Is this the biggest 'Star Wars' nerd in Kingman?
Scott Preston of Preston Investments in Kingman may not be a Jedi, but he's definitely making a disturbance in the Force.
The newest film in the Star Wars franchise, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," is set to premiere Thursday evening, but the first showing at Brenden Theatres is already full.
That's because Preston bought out a third of the auditorium last week, scooping up 60 tickets before they sold out.
Fortunately, Preston isn't a nefarious Sith lord or a member of the Hutt cartel. He's just a big Star Wars fan, and he wants to share his joy for the films with as many people as possible.
This week, Preston will be giving out the tickets to those who want to see Star Wars but otherwise can't afford to go. No strings attached: just speak to Preston at his business on 4345 Stockton Hill Road if you're interested in picking one up.
"I stole the idea," said Preston. "I read about someone else doing it in Wisconsin. I thought, 'I can do this.' My clients know I'm the Star Wars guy. With Christmas coming up, I thought it would be a really cool thing."
Preston spoke with Annette Lochner, supervisor at Brenden Theatre, to organize the purchase.
"I think it's a great thing," said Lochner. "We don't see that kind of thing often. I think it's awesome he's doing something like that."
A collection of galactic proportions
This isn't a run-of-the-mill spice run for Preston, either. Seeing "Star Wars" on the big screen, and the culture around the films and canon, is something Preston enjoys.
"I was born in '72 and saw the first film when I was five. I remember thinking how cool this was. Nobody thought it would be this iconic thing," he said.
At the time, nobody knew that "Star Wars" would generate more than $28 billion in revenue over nearly 40 years. They also didn't know that "Star Wars" would change the toy and collectables landscape forever.
A good chunk of the revenue generated off of "Star Wars," nearly $12 billion, came from sales of action figures, lightsabers, toys and more. And Preston, who got his first "Star Wars" toys in the late 1970s, is one of those collectors looking to scoop up anything "Star Wars"-related.
In Preston's basement, protected behind a security door, is a room that comic book and "Star Wars" nerds can only dream of. A massive Silver Surfer from "Fantastic 4" greets you as you walk in. Life-size replicas of Darth Vader, Han Solo in carbonite, Superman, Wolverine and Stormtroopers stand at attention. Millennium Falcons the size of dinner tables sit wrapped in boxes while Preston finishes up moving in, right next to R2-D2 soda bins from the '90s. Plastic totes line the back wall, all full of Star Wars action figures dating back to the '70s.
The collection is massive. Preston has been collecting for years. Clients sometimes approach him and sell him "Star Wars" gear, and Preston is often excited to buy it.
He's a collector, though, not someone who "flips" collectables. While he didn't reveal the net worth of his collection, to Preston the toys are priceless.
"To me, it's more sentimental," said Preston. "I'm still a kid. It brings me back to childhood, when we were little kids. When we were just playing with them all the time. Everyone wants to be young like Peter Pan."
He plans to pass them on to his son, Logan, and his daughter, Sawyer.
Speaking of tickets ...
While Preston bought out the 7 p.m. showing on Thursday for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," there is a 10 p.m. showing available that night at Brenden Theatres in Kingman. As of Monday afternoon, 48 tickets remained. Showings throughout the weekend are still available, even though presales are much higher than normal.
"It's going to be a pretty major weekend," said Lochner. "We've got 'Sisters' and 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' opening this weekend, too. I'm expecting a good holiday weekend."
Lochner's crew at Brenden Theatres have been prepping to deal with long lines and the spike in volume expected this weekend.
For those with tickets to one of the Thursday showings looking to camp out for that perfect seat, Brenden Theatres does have some restrictions in place.
Nobody can set up camp before 6 a.m. Thursday morning, and there is no smoking or drinking allowed in line. Normal rules, such as no backpacks or large purses, still apply. Costumes are welcome, but props constructed out of metal are prohibited as well as any masks that cover the face.
Lochner also said that items that "distract from the show for everyone else" are not allowed in the theater.