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‘Force Awakens’ Deja-Vu: Did ‘Rogue One’ Presales Crash Online Ticket Servers Tonight?

Deadline logo Deadline 11/28/2016 Anthony D'Alessandro
© Provided by Deadline

If you were buying advance tickets to Disney’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story tonight, you may have waited 20-30 minutes before your purchase was complete, or worst case scenario — you were timed out (see image below).

Advance sales for Rogue One began at 12:01AM ET Monday/9:01PM PST tonight. The movie hits theaters on Dec. 16 (technically previews start on Dec. 15) and tracking suggests it will be the second biggest December opener between $100M-$140M behind Force Awakens’ all-time opening record last year of $247.96M.

All of this is a repeat of what occurred last year on Oct. 19 when Star Wars: The Force Awakens tickets went online, causing web traffic issues. It’s an experience akin to buying Lady Gaga concert tickets on Ticketmaster.

Essentially, what happened was that Fandango, the leading online advance movie ticket seller, was flooded with traffic per several accounts on Twitter. Movietickets.com according to some users also weathered similar slowdown issues. In all fairness, Fandango and Movietickets reps weren’t awake to comment at this late hour. In the case of Fandango, they were quite aware of the situation early on during the evening and warned consumers with the following tweet:

Last year with Force Awakens, Fandango did not ‘crash’ per se, rather what occurred — and we’re thinking a similar scenario happened this time — is that there were intermittent performance challenges; essentially what happens when there’s a long queue, buying tickets online, similar to what always goes on with Ticketmaster.

The long lines at Fandango, prompted its competitor Atom Tickets to scream like C3-PO in Star Wars, “Over here! Hey! Hey!”, as the company, as well as a slew of people on Twitter, observed the short wait on the ticketing platform app  and began tubthumping it. Atom’s app is available on Google and at the Apple App store.  Atom retweeted the following message from Star Wars Rebels voiceover actor Stephen Stanton who plays Grand Moff Tarkin among other roles on the Disney XD series:

If there’s a Coke-Pepsi war brewing between Fandango and Atom, the clear winner here is Disney. It’s an embarrassment of riches for the Burbank, CA-based studio. Last year, they racked up an estimated $100M in pre-sales before the Force Awakens’ crawl even hit the screen. Imax alone reported that they racked up $6.5M in the first 24 hours from Force Awakens sales, while Fandango ultimately announced that Force Awakens obliterated all presales records in the company’s 15-year history. 

It will be interesting to hear if any of these retailers report advance ticket sales figures in the morning or in the days to come. Typically, when it comes to announcing such sale stats, there’s an agreement struck between the studio and the ticketing platform.

Both Atom and Fandango are offering different bonus items in conjunction with Rogue One ticket purchases. Those buying from Fandango will be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win a U-Wing model signed by the film’s director Gareth Edwards. There’s also these swanky Rogue One movie ticket gift cards (see right). At Atom, consumers have the opportunity to purchase exclusive Rogue One merchandise.

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