"Are there any of you that think this is going to be a lousy movie?" "NO!"
The year was 1999, and nobody yet knew the prequels were garbage. Throngs of Star Wars fans stood outside theaters in line for hours, waiting to see a movie they thought was going to be fantastic. Imagine their disappointment a few hours later when they walked out of that theater. That could be you in just over a week, when The Force Awakens is finally released. Maybe it won't be bad, maybe it will, but there's nothing like seeing footage of enthusiastic fans ahead of The Phantom Menace to put a damper on your hopes for this new film.
Speaking of enthusiastic fans, there are people lined up outside the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood right now waiting for the release of The Force Awakens, and they've been there since December 5th. Yes, the year is still 2015, and they could have very well just pressed a button on their phones to get tickets, but for these people, that isn't the point.
These fans are part of an event put on by Liningup.net that has been helping people stand in line to wait to see Star Wars since the first prequel premiered. For them, the event is an opportunity to come together and celebrate the films as a community: "We could reserve our seats online, and show up 5 minutes before midnight. For the vast majority of moviegoers, that will be their experience: sterile, passionless, and without any human interaction. But that is not what the Star Wars experience is all about." People at the event have to spend a minimum of 24 hours in line before the movie premieres to earn two tickets to see the film. Thankfully, they can spread these hours out over as many days as they need, otherwise these folks would probably smell worse than a tauntaun.
The event also benefits the Starlight Children's Foundation, which you can donate to online, or by texting either 'Jedi' or 'Sith' to 80000 in order to give $5.