At $180 for 2 tickets, Star Wars scalpers testing fan devotion

Some Star Wars fans paid as much as $90 or $100 for for scalped tickets before the premiere of Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1999. Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images

TORONTO – Star Wars excitement is it a fever pitch, and ticket scalpers are putting fandom to the test with some eye-popping price hikes for this week’s premiere of The Force Awakens.

Fans have snapped up advance tickets at an unprecedented pace, and scalpers are trying to capitalize on the demand by charging a massive markup.

READ MORE: Has ‘Star Wars’ marketing gone too far, or is it genius?

In Toronto, one enterprising scalper is charging $120 for two IMAX tickets normally priced $20 apiece. However, apparently overlooking an important scalping strategy, they’re charging that much for a show that isn’t even sold out.

Other sellers are asking as much as $180 for two seats, or $500 for five.

Over in Vancouver, one ambitious seller is asking $900 for a single ticket on eBay.

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Despite the wild markups, scalpers have likely been kept in check by Cineplex Entertainment’s recent move to add over 100 additional Star Wars showtimes to accommodate demand. And who knows, perhaps some fans are exercising a bit more caution after their devotion was disappointed the last time new Star Wars movies came out.

READ MORE: Cineplex ups ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ showtimes due to high demand

Scalpers had a field day in 1999 with the release of the hotly anticipated Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Fox initially banned advance bookings specifically to deter scalpers, but eventually relented and resellers made a killing.

The Force Awakens hits Toronto theatres on Thursday, and if you’re buying tickets off scalpers may the force be with you.

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