Fans line up to watch "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" outside of AMC Loews Kips Bay 15 on December 17, 2015 in New York City.
Photograph by Noam Galai—Getty Images
By Claire Groden
December 22, 2015

There’s a new way to peel the world away from the Internet: Star Wars.

At the time of the first IMAX showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in countries including the United States and Russia, Internet traffic dropped significantly. In Germany, that traffic drop was the highest, at 11.7%, according to data from cybersecurity firm Imperva Incapsula’s blog.

“As the movie started rolling out in theaters around the world, we saw a noticeable decline in activity on our network,” Igal Zeifman wrote in a post. “This was the result of a huge number of fans sinking into their movie theater seats to enjoy the latest from the galaxy far, far away.”

Star Wars enjoyed the largest opening weekend in North America, raking in $238 million in ticket sales—and $517 worldwide. The previous North American record-holder, Jurassic World, earned $208.8 million in its opening weekend this past summer.

In the United States, on Friday at midnight, internet traffic measured by Imperva dropped by 4.09% compared to the average traffic in the previous two weeks at the same time of day. Even in the twenty-four hours later, traffic was down by 5.15% on Imperva’s measured websites, perhaps due to fans’ avoidance of spoilers.

“We want to salute the brave /r/StarWars/ moderators who continue to throw themselves into the fray of new comments and suspect discussions, deleting potential spoilers at the risk of exposing themselves to information that may ruin their own movie-going experience,” Zeifman wrote, referring to the Reddit subgroup where users post about the franchise. “Such selfless acts are the embodiment of the Jedi Code’s decree: ‘Ignorance, yet knowledge.’”

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