Entertainment & Arts

Star Wars: How to avoid The Force Awakens

A Darth Vader showerhead - 14 December 2015 Image copyright Bed Bath & Beyond
Image caption Looking to buy a new shower head and avoid Star Wars? Bad luck - stick with your broken shower

It is likely to prove to be one of the biggest challenges this year.

No, not getting your hands on a ticket to the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Much, much more difficult will be to avoid all mention of the film anywhere for the next few weeks.

If you are one of the people not so keen on catching the latest instalment and wanting to avoid all reference to it, you have already failed by clicking on this article.

But while you're here, you might as well carry on reading: here are some invaluable pointers for how to keep your head down until the hype has passed.

1) Move to Bhutan

Or Chad. Or North Korea.

If online interest in the film is any indication, you're in deep trouble if you're not into Star Wars and live in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and (for some reason) Hungary - that's where interest is at its most feverish.

A quick look at the rest of Google's map shows a bigger picture though:

Image copyright Google Trends

Some pretty big areas don't really care that much about Star Wars, so you could move there. Most of Africa doesn't seem too bothered, and the same goes for central America, where the weather is quite pleasant at this time of the year.

(For the record - the map is likely to be blank in some countries due to a lack of data available to Google, rather than an aversion to sci-fi.)

The film's page on the IMDb film database shows it is opening in more than 80 countries in the next month - China is the last to get it on 9 January.

Incidentally, if you are in Bhutan, we can't say whether The Force Awakens will be shown there - the country's two cinemas have not yet replied to the BBC.

2) Don't go to the cinema

This goes without saying.

Even traditional art-house cinemas in London have jumped on the bandwagon, with some offering screenings from midnight on Thursday. The regularity of screenings makes listings for some cinemas look more like bus timetables.

In the middle of this, however, is the Institute of Contemporary Arts in central London, where Friday night will see a Q&A on Catalan avant-garde cinema.

A spokeswoman for the ICA told the BBC it will not be screening the film at any point, nor will it be showing any Star Wars trailers - they show trailers only for independent films that will be screened at the venue.

3) Avoid human contact

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Humans: Treat them as potential Star Wars fans

Quite a few people are expected to see the film. Some might reasonably be expected to discuss it afterwards, so avoiding humans altogether is perhaps the best policy.

Having said that, not as many people might see it as you would expect.

In the US, it is opening in 3,900 screens, and while that sounds like a lot, it is actually some 500 fewer than for the third Twilight film in 2010. This had led Forbes to speculate that The Force Awakens may not end up being the highest-grossing film of all time.

4) Don't go online

If you're going to avoid all humans, it might be wise to do so online too.

As of 10:50 GMT on Monday, the film was not a trending topic on Twitter - at least not yet. That honour, in the US at least, belongs to #ReplaceAWordInASongWithJelly - among others. But it is surely a matter of time.

As it stands, here's a challenge: go online, try and look up some news, scroll through your Facebook feed. See how long it will take you to find a reference to Star Wars. When we tried, it took us only 37 seconds.

5) Retreat from society completely

Image copyright AP
Image caption Even the world of make-up is not immune to the new Star Wars film

This may seem like an extreme option. But it is worth considering.

Even if you discover another cinema not showing The Force Awakens, or find a new friend uninterested in space opera, on your way to seeing an alternative film, you may still spot posters, toys, a make-up range, jewellery or a kickboxing set bearing the Star Wars name.

Simply living in Los Angeles, ahead of the premiere on Monday, will have disrupted your life - part of the city is closed for four days in a move that's been called "much more extensive than for a typical Hollywood movie premiere".

6) Stay in and read a book instead

It's going to be a long winter away from Star Wars. Pick a good thick book.

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