A line of Star Wars
figures at Neptune Comics in Waukesha.
WAUKESHA - Would-be Jedis young and old
are anxiously awaiting the release of the latest “Star
Wars” movie, “The Force Awakens” by buying advance movie
tickets and stocking up on merchandise from comic books
to toy light sabers.
As a result, these movie-related sales are making
the holiday season even jollier for area businesses.
Due to be released Dec. 18 nationwide, “The Force
Awakens” has fans hopeful the franchise will regain the high
quality of the original trilogy under director J.J. Abrams’
guidance. As hype and expectations build, so has related
Neptune Comics owner Craig Lopacinski said sales
really started to pick up in January after Marvel released a new
“Star Wars” comic book that “has really has caught fire for Star
Wars here and in the comic book industry.”
“People we have never seen before have come in
looking for ‘Star Wars’ comics,” Lopacinski said. “They are
excited for the movie.”
The poster for 'Star
Wars: The Force Awakens' sits in a prime spot in
the lobby of the Marcus Hillside Cinema.
As the year has progressed, so have
“Right now it’s a hot sell and people are looking
for it,” Lopacinski said.
Located at 2120 E. Moreland Blvd. in Waukesha,
Neptune Comics doesn’t carry every “Star Wars” item available,
but does carry a range of action figures and merchandise.
Although the eagerness of fans for “The Force
Awakens” is a driving force for sales prior to the movie’s
release, Lopacinski said he is concerned there is going to be a
drop off in sales after the movie is released as fans wait for
the next installment.
“We have really seen through this year that ‘Star
Wars’ has kept the boat afloat for us and the comic book
industry because so many people are looking for it,” Lopacinski
said, adding that the rest of the comic book industry has
struggled a bit.
“Star Wars” merchandise buyers have been young
and old, although Lopacinski said it’s often a dad who grew up
in the ‘70s and ‘80s watching the original trilogy that comes to
Neptune Comics with his son to buy “Star Wars” items.
The same is true at Half Price Books in
Brookfield, which got a new shipment of “Star Wars” merchandise
A promotional R2D2
droid sits over the ticket counter at the Marcus
Hillside Cinema in Delafield.
Helen Ward, store inventory merchandiser
for the Brookfield location, said Half Price Books is
stocking everything from new and used “Star Wars” books
to mugs, T-shirts, coloring books and toys like
“There has always been a big demand for ‘Star
Wars’ merchandise,” she said. “It seems to be across the board;
everyone seems really pumped for the new movie.”
At Silly Willyz in downtown Pewaukee, shoppers
will find only a few “Star Wars” related items because owner
Jackie Schoenholtz focuses on more unique items, such as Calico
Critters and games like Bugs in the Kitchen. She said those
unique, not-mass-produced items are what set Silly Willyz apart
from other toy stores. However, she said she still feels
pressured to carry “Star Wars” merchandise. Shoppers can find
some “Star Wars” books and unique items at Schoenholtz’ store.
For “Star Wars” fans who cannot wait until the
Dec. 18 movie release, Marcus Cinema will start a marathon on
Dec. 17. Beginning at 2 a.m., fans can watch episodes one
through six in order, followed by the new episode seven, said
Lindsey Weix, communications and media specialist for Marcus
“Additionally, Marcus Theatres is holding
around-the-clock showtimes of ‘The Force Awakens’ during opening
weekend so moviegoers are able to see the film at any time of
day or night that fits best with their schedule,” Weix said via
email Monday. “Because this is the most anticipated movie of the
year, we are expecting heavy attendance during opening weekend.
To accommodate the demand, we’ve added more showtimes. As such,
we’ve adjusted staffing needs as appropriate. It will be an
exciting time filled with lots of energy at our theaters.”
And if simply attending the movie showing is not
enough, Marcus Theatres is allowing customers to dress up as
their favorite “Star Wars” characters during the release of the
film - however, masks that cover the face are not allowed. “Star
Wars” props like light sabers are welcome, but toy versions of
real weapons will not be permitted.