The fun continues with a close examination of opening night psychology. Fanboys, we’re under the microscope.
It should come as no surprise that I was part of the midnight crowd. 10:30 crowd, even, given the time the party posse and I headed down to Lincoln Square to wait outside. The line was huge, snaking around 68th St. all the way to Amsterdam – not an exciting prospect. It was made worse by the fact that we had each unknowingly bought tickets to separate theaters. While I give credit to AMC employees for running a remarkably tight ship on opening night, I found it kind of ridiculous that they wouldn’t accept us all into one theater. Left with no other option but to trade for the tickets we needed, I was quickly forced into action. For a while, I looked like an idiot – barking at strangers, asking them to check their ticket stubs and possibly – please? – trade one theater for another. I got a lot of skeptical looks. Even aided by the usher I dragged along, some people were still convinced I was trying to scam them. Do people do this? Eventually, I snagged the necessary tickets and we were all able to sit together. It felt only appropriate that it took Batman-esque detective skills to make this possible.
There’s something really special about opening night for BIG movies. Whether Star Wars: Episodes I-III, Spider-Man, or Superman Returns, it’s always a treat to see a movie with people who really (see picture) want to be there. Most regular moviegoers would complain about the crowds, the tedious pre-show wait, and the unusually long lines for the men’s bathroom, but it’s an experience that I kind of cherish. For most fanboys, I take it, the sentiment is the same. Where else is it socially acceptable to be unabashedly excited for something that isn’t sports? Can you don a cape or wield a lightsaber? Will people fully appreciate your encyclopedic knowledge of a it’s real, I know it’s all real fictional universe? Only at the movies. Only on opening night.
There’s a real sense of camaraderie among this group, too, that makes the experience unique. We’ve all worked hard (…) for our tickets, all waited in line – we understand and empathize with each other. Once in the theater, I was able to politely barter a group of guys for their row of seats. All over, similar deals were being struck. When the trailers began and the yellow DC logo appeared (Watchmen… more on this soon!), the audience erupted in applause. Again when the flaming bat emerged from the flames. Again when the Bat-Pod peeled into Gotham City traffic to end the movie. What an experience.
… We inevitably take it too far, though, and wind up seeing these movies three and four and eight times. I’ve already seen The Dark Knight twice, with a potential IMAX excursion bringing the tally up to three within the week. I’m not alone – a Fandango Poll taken this weekend reports that 64% of those who saw the movie said they would do so again. It isn’t just fanboys, either, but people with real jobs, girlfriends; even girls with boyfriends are up for round two. The question is: is this healthy? Should we really be seeing this movie multiple times?
A recent article on a favorite website of mine, Cinematic Happenings Under Development (or C.H.U.D.) says “no.” I don’t disagree. Aside from the obvious financial burden (thanks exorbitant NYC ticket prices!), gorging on one movie can lead to numerous other complications including:
- Numbness to the movie’s quality
- Ignorance of other movies (maybe less publicized, maybe not) that might be playing in your area
- Shame at work
- Erectile dysfunction
I don’t know about you, but I’m making a promise to CHANGE… just as soon as I see this in IMAX.