm headquarters in San Francisco.
Of course, Mickey’s favorite mercantile chain has big plans for Force Friday. Its own Times Square shop, as well as its locations in Chicago on Michigan Avenue and San Francisco on Stockton Street, will open doors at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 4. All of the North American Disney Stores have special opening ceremonies at various times on Sept. 4. Atlanta area Disney Stores at Perimeter Mall, North Point Mall, Town Center at Cobb and North Georgia Premium Outlet open at 6 a.m. Sept. 4. The first 100 guests who make a purchase at each location get a complimentary “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” pin. Check the individual stores for other Force Friday activities. Its website (disneystore.com) honors the frenzy by waiving shipping fees on all “Star Wars” stuff Sept. 4-6.