We get a fair few perks living here in France: the food, the wine, being alerted in advance when taxis or public transportation are going on strike… We also get to see many major movies ahead of the U.S. given Wednesday is when films traditionally bow during the week. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is no different, starting international rollout on December 16, two days before the U.S. next month. In an effort to offer an alternative to Americans who either can’t wait till that Friday, or have been unable to secure pre-sale tickets, Air France has now partnered with Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp Cinemas to encourage Jedi obsessives to book a flight to Paris for an “early” screening of one of the most anticipated movies of all time — and at a cost as low as $1,400.
Under a special promotion, France’s national airline is offering flights on December 15 from San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York which will come with a “complimentary ride” from Charles De Gaulle airport to EuropaCorp’s theater in nearby Tremblay. There, the film will be screened in English, entry included. There are two screenings planned, one at 12:45 PM and one at 3:30 PM local on December 16. I’m told “there has been quite a bit of interest” from the public since the scheme was launched last week.
Touting its Flight & Cinema offer, Air France promises takers will experience “the most high-level technology a cinema can provide” at the moviehouse designed by Besson. “You will remember your movie experience for a lifetime!”
Here’s the rub: You get a free ride to the movie theater, but you’re on your own to get to your hotel, or back to the airport for a return flight. If you want to get back home right away, say the same day or the next day, you’re looking at a return fare of over $2,000 (not including the outbound portion that starts at about $600 from New York and goes up from there). The best AF is offering is a return on December 20 which brings the total down to around $1,400 – and that’s not including the four hotel nights you’ll need. An Air France spokesman tells me the idea wasn’t to offer a specially-priced ticket, rather a package that includes the movie and the most desirable fares; those just happen to click in with a Saturday night stay.
Interested parties should check out the Air France site, but you have to book the flight before filling in the online form to receive confirmation of the package – within 72 hours. So far, plenty of seats are available.
While we should be expected to see any number of gimmicky promotions designed to entice the Star Wars faithful over the next several weeks, I do particularly like that the Air France form includes the required field: From which side of the force are you? Jedi Side or Dark Side?