While Star Wars: The Last Jedi won’t open in theaters until December, brands are already blasting into marketing hype-drive. Force Friday II, scheduled for Sept. 1, will usher in thousands of movie-themed events, including a pop-up augmented reality treasure hunt, and toys and merchandise to help fans start their intergalactic countdown.
With stars including Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, and the late Carrie Fisher, industry experts are speculating that The Last Jedi, with a trailer that has already been viewed almost 40 million times, will be among the biggest-grossing films of the year.
Disney and Lucasfilm are activating “Find the Force,” a pop-up AR event, in 20,000 retail locations around the world, including many Target, Walmart, Toys R Us and Gamestop locations. After fans download the Star Wars App, they visit the store and use it to discover an augmented-reality character, who appears in the room with them and poses for snapshots, which can be shared on social media. (A total of 15 characters will be introduced in the three-day period.)
Target, which is planning midnight events at 500 stores to introduce merchandise linked to the new film, is running a new video urging fans to “Bring their Rey game.” The video, created by Deutsche L.A., features a collection of impressive aspiring Reys, showing off moves set to Sia’s “Unstoppable.” The Force Friday campaign also includes digital display and social media, asking fans to share favorite Star Wars memories with the #SharetheForce hashtag.
Walmart is also featuring the AR experience and is promoting Force Friday with a #BeJediReady hashtag. Its events are scheduled to take place in stores and parking lots in 10 cities, with Jedi training games and photo opps that let them decide whether they are on the dark or light side.
Lego, which is already teasing its fans with the promise of the biggest Star Wars set ever in October, is offering double points in its rewards program on Force Friday, as well as a free Star Wars figure on orders of more than $50.
Apple is getting in on the action, too, sponsoring coding sessions BB-8 in select locations, as well as lessons on crafting your own movie trailer.