‘Star Wars’: The Trailer Awakens

Anousha Sakoui and Christopher Palmeri (c) 2014, Bloomberg News. LOS ANGELES — The longest lines outside theaters this Thanksgiving weekend may be for the new “Star Wars” trailer that theaters will show in some locations.

At least two chains, Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. look set to run a trailer for Walt Disney Co.’s new “Stars Wars: The Force Awakens” over the Thanksgiving weekend. Director J.J. Abrams Monday confirmed the plans on Twitter.

The anticipation building around the trailer for the seventh episode of the “Star Wars” franchise is the latest drip feeding of information about the picture, and it’s timed to exploit the Thursday-to-Sunday U.S. Thanksgiving break, a big weekend for films. In 1998, some film fans bought tickets to a Brad Pitt movie, “Meet Joe Black,” only to see a trailer for “The Phantom Menace.”

“Trailers have always had this kind of hold on the fans,” said Robert Marich, who recounts the Pitt episode in his book “Marketing to Moviegoers.” “The fans, the geeks, the aficionados, they are trend setters, they’re plugged in online. They show up for trailers.”

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Regal, the largest exhibitor, announced on its website Monday it would play the trailer in nine locations starting Nov. 28, according to trade reports, and then pulled the notice down.

Regal, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, didn’t respond to email requests for comment.

“If you don’t see us tweeting for a while, a certain Wookiee pull some certain arms out of their sockets,” the company said on its Twitter feed.

Other big chains such as Kansas City, Missouri-based AMC, the second largest exhibitor, are also expecting to start showing the clip.

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The efforts to build excitement around the new release with teasers tap into the growing importance of previews and trailers to a fanboy audience. A trailer for “Age of Ultron,” the new Disney/Marvel Avengers film, was recently leaked and has been seen almost 60 million times on YouTube.