Web traffic decimated as Star Wars fans go offline to avoid spoilers

On average traffic was 10.9% down in France and 5.5% down in the UK today

Analysts have put the decimation of web traffic over the last 24 hours down to Star Wars fans avoiding spoilers for The Force Awakens, which was released on Thursday (December 17).

Fans were able to watch the film from midnight on Thursday, and since the first public screenings average traffic in the UK has tumbled by 5.5%, and by 10.9% in France.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh film in the franchise, is the first Star Wars film to be released in over ten years and has broken advance ticket sales records.

In every country that the film has now opened in, analysts say web traffic has dropped sharply as a result, and have theorised that fans are staying offline to avoid the possibility of plot spoilers for the new film.

Speaking to The Guardian, a digital strategist at cyber-monitoring firm Imperva said, “In the 12 hours after the first screenings of Star Wars in UK we noticed that traffic levels remained relatively low. This could of course be as a result of more people going to cinemas to catch other early screenings of the movie. However I do believe that this might also be a result of some fans staying offline to avoid the early morning spoilers.”

The report adds that usage was even lower during screening times, with the average traffic figure down by 8.7% in the UK during cinema hours. The news follows the creation last month of a Google Chrome app that can block spoilers on behalf of wary users.

The story of The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after the events of Return Of The Jedi, though specific plot details are being kept tightly under wraps. The film’s script was penned by director JJ Abrams, Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt and Star Wars franchise veteran Lawrence Kasdan.

Alongside the returning trio of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, the film’s cast includes Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Adam Driver and Andy Serkis.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, tipped to become the highest-grossing movie ever made, opened in UK cinemas yesterday and goes on general release across the US today (December 18). Read a spoiler-free summary of what the critics are saying about the film here.