Star Wars fans rejoice as force awakens in Italy

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens is released today in Italy. Photo: Lucasfilms 2015
10:45 CET+01:00
The moment of truth has arrived for thousands of Italian Star Wars fans. Today is the big day: 'The Force Awakens', the latest film in the sci-fi saga, finally hits Italian cinemas.

Surprisingly, the film's general release in Italy comes two days before its US release.

Copies of the film were delivered to some 850 cinemas across the Italian peninsular on Monday, with projections beginning as early as 9am on Thursday morning.

Experts predict the new Star Wars film will break box office records in Italy, currently held by 2012's 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'.

Anticipation has been so high that fans have been able to pre-book their tickets since October 19th while shops have been filled with Star Wars merchandise ahead of the festive season.

Twenty-nine year-old Katia Damiano can't wait to see the film later on today.

“I'm super excited – I bought my ticket a month ago, and I'm going to go to the cinema dressed as Darth Vader,” she told The Local.

“I think people are getting excited because it's a unique cinematic event, the return of a great saga. It's a return that generates fear too: I hope the high expectations are met.”

Although unborn when the original trilogy began in 1977, Damiano, like many Italians, is a  lifelong fan. She's even been celebrating the launch of the film by taking a Stormtrooper puppet around her native city of Palermo and snapping a daily photo for a Star Wars countdown.

Three sleeps to go! Photo: Katia Damiano.

In spite of the buzz, the film has been shrouded in mystery – with only minor plot and character details being made known to fans ahead of its release.

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An embargo stopped reviews being published until 8am on Wednesday morning – one hour before it hit cinema screens.

Fortunately, for Damiano and other avid fans, early reviews declared the film a success, with Wired Italy saying had “maintained every promise.”

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