May the F-bombs be with you: “Star Wars” screening wrecked by tech gaffes

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A string of F-bombs rang out toward the end of today’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” screening, but it wasn’t coming from the screen. They were the plaintive wails of an exasperated film critic after the third – yes, third – power outage at Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station.

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Photos from Hollywood premiere

After the second outage today I thought, "I've got a bad feeling about this." Here's Harrison Ford at the Hollywood premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

After the second outage today I thought, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Here’s Harrison Ford at the Hollywood premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Members of the press invited to the screening were implored not to divulge any plot secrets, and I certainly wouldn’t. Actually I couldn’t tell you how it ends if I wanted to. After nearly four hours and three outages, I finally had to bolt.

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You there, in the projection booth? Any chance we could see this movie in under five hours? That would be A-MA-ZING. Here's Actor Mark Hamill at the Hollywood premiere. Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

You there, in the projection booth? Any chance we could see this movie in under five hours? That would be A-MA-ZING. Here’s Actor Mark Hamill at the Hollywood premiere. Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

The first outage lasted around an hour. I can’t tell you for sure because the security folks confiscated all phones ahead of time. I left mine in the car and was still wanded down. (Security at Regal Cinemas Atlantic Station worked great.)

The second outage only lasted about 10 minutes – again a guess. It was at this point that the security folks invited anyone who had handed over their phone to be bagged and tagged to retrieve them. After the third outage a guard said there was one more phone yet to be claimed.

“It’s not mine, but I could use it,” said a voice from the back of the theater.

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There's no way Carrie Fisher and her leg would stand for three outages during one film screening. Here she is at the Hollywood premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

There’s no way Carrie Fisher and her leg would stand for three outages during one film screening. Here she is at the Hollywood premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Lest I be accused of having only a dark side to my coverage, remember that I reported in August that the Atlantic Station theater was #1 for “Straight Outta Compton” ticket sales during its debut weekend.

The theater frequently hosts red-carpet debuts and all sorts of fancy people go there, like Gov. Nathan Deal, who was there for the “Ant-Man” screening this summer  and U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who attended last year’s event promoting “Million Dollar Arm” and Georgia’s multibillion dollar filming industry. Since it was a red-carpet event I asked the senator who he was wearing. “I bought this tie for $4,” he deadpanned.

There were lots of fancy people there today, too, including V-103 host Ryan Cameron and 640/WGST host Rich Sullivan, so the frequent outages gave us a chance to catch up. By the way remember that time V-103 and 640/WGST went off the air three times in one day due to technical difficulties? ME NEITHER.

If we could use the Force we would have used it today. Here's John Boyega at the Hollywood premiere. Getty Images

If we could use the Force we would have used it today. Here’s John Boyega at the Hollywood premiere. Getty Images

Today’s issues affected everyone, not just whiny reporters, and were caused by some sort of power/technical glitch.

They don’t actually play movies, as in movie reels, in movie theaters anymore. So technical difficulties don’t just involve someone rethreading a line of film back into the projector. It involves rebooting and lots of phone calls, judging from the action we were able to see.

Wait for Netflix or nah? Here's Mark Hamill again at the Hollywood premiere. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Wait for Netflix or nah? Here’s Mark Hamill again at the Hollywood premiere. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

My Buzz predecessor Rich Eldredge, now at the helm of this excellent arts and entertainment site, told me hours after I fled that they never did get things going again after the third outage, and that the finale was rescheduled for tonight. I will not be there.

But I’ll definitely go see “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” again after its official debut this Friday. Hopefully the force will be strong at whichever theater I go to next. And that might be Atlantic Station.

“Apparently this was a Georgia Power issue in which they lost a main line at approximately 12 p.m.,” a studio representative said this evening. “This caused their emergency generators to kick on and cycle through restoring power. During this time on the back up generators, it is common to have surges and drops, which is what we experienced. At approximately 2:30 p.m., Georgia Power restored the main line which caused us to cycle off again as the power switched from the backup generators back to the main. According to Georgia Power, this is now restored, and no further interruptions should be experienced.”

May the force be with us!


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