This might be the craziest Star Wars event ever.
A theater chain is determined to find the country’s biggest fan of the iconic sci-fi franchise. But you’d better be prepared to sit a long, long time in theater that might be far, far away to prove it.
Alamo Drafthouse has just announced a viewing endurance contest in Austin that will screen the Star Wars theatrical saga for seven hard-core fan contestants. With just a minimal break between each title, contestants will be challenged to keeping watching a marathon of the space opera spectacle and stay awake, presumably for days. One by one contestants are expected to drop out until only one winner remains.
“At Alamo Drafthouse we’re big fans of Star Wars and testing the boundaries of human endurance,” said Alamo CEO and founder Tim League. “What better way to anoint the ultimate super fan than inviting them to watch these remarkable films on the big screen until they drop? Literally.”
Anybody 21-and-up from any of the 13 states where Alamo has a theater can apply to enter the competition. The contest will begin at 4:45 a.m. on Dec. 17. Alamo’s plan is to screen all the Star Wars live-action feature films starting with Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Contestants then will be among the first to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens when the public screening embargo lifts that same afternoon after they have watched Episodes I-VI.
Then The Force Awakens will play again … and again … and again.
There are some rules for surviving the marathon, of course — sleeping and illegal drug use is not allowed. But since Alamo cinemas include in-seat food and beverage service, contestants wouldn’t even need to bring their own blue milk.
Alamo’s famous no talking or texting policy will also be enforced during the screenings. In the context of an endurance marathon, one expects not being able to talk or use your smartphones for hours at a stretch over days will make winning all the more difficult. Contestants basically have to rely on their own force powers to keep watching the movies the entire time, A Clockwork Orange-style.
The winner will receive a seven-year movie pass to Alamo theaters nationwide, a set of 2015 and 2016 Topps Star Wars Card Reader cards, a selection of Star Wars Mondo poster prints and the winner will have a theater seat named in their honor complete with a naming ceremony. Plus, of course, they’ll have intergalactic bragging rights.
A somewhat similar endurance was held by Fox last year when two California residents broke the Guinness World Record for the longest continuous television viewing marathon by watching 86 hours and 37 minutes straight of The Simpsons (Fox nervously put an end to the experiment after the the record fell, so it could have gone even longer).
Alamo’s contest was loosely inspired by another Texas endurance contest, the infamous Hands on a Hard Body competition, where contestants at a Longview car dealership were challenged to keep one hand on a pickup truck until the final person standing won the vehicle. The contest was made into a 1997 cult-hit documentary film with the same name. The film in turn later helped inspire the endurance challenges on CBS’ Survivor, which dubbed its debut season’s final immunity challenge “Hands on a Hard Idol.”
To enter, fans are challenged to show their Jedi devotion on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using the #AlamoJedi hashtag. These posts may include photos of tattoos, toy collections, cosplay, or even “Hoth haiku” — whatever he or she feels shows their ultimate dedication. For a full list of rules and regulations for how to apply, go here.
The Drafthouse chain is going all-in for Force Awakens mania, having recently opened a Star Wars-themed theater in Omaha that included a 10-ft. Death Star in the lobby, and also plans to launch a Star Wars-inspired menu chain wide. Earlier this year Fast Company ranked Alamo Drafthouse among the top five most innovative Hollywood companies in the world alongside the likes of HBO, Netflix, and Marvel
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