Starting at 12:01 a.m. PDT (3.01 a.m. ET) on
Sept. 1, more than 20,000 retail locations in 30 countries will
feature displays that fans can scan with their smartphones to
reveal characters such as Rey or Chewbacca. Using augmented
reality technology, users will see the characters overlaid on
their surroundings by looking through their phone's cameras, and
can take photos or videos with them.
Disney is tapping into the trend of augmented reality, or AR,
which first gained mass adoption in July 2016 with the release
of Niantic Inc's Pokemon Go game.
The hunt for "Star Wars" characters is scheduled to last three
days and will coincide with "Force Friday II," the day retailers
start selling toys and other products tied to "The Last Jedi"
with midnight openings around the world.
The retailers include Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Target Inc, Best Buy
Co Inc and Apple Inc stores. "Last Jedi" merchandise will also
be sold online, and the AR characters will be accessible via
"Star Wars," one of Disney's most important franchises, was the
U.S. toy industry's top-selling property for 2015 and 2016, with
$1.5 billion in sales over the two years, according to research
firm NPD. "The Last Jedi," the eighth movie in the "Star Wars"
film saga, arrives in theaters in December.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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