Force is with the Fox Foundation: ‘Star Wars’ Premier Raises Thousands

Star Wars fans filled area theaters on December 14th to catch the premier of the latest installment of the Resistance versus the First Order. But two local philanthropists — Jim Miller and Matt Martelli — turned opening night of The Last Jedi into something more, raising thousands of dollars for TeamFox and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Miller (of Out & About Magazine) and Martelli (with Pettinaro Residential) hosted The Fox Force Party at Penn Cinema, where hundreds purchased tickets to enjoy the movie in a designated theatre with a special Vader Double Black IPA brew from Mispillion River Brewing, snacks, and a laser light-filled after party across the street. 

“The night couldn’t have gone better,” raved Martelli. “So many wonderful close friends, family, and colleagues volunteering their time and resources, coupled with all sorts of fans coming out to support us, made for such an amazing night!”

Two years ago Martelli (a huge Star Wars fan), Miller, and event partners Pettinaro and Penn Cinema held the first Fox Force Party for the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “It was a fun way to raise more funds for The Michael J. Fox Foundation on behalf of Team Fox Delaware,” said Miller. This year Harvey Hanna and Associates, who spearheads Movies on Tap at Penn Cinema, also joined the effort.

“I go to a lot of fundraisers, and many of them fit a certain similar path,” Miller told TSD. “Matt and I wanted to do something fun and different. When the Star Wars movies were revived, we felt there was both opportunity and an audience to do something creative, engaging, and hopefully memorable.”

Last week’s movie-premier themed after-party at 555 Justison Street — a Pettinaro property — was very much like a trip into outer space, with a laser light show, space fog, a bevy of Princess Leias serving specialty drinks and cocktails from Painted Stave Distilling, a buffet, music by DJ Zip and a silent auction. And all sorts of Star Wars memorabilia were available for the photo booth.

While Miller and Martelli are the driving force, they credit many others (in addition to those already mentioned) with making the event a success: JulieAnne Cross of CrossPro, Electro Sound Systems, Main Light Industries, Diamond State Rentals, NKS Distributors, Yards Brewing Co., PopDot Signs, Sir Speedy of Delaware, artist Lawrence Moore, and photographer Joe Hoddinott.

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About the Contributor

Christy Fleming

Christy Fleming

The managing editor of, Christy Fleming also supports a variety of non-profit initiatives in Delaware. Her background includes positions in public relations, advertising and journalism.

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