In anticipation of Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘s release on December 15, Disney is taking its Force Friday efforts into a whole new dimension with a global augmented reality (AR) event. Dubbed Find the Force, the AR experience will kick off on September 1—otherwise known as Force Friday II—at 20,000 retail stores across 30 countries.
The Pokémon GO-inspired challenge will get fans to participate in a three-day treasure hunt to defeat the dark side. Users can participate by downloading the Star Wars App and then visit one of the participating locations to find a graphic containing the Find the Force logo. Once they scan the graphic in the app, a new character will appear in the room with users as they take photos, record videos and share it on social media. Fans can return each day to reveal more of the 15 characters involved.
The new version of the app can be downloaded starting today and will have an early look at new characters in AR before the treasure hunt begins. Sharing photos or videos of the AR characters on Twitter and Instagram using #FindtheForce and #Sweepstakes will also give fans the chance to win tickets to the movie premiere in December. The contest is open to residents of the US, Canada (excluding Quebec), Australia, the UK, Ireland, France, South Korea and Chile. (More information can be found online.)
On the retail front, participating Force Friday II stores will also feature a robust new licensing line including toys, collectibles, books and apparel, all of which will go on sale at 12:01 a.m. on September 1. Further details of the products will be kept under wraps until then, although the company has teased new packaging featuring lead characters Poe, Rey and Finn.
The first Force Friday took place in September 2015 before the release of The Force Awakens. The marketing stunt united fans across the globe in an 18-hour live unboxing event to reveal the new toys. The products went on to make Star Wars the number-one toy property in the US for 2015 and 2016, according to market research firm The NPD Group.
Capitalizing on the success of Pokémon GO is also a plausible move for the House of Mouse, with Niantic’s app still attracting roughly 65 million monthly active players. In the height of its popularity, users were spending an average of 33 minutes per day playing the game.