‘Twilight’ takes a bite of the night

With faces painted and costumes donned, fanatical fans of “Twilight” packed the hallways of the Riverside Plaza Regal Theater Thursday Nov. 20 waiting for 12:01 a.m. to strike.

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By Courtney Grabendike

GET IN LINE-Movie patrons wait in line for hours, crowding the halls and lobby of the Regal Riverside 16 movie theater Nov. 20. (Mary Anne Case)

By Courtney Grabendike

With faces painted and costumes donned, fanatical fans of “Twilight” packed the hallways of the Riverside Plaza Regal Theater Thursday Nov. 20 waiting for 12:01 a.m. to strike.

The long anticipated movie was finally here, and for those who had sworn allegiance to Stephanie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” series, it was a time to celebrate.

Finally, Bella and Edward would have a face, along with all of the other fictional characters from the book; suddenly they were all going to come alive.

Stephanie Meyer became an overnight phenomenon after “Twilight,” the first book in a four part series, topped the New York Times Bestseller list.

It is the love story of an everyday average high school student, Bella, and the boy she falls in love with, Edward. The twist comes when it is revealed that Edward is a vampire and likes Bella for more than just her good looks.

Similar to other fantasy novels turned cinema such as “Harry Potter” and “Eragon,” “Twilight” has attracted a very large base of passionate fans.

The release party started early Thursday morning when anticipating fans showed up at the movie theater at 11 a.m. to begin the notorious line.

“People started getting here so early that we had to tell them to leave and come back at 2 p.m.” said Regal employee, Candice Wilson.

Because many vendors in the Plaza have complained about lines forming in front of their shop doors, fans had to start lining up later than normal to accommodate businesses.

One local business held a pre-party for early arrivals. The highlight of the party came when it was announced that 24 preferred seating passes were going to be given away.

In a theater that seats 415, a preferred seating opportunity was high on peoples mind. This was evident by the screaming and crying zealous fans poured out.

“Twilight” merchandise was also on the forefront of patrons minds. Luckily for fans there are four books, a movie companion guide, perfume, key chains, calendars, posters, t-shirts, backpacks and much more.

T-shirts were the most popular of all the movie paraphernalia. Many chose shirts that read either “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob,” a rivalry that can only be understood by reading the books.

Others chose “When you can live forever, what do you live for,” “The forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest” and “Someday my Edward will come.” Perhaps the most interesting and contradicting of the slogans read “Vegetarian Vampire.”

Lines did eventually begin to form and quickly the hallways of the theater were packed. People were playing card games, reading book and magazines and playing on their computers to pass the time.

The time flew by and suddenly it was 10:25 p.m., five minutes from the time viewers were going to be seated. While their was still over an hour and a half until the movie premiered, the idea of being seated meant “Twilight” buffs were just that much closer to their movie reverie.

“This movie premiere is much bigger than the ‘Harry Potter’ movie releases” Wilson said.

Hard to believe that another fantasy based movie could take-over Harry Potter, but it was happening. Eleven theaters were set aside for the premier, while only 8 were reserved for the fifth Harry Potter movie last year, according to a Regal employee.

“All I did today was exchange tickets so people could be in the same theater as their friends” Wilson said.

The premier was a social event for many. Everyone from high school students to their teachers were present. “Twilight” has managed to attract readers, and now viewers, from many different generations. The age gap was at times extreme, but everyone was present to indulge in the same infatuation.

Midnight crept closer and closer until the concession carts finally rolled out of the theater and the security guard came in to give his warning, “the shouting and the screaming will not be tolerated,” he said, “girls you know what I mean.”

And then the lights dimmed. Between the technical difficulties of the three movie reels being laced through 11 theaters, and the plethora of advertisements, the movie finally began at 12:22 a.m. Only 22 minutes late.

It was remarkably quiet throughout the movie, with only occasional oohing and ahhing. Two hours flew by and suddenly the long awaited premier was over

Many opinions echoed through the corridors as patrons left. “Oh my gosh, this is the happiest I have ever been,” said one pleased viewer. She was shortly followed up by “that was absolutely terrible, I wanted to leave right when it started,” by another dissatisfied spectator.

The long awaited and highly anticipated spectacle was over. The lines were gone, popcorn machines cleaned and for many, voices were silenced. The night ended with much less enthusiasm than it began with.

Everyone filed out of the double doors and to their cars to return home for a few hours of rest and contemplation over the success or lack thereof of the highly acclaimed let down.

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