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10 miles, 500 pounds worth of film ready for Stars Wars fans at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Early Wednesday afternoon, the IMAX projector at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center was rolling. Crews at the theater were running their final check of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" before Thursday's premiere.

It is one of the final steps in a labor-intensive process to prepare the move for public viewing.

"The film came in in 40 pieces," said theater manager Chris Brothers. "They're each approximately three and a half minutes because it's a two-hour and 20 minute movie. The 40 boxes each came in seven different larger boxes and we had those all moved in here, they were stacked in order and I had built them on a table."

Portions of this installment of the franchise were shot on 70mm film. The theater in Huntsville is one of just 15 IMAX theaters in North America to be able to feature it using the special IMAX film. Most projectors play film vertically, but IMAX plays it horizontally. This allows for three times more picture and clarity.

Brothers received the film shipment earlier this week and he assembled it, piece by piece.

"It took about a total of eight to nine hours to build it," he said. "We built it by hand. You cut jagged cuts on each side, you put it together and you tape it on both sides."

The finished product is a film measuring more than 10 miles long and weighing nearly 500 pounds.

While Brothers is a huge Star Wars fan, he has a different level of anxiety for this release of the franchise.

"It makes you a little bit nervous because we know how the sausage is made, so we're just hoping, every time we play it, that everything goes through the way it's supposed to," he said.

Meanwhile, most theaters throughout the Rocket City will have additional security measures in place for the highly anticipated premiere. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is asking patrons to limit their costumes.

"Don't bring any simulated weapons, do not paint your face, don't bring a mask," said spokesman Tim Hall.  "Go ahead and dress up, but just be careful, be thoughtful, be considerate of the other folks that will be watching the movie with you."

The theater will also have bag checks and extra personnel in place. Huntsville police officers will also patrol theater areas.

"When you go through the doors, we've hired a security company, they'll be going through a bag check and we'll have off-duty officers inside, as well, just to help folks get through the massive lines that will be taking place."

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