Star Wars The Force Awakens Storm Troopers
The popularity of Star Wars The Force Awakens sells record numbers of tickets across the UK Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Star Wars fans have crashed the websites of UK cinema websites across the UK. A limited number of advance tickets went on sale this morning (19 October) at 8am, but the high volume of people trying to buy them was too much for website servers to handle.

Odeon and Picturehouse both said that their sites had been hit, the latter citing "unprecedented" demand.

Picturehouse spokesman Gabriel Swartland told the BBC that the last title to cause such high demand was a screening of the Barbican's production of Hamlet, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

"We knew this morning would be very busy and did as much as we could to prepare. Thousands of guests have already successfully bought their tickets." said a spokesperson for Odeon. "We're seeing massive traffic to our website this morning as guests book ahead for Spectre and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Vue Cinemas sold 10,000 tickets in the first 90 minutes of tickets going on sale, which represented "the biggest first hour of advance ticket sales seen so far this year," according to a Vue spokesperson."It would normally take a matter of weeks for advance sales to reach this level."

Many took to social media to complain, mainly about Odeon and Vue Cineworld websites, although UK flagship IMAX screen and BFI IMAX at Waterloo also suffered severe website delays. Curzon Cinemas took advantage of the situation and advertised that they did not have any delays, tweeting to purchase tickets from their website.

The latest instalment of the Star Wars series is one of the most anticipated titles of the year. It reunites stars from the original trilogy of films including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, and will open in cinemas on 18 December.